ILW.COM - the immigration portal Immigration Daily

Home Page


Immigration Daily

Archives

Processing times

Immigration forms

Discussion board

Resources

Blogs

Twitter feed

Immigrant Nation

Attorney2Attorney

CLE Workshops

Immigration books

Advertise on ILW

VIP Network

EB-5

移民日报

About ILW.COM

Connect to us

Make us Homepage

Questions/Comments


SUBSCRIBE

Immigration Daily


Chinese Immig. Daily




The leading
immigration law
publisher - over
50000 pages of
free information!
Copyright
1995-
ILW.COM,
American
Immigration LLC.

View RSS Feed

Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

AG: ONLY GREEN CARD HOLDERS MAY OBTAIN DRIVER'S LICENSES IN MICHIGAN

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

Dan Kowalski just posted this new Michigan Attorney General opinion at Bender's and I had to read it a couple of times for it to sink in, but it looks like the AG just instructed the DMV in that state to stop issuing driver's licenses not only to unauthorized immigrants, but every one who is not a permanent resident as defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act.



Michigan was one of the few states in the US permitting unauthorized immigrants to get driver's licenses and the media will likely focus on that important topic since the AG decision will now bar that. But it goes much further than this and it could have far reaching implications for Michigan's ability to attract global talent.



The opinion notes that Michigan law states the following:



(1) The secretary of state shall not issue a license under this act to any of the following persons:

* * *

(h) A nonresident, including, but not limited to, a foreign exchange student. [MCL 257.303(1)(h); emphasis added.]



Section 34 of the Michigan Vehicle Code, MCL 257.34, defines "nonresident" to mean "every person who is not a resident of the state."

Section 51a of the Michigan Vehicle Code, MCL 257.51a, defines "resident" as follows:

"Resident" means every person who resides in a settled or permanent home or domicile with the intention of remaining in this state. A person who obtains employment in this state is presumed to have the intention of remaining in this state. This definition shall apply to the provisions of this act only.




The Attorney General discusses this provision and reaches this conclusion:



Michigan law must be interpreted against that background of federal law when considering questions involving aliens. It would be inconsistent with that body of law to find that a person in this country illegally, who has not secured permanent alien status from the federal government, can be regarded as a permanent resident in Michigan. There is nothing in the language or history of the Michigan Vehicle Code to indicate the Legislature intended to do so.



At first I thought that the AG just simply didn't understand immigration law and would include people legally residing in Michigan. But he goes on to specifically mention foreign students as not meeting the definition so it looks like Michigan is about to take away driver's licenses for foreign executives on employment-based non-immigrant visas (Es, H-1Bs, Os, Ls, etc.) as well as individuals in asylum status and those with pending adjustment of status applications waiting on green cards. I think I'd like to be a fly on the wall of the AG when this news starts to circulate around the state of Michigan.



Maybe I'm not reading the decision correctly (it's not very well written, in my opinion). Feel free to weigh in if you have another view.

Submit "AG: ONLY GREEN CARD HOLDERS MAY OBTAIN DRIVER'S LICENSES IN MICHIGAN" to Facebook Submit "AG: ONLY GREEN CARD HOLDERS MAY OBTAIN DRIVER'S LICENSES IN MICHIGAN" to Twitter Submit "AG: ONLY GREEN CARD HOLDERS MAY OBTAIN DRIVER'S LICENSES IN MICHIGAN" to Google Submit "AG: ONLY GREEN CARD HOLDERS MAY OBTAIN DRIVER'S LICENSES IN MICHIGAN" to StumbleUpon Submit "AG: ONLY GREEN CARD HOLDERS MAY OBTAIN DRIVER'S LICENSES IN MICHIGAN" to Reddit Submit "AG: ONLY GREEN CARD HOLDERS MAY OBTAIN DRIVER'S LICENSES IN MICHIGAN" to Digg Submit "AG: ONLY GREEN CARD HOLDERS MAY OBTAIN DRIVER'S LICENSES IN MICHIGAN" to del.icio.us

Tags: None Add / Edit Tags

Comments

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
  1. hmm's Avatar
    The way I read the AG opinion dual intent non-immigrants should be eligible for the driver's licence. On the other hand F-1's are in trouble. I wonder if this matter can be litigated... I know that judges often give DL's to those with multiple DWI offences on humanitarian grounds, such as single mom so she could work. Why a student with a 12-month-lease at an apartment not within walking distance to campus cannot win judges sympathy?
  2. hmm's Avatar
    The way I read the AG opinion dual intent non-immigrants should be eligible for the driver's licence. On the other hand F-1's are in trouble. I wonder if this matter can be litigated... I know that judges often give DL's to those with multiple DWI offences on humanitarian grounds, such as single mom so she could work. Why a student with a 12-month-lease at an apartment not within walking distance to campus cannot win judges sympathy?
  3. Jay's Avatar
    This is really really crazy(controlling myself from saying stupid)
  4. USC's Avatar
    A couple of excerpts:

    "Resident" means every person who resides in a settled or permanent home or domicile with the intention of remaining in this state.

    Someone here illegally CAN have the intention of remaining in Michigan if he intends to legalize his status, for instance those to whom waivers are available or those who are eligible for AoS on payment of a penalty.

    "In an entirely different context, not fraught with national security and false identification concerns, or a statutory definition mandating permanency of residence, the Michigan Court of Appeals allowed illegal aliens to be considered residents. In Cervantes v Farm Bureau General Ins Co of Michigan, 272 Mich App 410, 412; 726 NW2d 73 (2006)"

    This character is supposed to follow the law and the CoA decision and he chooses to sweep it away by claiming "not fraught with national security and false identification concerns."

    Some lawyer! Only a Republican could sign his name to trash like this. I would bet that he is a Pub. Any takers?
  5. 's Avatar
    Actually, I do not even see why F-1's are in trouble

    "(1) The secretary of state shall not[7] issue a license under this act to any of the following persons:
    * * *
    (h) A nonresident, including, but not limited to, a foreign exchange student. [MCL 257.303(1)(h); emphasis added.]"

    Michigan law talks about "exchange students", who are typically in the country for less than a year.

    But otherwise I agree, the AG seems incompetent on immigration issues. Why is anyone so surprised? Today immigration is like global warming: everyone has an opinion, and nobody has a clue.
  6. Alien's Avatar
    Unbelievable! From giving drivers licenses to illegals to making it harder for legitimate, students, researchers and skilled green card applicants, researchers, doctors etc something as basic as drive to work.
    This is not the kind of policy that will get Michigan out of the rut it is in economically. Michigan is one of the states that lost population in the last few years, house prices are imploding here and the solution is to make it hostile to legal immigrants?
    Even from a legal standpoint, how can this be defensible, when people who have a legitimate reason and US gov't permission for being here are targeted by this sort of crazy interpretation of the law?
  7. Alien's Avatar
    See footnote 10. Does this not cover certain categories of legal immigrant categories, like adjustees etc.?
  8. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    >>See footnote 10. Does this not cover certain categories of legal immigrant categories, like adjustees etc.?
  9. LegalOption      's Avatar
    I'm curious. Just how expensive would it be to challenge any resulting state law? I'm assuming the reasoning behind Toll v. Moreno would still apply in this case and the case wouldn't have to go to the Supreme Court.

    1. < $20,000
    2. < $50,000
    3. < $100,000
    4. > $100,000
  10. LegalOption      's Avatar
    Well, I meant to post 4 options.

    a. < $20,000
    b. < $50,000
    c. < $100,000
    d. > $100,000
  11. hmm's Avatar
    "Even from a legal standpoint, how can this be defensible, when people who have a legitimate reason and US gov't permission for being here are targeted by this sort of crazy interpretation of the law?"

    There's nothing new under the sun. Those on H4 visas (spouses of H1-B's) have long had troubles to get social security numbers without which one cannot get a driver's licence in most states. Remember that driving is not a constitutional right and it is up to the state/local government to determine who can drive legally, e.g. on Catalina islands off California coast they give DLs only to those who lived there for 10 years (as I recall).

    However, I really doubt that the Michigan AG meant to touch H1B/L1's, and even if he did, he is likely to back off, so I suspect the whole discussion is moot.
  12. LegalOption      's Avatar
    Trying again.

    a. $100,000
  13. legal-forever-waiting-forever's Avatar
    However, I really doubt that the Michigan AG meant to touch H1B/L1's, and even if he did, he is likely to back off, so I suspect the whole discussion is moot.


    that may be true. however these things have a way of resulting in unintended consequences. "resident" has a way of excluding non GC holders. how about "alien workers" that have not lived in Mi 7 years and don't own a house etc? do the physicians stop manning the inner city hospitals?
    so everything depends on the pub secy of state who will interpret this. let's hope for a generous dollop of wisdom.
  14. LegalOption      's Avatar
    "let's hope for a generous dollop of wisdom."

    Sadly that may be hoping for too much. Just look at the state law adopted in Tennessee where adjustees cannot get a license.
  15. USC's Avatar
    "e.g. on Catalina islands off California coast they give DLs only to those who lived there for 10 years (as I recall)."

    That is absolutely incorrect. Catalina Island is part of California. If there is a DMV office on the island issuance of a DL would be governed by the requirements set forth by the State of California and not by the Local Catalina authorities.

    "it is up to the state/local government to determine who can drive legally,"

    No. Issuance of a DL is a State matter. Counties, Cities, Towns and Villages cannot make decisions contrary to State Law.

  16. Ron's Avatar
    DMV? What the hell is that?

    I have lived in Michigan all my live and have never visited a DMV whatever the hell that is.

    We have too many idiots on the road here anyway, they should make it as hard to get as a F?hrerschein since a Michigan DL can be easily exchanged for a F?hrerschein.
  17. hmm's Avatar
    UCS: as usual we have trouble understanding each other. It is fact that one needs a special permit to drive on Catalina island, and the permit takes 10 years to get. Most locals drive golf carts instead. Having California DL is not enough. I am not sure what is the legal side of the story, but surely local government can decide the town is car-free and allow nobody to drive there. On Catalina there are exceptions for 10 year residents. If you think one can rent a car there without the permit or just bring a car by boat and start driving, well, I think this is not true and my next question is whether you want to bet, and how much money you want to put on this issue. I certainly would not mind earning extra cash for the holidays.
  18. USC's Avatar
    "UCS: as usual we have trouble understanding each other."

    Oh, come on. You clearly said:

    "they give DLs only to those who lived there for 10 years (as I recall)."

    AFAIK, DLs = Driver Licenses.

  19. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    So, now we know what is worse than "legislating from the bench". It is "legislating from the excutive branch". I think the law made perfect sense. The interpretation is right-down carazy. To those who think that "exchange students" are here for less than a year, I was an exchange student for almost three years - two years in grad school plus one year working. And yes, I had a three year J-1 visa stamp, too.
  20. hmm's Avatar
    I take back whatever I said on exchange students (incidentally, I spent 3 years as J-1 not as a student though, but I of course knew students on J-1, so not clear what I was thinking about.)

    Also AILA posted reply to the Michigan AG (see bibdaily.com) which shows they are worried too, so probably I did not read the ruling correctly.
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Put Free Immigration Law Headlines On Your Website

Immigration Daily: the news source for legal professionals. Free! Join 35000+ readers Enter your email address here: