Logo for: President's Alliance Higher Education & Immigration

In September of 2019, the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration; FWD.us, Niskanen Center, TheDream.US, and United We Dream released a groundbreaking report that urges Congress and state legislatures to expand access to professional, business, and commercial licenses (also known as “occupational licenses”) to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, and all other immigrants with the ability to lawfully work.

The report includes the following recommendations:

  • Congress should enact legislation rescinding federal and state prohibitions on professional, commercial, and business licenses to certain immigrants.
  • Congress should enact legislation that affirmatively prohibits the denial of federal and state professional, commercial, and business licenses based on immigration status.
  • State legislatures, agencies, and licensing boards should implement legislation, regulations, or policies that prohibit the denial of professional, commercial, and business licenses based on immigration status.
  • Congress should authorize appropriate funding to encourage states to pass laws expanding licenses to all immigrants, regardless of status; and reciprocity and portability laws for state licensing schemes that do not exclude immigrants.
  • States should examine and update occupational licensing laws and regulations to ensure immigrants and refugees are not disproportionately impacted by occupational licensing law.

Last updated: September 2019

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