State to issue driver's licenses to qualified deferred action program participants after federal government reversal
FEBRUARY 1, 2013
LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of State – in light of a recent
reversal by federal officials on whether Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
participants are lawfully present – is now required to issue those participants
driver's licenses and identification cards, the department announced today.
"Michigan will only issue driver's licenses to individuals who are here
legally," Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said. "The feds now say they
consider these young people to be lawfully present while they participate in the
DACA program, so we are required to issue driver's licenses and identification
cards. I will continue to follow the law."
The announcement comes after a thorough review of the federal government's
latest position, which was posted on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
website on Jan. 18, seven months after the creation of the DACA program.
DACA participants who have documentation that they're in the United States
legally for a limited period of time may apply for driver's licenses and IDs
starting Feb. 19. That's when the Michigan Department of State will issue new
limited-term driver's license and state ID to follow state and federal law.
The new licenses and IDs will be issued to all limited-term customers who are
verified through the federal government to be here legally, such as those with
employment authorization cards, student visas and other temporary visas. The new
cards have the same security features as all Michigan driver's licenses but will
also have a special "Limited Term" designation and the expiration date will
coincide with the day the license holder's legal presence expires.
Law enforcement, local and county clerks, and other stakeholders will receive
information about the new limited-term driver's licenses and ID cards in the
coming weeks. The limited-term cards will ensure Michigan is in compliance with
additional state and federal laws.
The new limited-term driver's licenses and IDs will also help with election
integrity because clerks will now be able to tell if someone is not a qualified
voter, Johnson said.
"This is another tool to help clerks ensure that only qualified residents cast a
ballot on Election Day," Johnson said. "This will also help prevent noncitizens
from inadvertently registering to vote or from voting, which could result in
For media questions, contact:
Gisgie Dávila Gendreau at