Indiana’s Republican Gov. Signs Bill to Give Illegal Aliens State Licenses

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb delivers his State of the State address to a joint session of the legislature at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Indiana’s Republican governor, Eric Holcomb, signed a bill that will give professional and trade licenses to members of President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The new law allows DACA recipients to obtain licenses for professions such as plumbing, cosmetology, real estate, and to gain other registrations that will allow them to start small businesses or fill jobs in fields that require such licenses.

According to The Hill, Gov. Holcomb released a Wednesday, March 21, statement saying he supports the new law for “removing impediments in state law that keep Indiana’s DACA recipients from skilling up and going to work.”

Holcomb had previously said that he supports the bill, saying that it was necessary as a stopgap until the federal law catches up to the idea of giving DACA recipients more consideration.

“But, until they act, Indiana state law should allow DACA recipients to skill up and work here in Indiana,” Holcomb said in February of the need for federal action. “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 new law will allow illegal aliens in the DACA program to have access to 70 occupations. DACA recipients already have several benefits under Indiana law. The so-called Dreamers can obtain Indiana driver’s licenses and social security numbers, for instance. They also pay taxes. On the other hand, they cannot sign up for many public benefits, including food stamps.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.