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Nevada Lets DACA Recipients Get Teaching Licenses, As Nevada Remains On Lawsuit Attacking DAPA and Expanded DACA

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DACA recipients scored a huge victory in Nevada this week, after Republican Governor Brian Sandoval signed a bill that would allow them to finally be able to pursue their teaching dreams.

From Esther Lee of ThinkProgress:

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) signed a state bill this week allowing some undocumented immigrants with temporary work authorization to receive teaching licenses. The bill is part of Sandoval’s plan for a “new Nevada,” the Associated Press reported.

Uriel Garcia, a 22-year-old undocumented Nevada State College student, would benefit from the bill, which allow immigrants granted temporary legal presence under president’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to pursue teaching licenses. Garcia has been “waiting for a couple of years now” to pursue a career as an elementary school special education teacher.

“I need this bill to student-teach,” Garcia told ThinkProgress on Thursday. He explained that he had to stop his college education because he couldn’t fulfill his practicum at Nevada State College, which requires that he get a student teaching license. He expects to begin student teaching in 2016, then to receive his full teaching license by the spring 2017 semester.

“This bill opens the door for me to accomplish my goal of becoming a special education teacher,” Garcia said. “When I came to America from Mexico, a lot of people gave me the support I needed to transition from one culture to another, one language to another, so [that experience] motivated me to be[come] a teacher and do the same thing for other kids.”

But, as Lee notes, Nevada’s Republican leadership seems to give with one hand, and take with the other.

Nevada is one of the 26 states, led by a partisan coalition of Republican Governors and Attorneys General, embroiled in a lawsuit to stop President Obama’s 2014 immigration actions protecting millions of immigrant families from deportation.

As we’ve previously noted, Sandoval is caught between a nativist rock and a demographic hard place. Not only is Sandoval the Latino Governor of the state with the largest Latino population in the nation, but “at least 7.6 percent of Nevadans are undocumented, making it the state with the highest proportion of undocumented immigrants per capita.”

The Immigration Policy Center estimates that DAPA and expanded DACA would protect at least 49,000 of the state’s undocumented immigrants from deportation, in addition to bringing Nevada at least $21 million in additional tax revenue over the next five years.

Astrid Silva, the DREAMer singled out by President Obama during his November 2014 speech announcing his immigration actions, is a Nevada resident herself, and her father would be protected from deportation under DAPA.

However, with both expanded DACA and DAPA on hold after Texas Judge Andrew Hanen’s widely-questioned decision, Astrid’s father — along with millions of other immigrant moms and dads across the nation — hang in legal limbo.

Sandoval has attempted to distance himself from the anti-immigrant lawsuit by placing fault on his Attorney General, Adam Laxalt. But, as Lee writes, Sandoval quite vocally expressed his disapproval of the President’s actions:

“Although Nevada’s Attorney General Adam Laxalt was the one who joined the lawsuit without discussing it with Sandoval, the governor has previously stated that Obama ‘overstepped his authority’ with the executive action.”

Granting DREAMers teaching licenses is a step in a right direction. But Republicans are treading on dangerous ground by attacking their immigrant moms and dads.

And, with all 2016 GOP candidates opposing DAPA and expanded DACA — and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton ferociously supporting the immigration actions — the GOP’s politically-motivated stunt could ultimately be their 2016 undoing.