Illegal immigrants the Obama administration has shielded from deportation and permitted to work will now be able to apply for teaching, medical, and other professional licenses in the state of New York.
New York’s Board of Regents permanently adopted regulations on Tuesday that open eligibility for professional licenses to illegal immigrants granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) via President Obama’s 2012 executive amnesty program.
“Today thousands of young people across the state have gained new opportunities,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said in a statement. “Their futures are no longer restricted in New York.”
The Regents initially approved the regulation changes in February, pending a comment period. Tuesday’s move set the regulation changes in stone, allowing illegal immigrants granted DACA access to the 53 professional licenses offered by the state’s Education Department.
“The action taken by the New York State Board of Regents addresses an enormous injustice in our educational system,” Assemblymember Deborah Glick, the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education, added in a statement. “Students who have worked tirelessly to earn the necessary degrees to become doctors, teachers, lawyers, pharmacists and countless other professions do not deserve to have their dreams stifled when they apply for licensure.”
Not all New Yorkers are in favor of granting professional licenses to illegal immigrants. Some Republicans in the state, according to USA Today, petitioned against the plans, highlighting that it is unfair that out-of-state professionals — particularly the spouses of military personnel — continue to face hurdles to licenses and legal practice in New York.
“Allowing illegal immigrants to teach our children is a direct contradiction of the lessons of right versus wrong,” their petition read. “This is especially the case when New York State continues to reject licensed individuals, including certain military trained personnel, from being able to obtain proper employment in the Empire State.”