LINCOLN, NE-Today, MALDEF's Midwest Regional Office in Chicago filed a motion for preliminary injunction in a U.S. District Court in Nebraska. MALDEF asked the court to stop the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) from enforcing the policy and practice of denying driver’s licenses to immigrant youth whom the federal government has authorized to remain in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program. The injunction would remain in place during the pendency of a lawsuit MALDEF filed in Lincoln, Nebraska, on May 31 of this year, challenging the DMV’s policy and practice.

“This blatantly discriminatory policy of singling out these specific recipients of federal immigration relief must end immediately,” said Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF’s President and General Counsel. “Subjecting these courageous youth to denial of a license in a craven political battle over presidential authority is in no one's best interests.”

On June 15, 2012, Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), announced that certain youth present in the United States without immigration status would be eligible to obtain deferred action if they met specific criteria, shielding them from removal proceedings. Those individuals are also eligible to apply for federal employment and a social security number, and are considered under federal immigration laws and policies to be lawfully present in this country.

“We are requesting this relief at this early stage of the case because we cannot wait until the Court fully decides the case to realize the federal government’s goal of permitting these individuals to remain and work in the United States, and to be full, contributing members of society,” said MALDEF’s Midwest Regional Counsel, Alonzo Rivas.

The Nebraska DMV’s policy impermissibly applies a state-law classification to DACA recipients, and places the State of Nebraska in conflict with federal immigration law and policy. Moreover, the policy unlawfully discriminates against DACA recipients for differential treatment, when similarly situated lawfully present individuals – including individuals granted deferred action under other federal programs– remain eligible for licenses and continue to receive them.

Click here to see MALDEF’s motion for preliminary injunction, and here to see the original complaint..

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund