Taxpayers have invested tens of thousands of dollars in the education of some 2,300 of these students and young adults, he said.
Gallegos, 25, came to Hastings from Mexico when he was 12, graduated from high school and got a full-tuition scholarship to the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
After graduating with a degree in art and multi-media, and without a driver's license, he had trouble finding a suitable job in rural Nebraska. He moved to Colorado, where he had an internship with the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition and then a job as its communications coordinator. He also had a driver's license.
When he had to come back in April for a family emergency, he said, he moved to Lincoln to find a job, one to which he could walk or take a bus. But most would require him to have a driver's license to do the job, he said.
Not having one forced him to sometimes drive without a license when he felt he had no other option, he said.
"At the end of the day, it's a public safety issue," Gallegos said. "Do we want to have people on the roads who are not insured or without a driver's license?"
To qualify for deferred action, children had to have entered the country at 15 or younger, must have been here June 15, 2007, to June 15, 2012, and have no disqualifying crimes. They have to be at least 15 to apply, and they must be in school, high school graduates or GED recipients.
The law is clear that these young people should be eligible for driver's licenses, said Shane Ellison, of Justice for Our Neighbors.
"This bill makes that even clearer, so that there should not be any basis whatsoever for denying driver's licenses to recipients of deferred action," he said."
Thank you for all that came out to support, including the Cattlemen Association, and coalition members: Justice For Our Neighbors, Nebraska Appleseed, ACLU NE, Latino Center of the Midlands, Catholic Charities, and more importantly Senator Nordquist for proposing this bill.