Illegal immigrants may soon be teachers, pharmacists, dentists and other professions that require certification in New York.
The state’s Board of Regents has voted to adopt new regulations allowing individuals granted executive amnesty — via President Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — to apply for teacher certification and other professional licenses.
“These are young people who came to the U.S. as children,” State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said in a statement Wednesday. “They are American in every way but immigration status.”
“They’ve done everything right,” she continued. “They’ve worked hard in school, some have even served in the military, but when it’s time to apply for a license, they’re told ‘Stop. That’s far enough. We shouldn’t close the door on their dreams. Allowing these young people to get professional licenses will open up a new world of economic opportunity for them.”
The New York Department of Education provides licenses for 53 professions.
While illegal immigrants who have been granted DACA are able to obtain employment authorization and work legally in the U.S., they are largely unable to receive professional licensing. The New York Board of Regents’ decision opens up a wealth of occupations previously unattainable for illegal immigrants living in the U.S.
According to the Department of Education, once the policy is finalized, following a public comment period, illegal immigrants granted DACA will be able to apply for and obtain professional licenses.
Democrats praised the Board’s decision as an important step to open more opportunities up for illegal immigrants.
“The proposed regulations by the Board is a positive move to help the more than 53,000 New Yorkers who have registered for DACA, the 200,000 more which live in fear and have not signed and live in our State, and for the 787,000 DACA enrollees nationwide who will now see that New York is the land of opportunity where they can bring their talents to help improve their lives,” Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo said in a statement.
Republicans in the state slammed the move. Hudson Valley state Sen. Terrence Murphy told the New York Post, “Allowing lawbreakers to teach, or practice medicine, says a lot about how backwards our priorities truly are in New York. This is another example of why rule-making by un-elected bureaucrats is what is ruining New York state.”