Nevada Bill Would Allow Teaching Licenses for Illegal Immigrants

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Immigrants who arrived illegally in the United States as children still cannot receive a Nevada teaching license, despite being able to get a work permit in the state. However, a bill that was discussed by the Assembly education committee earlier this week could offer more opportunities for those who derive benefits from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DREAMers.

“These are individuals that were basically raised and educated through our public education system and have paid for their college, and they’re not able to fulfill that dream of becoming a teacher,” said Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz, a Las Vegas Democrat who is also a teacher.

Current state law offers the state superintendent the ability to offer a teaching license to anyone in the state who carried a work permit even if that person is not a citizen or legal permanent resident.  However, this is only in times of teacher shortages within a subject that the person can teach.  In all other cases, applicants must be citizens or legal residents. The bill, AB27, would allow anyone to receive a teaching license as long as there is a teacher shortage of any kind.

The license would come with some restrictions.  It would not be transferable between counties, and each district would need to inform the state if they were to fire someone who had received a license under the bill.

The measure could help districts across the state.  The Clark County School District currently has 600 openings and hopes to hire a total of 2,600 by next year to help ease overcrowding.  Officials from Washoe County School District said they are short 99 teachers.

Most of the school and business organizations who were present at the discussion earlier this week stood in support of the bill due to the shortage.

John Wagner of the Independent American Party was the only one to question the bill.  Wagner wondered if those who were covered by executive immigration orders would also benefit, writes Andre F. Puglie for The Latin Post.

“Would that be someone who was, say, blanketed in by President Obama’s amnesty thing?” he said. “I would not be in favor of that.”

The committee’s legal counsel is currently looking into Wagner’s question.

Meanwhile in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo is looking to link together the creation of a state DREAM Act and an education tax credit, causing lawmakers to either approve both measures or neither, writes Kenneth Lovett for The Daily News.

The DREAM Act would offer state financial assistance to college students whose parents are illegal immigrants.  The measure is supported by Democrats and the Hispanic community, but Republicans oppose the idea of using taxpayer dollars to help non-citizens, according to Susanne Craig for The New York Times.

The education tax credit would help those who donate money to schools in the state.  While the Senate GOP supports the move, teachers unions and Democrats feel it creates a voucher program that would take money away from public schools.