Nebraska lifts ban on driver's licenses for young illegal immigrants

The Nebraska Legislature voted on Thursday to end its ban on issuing driver’s licenses to the children of illegal immigrants.

Lawmakers in the unicameral state legislature voted 34-10 to approve the motion, according to The Lincoln Journal Star.

Thursday’s vote ended Nebraska’s stance as the only state forbidding driver’s licenses for young illegal immigrants, whom immigration advocates call "dreamers." It also marked a stunning defeat for Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R), a fierce critic of the measure.


Ricketts vetoed the legislation on Wednesday, before it was overridden a day later. Senators had four votes over the 30 required to overturn the veto.

Omaha Sen. Jeremy Nordquist (D) initially proposed the measure and spearheaded the effort to pass it.

He hailed its passage on Thursday as a contributor to “the success of these kids, the economy and the community.”

Thursday’s motion affects young adults covered by President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which delays deportations for young people who were brought to the country illegally by their parents, Nordquist said.

He estimated the law would impact 2,700 “dreamers” in the Cornhusker State.

Ricketts’s failed veto is isn't the first time the freshman governor has struggled with his state’s legislature.

Cornhusker lawmakers also banned Nebraska’s death penalty in a vote on Wednesday. They overcame Ricketts’s veto in a 30-19 vote.

Wednesday’s moratorium on the death punishment made Nebraska the first red state to eliminate the practice since 1973.

Nebraska joined 18 other states and Washington, D.C., in halting executions of criminals.