Arkansas House allows DACA recipients to obtain nursing licenses

The Arkansas House of Representatives approved a bill that allows people in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to seek nursing licenses, according to an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette report.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Megan Godfrey, D-Springdale, allows the Arkansas Board of Nursing to grant nursing licenses to people brought into the country illegally as children. The DACA program lets them remain in the country legally, renewable every two years, and apply for work permits.

Arkansas had allowed foreign-born individuals brought illegally into the country as children to get nursing licenses from 2012 to 2017. However, the DACA program's future has been uncertain since 2017, when the Trump administration announced it would end the program.

A major reason for reinstating the ability of those in the DACA program to apply for nursing licenses is the nurse shortage in the state.

"We should do all that we can to recruit and retain nurses here in Arkansas," said Rep. Godfrey, according to the report. "DACA nurses in communities all across our state are dedicated, smart, resilient and will serve our state well."

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