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Nebraska DACA Recipients A Step Closer To Winning Professional Licenses

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DACA recipients in the red state of Nebraska are a step closer to being able to work as teachers, nurses, and doctors.

Yesterday, the unicameral legislature passed a measure 33-11 allowing DREAMers to apply for professional licenses that would let them work in more than 170 professions, “from electricians and pharmacists to tattoo artists and mixed martial artists.”

The measure — supported by business, religious groups, the Nebraska Cattlemen Association, and Republican Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert — earned enough support to possibly override a veto should Gov. Pete Ricketts refuse to sign the legislation.

The measure’s sponsor, Sen. Heath Mello, proposed the legislation after learning that DREAMers were earning their educations in Nebraska, but then leaving to practice their professions in other states.

State law prevents Nebraska from granting “benefits” to anyone without a legal status, including professional licenses.

“It’s a common sense workforce development proposal to keep educated and skilled residents in Nebraska,” said Sen. Mello.

Last year, young undocumented immigrants won a landmark victory after the legislature lifted a Republican-led ban on issuing driver’s licenses to DACA beneficiaries.

While the Gov. Ricketts had initially vetoed the legislation, the legislature was able to override it by a massive 34-10 bipartisan margin.

It was a historic victory for undocumented youth — Nebraska had been the final state in the nation to refuse to issue driver’s licenses to DACA recipients.

As national Republicans are putting forward the worst of their worst in 2016, these victories in the red state of Nebraska prove its undocumented leaders and their allies who are ushering in the right side of history in their communities.