Group Protests Nebraska Denial of Driver's Licenses to Illegal Immigrants
OMAHA (KPTM)- There was one thing dozens of people wanted Friday afternoon.
"What do we want? Driver's License! When do we want it? Now!" chanted protestors and supporters of ACLU of Nebraska outside of the Douglas County Treasurer's office Friday.
"You want to stay in the place where you grew up with, you want to stay in the place where your family is, a place where your memories are. A place that was treating you well, until now," said Ingris Lopez.
Lopez is currently a student at the College of Saint Mary and is studying under President Obama's 'Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals' program, or DACA.
The program allows illegal immigrants, like Lopez, who were illegally brought to the country as children, to stay and study temporarily.
"It's almost 12 years now and I've been living all this time, went to school, I'm in college, and there's a greater need of driving," said Lopez.
"You can interpret the law in different ways in different states, but in Nebraska, I think the Governor is doing the right thing," said Doug Kagan, with Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom.
The state of Nebraska denies driver's licenses to people like Lopez because they aren't legal citizens.
"I'm doing everything the way I was asked, why am I being denied now?" said Lopez.
Lopez said she's applied for a driver's license two times and has been turned away.
"It feels harsh because you stand right there," said Lopez. "You're thinking, why can't I?"
"Granting a driver's license to illegal aliens awards illegal behavior," said Kagan. "In essence, the fault, especially for younger people, is their parents for bringing them here illegally."
Both Kagan and Lopez agreed that a change needs to happen within the federal government.
"Nothing is going to change until they reform the federal law," said Kagan.
"Hopefully if the law changes, we will be able to get closer to a path for citizenship," said Lopez.
Lopez said she's on the way to becoming a United States citizen, and a change in the law isn't the only change she'd like to see.
"I think it's just a matter of changing those minds that think we can't-into that we can too," said Lopez.
The ACLU of Nebraska is currently representing four students who are suing the state of Nebraska for denying driver's licenses. Three of the four applied for driver's licenses Friday in protest and were denied. Currently, ACLU officials said they are in the process of collecting evidence and expect to go to trial in August or September.