Nevada Votes to Give Professional Licenses to Illegal Aliens
By Colton R. Overcash | May 23, 2019
With less than two weeks left before they’re scheduled to adjourn, Nevada legislators have quietly passed legislation giving illegal aliens access to professional and occupational licenses, all but ensuring that American workers will face even more competition for jobs and wages.
On May 22, the Nevada Senate passed Assembly Bill (AB) 275 with almost unanimous consent (only two Republicans voted against it). It also passed the lower chamber by a 29-11 vote with a bipartisan vote with one Republican joining all the Democrats to support it.
AB 275 amends the Nevada Administrative Code by requiring the Secretary of State to allow an applicant to use a taxpayer identification number or work authorization number as an alternative to a Social Security Number. Additionally, it also removes any reference to United States citizenship from state law and prohibits any state agency, department, or licensing board from denying an occupational or professional license based solely on an applicant’s immigration status. It also contains a reciprocity clause that allows state regulators to accept professional and occupational licenses from other states.
In 2014, (AB 27) was passed and signed into law. This legislation allowed Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and other aliens who have work authorization to become licensed educators only if a teacher shortage existed. AB 275 expands that narrowly tailored law to allow illegal aliens access to hundreds of professional and occupational licenses, including those for attorneys, pharmacists, engineers, physicians, surgeons, and firearm instructors.
State Assemblywoman Selena Torres (D-Las Vegas), who authored the bill, claims that AB 275 would not allow illegal aliens to gain employment. Instead, she argued it would make the law more amenable to legal workers who do not have a Social Security Number.
“The main thing I want this committee to understand is that this bill does not give undocumented Nevadan’s [sic] the ability to work,” she said. “This bill gives Nevadans the ability to obtain an occupational license.”
However, the bill will unlock job opportunities for illegal aliens who’ve been granted DACA status as well as legal immigrants who are permitted by the federal government to live in the United States under a permanent or temporary status including asylees, refugees, green card holders, foreign workers, and aliens with Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
The measure was widely supported by the Nevada Latin Chamber of Commerce, the Nevada Board of Social Work, the Nevada Hispanic Legislative Caucus, the Progressive Leadership Alliance, the UNLV Immigration Clinic, and other open-borders groups.
Governor Steve Sisolak (D) has five days (excluding Sunday) to take action on AB 275 unless he receives it after the legislature adjourns on June 3, according to the Nevada Constitution. If Gov. Sisolak receives the bill after that date, he will have ten days to sign it or veto it, otherwise it will become law without his signature.