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Mich. amends rule change that prevented temporary residents from getting licenses

Associated Press Writer

LANSING, Feb. 14, 2008 (AP): Legal immigrants temporarily living in Michigan will be able to resume getting driver’s licenses under terms of a bill passed Thursday by the state Legislature.

The bill would allow temporary U.S. residents, including students and businesspeople, to get licenses. They lost that privilege last month when a new state policy went into effect.

Michigan's attorney general had determined that state law prevents undocumented immigrants from obtaining driver's licenses. But the opinion affected all immigrants who are not permanent residents, whether they are in the U.S. legally or not.

Businesses, universities and others that rely on legal immigrants have been urging quick state action from the Legislature. The bill does not allow undocumented immigrants to get licenses.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed the bill. But it's not yet clear how quickly rules will be written and adopted so the Secretary of State can resume issuing licenses to immigrants who are legally in Michigan but aren't permanent residents.

Until recently, Michigan had been one of the few states still allowing undocumented immigrants to get licenses. That changed in late January, when Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land changed state policy for first-time applicants in accordance with an opinion interpreting state law from Attorney General Mike Cox.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued Land this week in an attempt to reverse the policy. The case is pending in Ingham County Circuit Court.

On the Net: Michigan Legislature: http://www.legislature.mi.gov






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