DACA Beneficiaries Can Now Obtain Professional Licenses in Indiana
Jennifer G. Hickey
As the door was closing last night on Indiana’s legislative session, another was opened to illegal aliens when the state House and Senate approved a proposal to allow Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries to obtain professional licenses.Earlier this week, the legislature overwhelmingly agreed to amend Senate Bill 419, which dealt with the rights of local governments to license occupations, to include the provision allowing an estimated 9,000 DACA recipients to obtain professional licenses in Indiana.The bill passed the Senate on a 39-8 vote and by an 85-7 margin in the House. It now awaits a signature from Gov. Eric Holcomb, who has expressed support in the past, as well as for extending illegal immigrants another benefit – access to in-state tuition.A February decision by the state Professional Licensing Agency to begin requiring individuals to disclose their citizenship on application forms prompted the move by legislators to craft a “legislative fix” to allow illegal immigrants to get the licenses needed for professions ranging from nursing to architecture.The impetus for the change in forms was the concern that the PLA was out of compliance with an Indiana immigration law passed in 2011, which included a provision mandating that agencies charged with administering public benefits verify applicants’ citizenship status.The concern among those opposing the amendment is the possibility that it might establish a pathway for illegal aliens to receive other public benefits, such as welfare. Indiana has earned its place on the growing list of states signing off on permitting individuals illegally in U.S. states to compete with American citizens for much needed professional jobs.