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Lawmakers Seek To Provide Professional Licenses To DACA Recipients

Rep. Ed Clere (R-New Albany) says a 2011 state immigration law has a "devastating" and "harmful" impact on DACA recipients and employers.

Indiana House lawmakers took steps Tuesday to ensure recipients of the federal immigration program known as DACA will be able to receive and renew professional licenses.

The Indiana Professional Licensing Agency recently changed its applications to better comply with a 2011 state immigration law. The move meant thousands of DACA recipients were barred from professional licenses.

Rep. Ed Clere (R-New Albany) says PLA is only following state law – but that law has serious consequences.

“This is devastating to individuals and harmful to employers who will lose a cosmetologist or a plumber or an engineer or a nurse,” Clere says.

An amendment offered by Clere in a House committee allows people to receive licenses as long as the federal government allows them to work, which is a primary facet of DACA.

“Ultimately, Congress needs to clarify federal immigration law regarding DACA. But, until they act, Indiana state law should allow DACA recipients to skill up and work here in Indiana,” Gov. Holcomb said in a statement. “While Indiana’s Professional Licensing Agency acted appropriately and in line with what our current laws require, I am encouraged to see there is legislative intent to fix this.”

The federal program is the subject of significant debate in Congress and ongoing litigation in federal court.

The amended bill was approved. It now moves to the House.

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