DACA, Nurses & The Good News from the Legislature

It’s getting close to that time of year where people are heading to graduations, then heading toward their futures.

Some of them have, or at least think they have, a pretty clear idea of what lays ahead, and what they want their life to become. Some of them, and some of us, know that life’s paths aren’t always so easy to see, or easy to follow.

But imagine for a moment, that you followed all the right steps. You went to class, you did the work, you found your passion. But something was holding you back, something very much beyond your control.

Well that’s the case for a few thousand Arkansans enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a lot of people just call it DACA.

These are children who were brought to this country as children, by parents who were looking for a better life.

They went to school, they put in the work. They have grown up and lived alongside all of us, just like every other neighbor, and every other Arkansan.

They face a difficult path though, in this state you could do all the work needed to become, say a nurse, but be denied your nursing license simply because you were not born here. That’s not right. And it’s certainly not right for a state facing a nursing shortage.

But there’s good news.

The improbable has been done, and been done by a new lawmaker no less, from Springdale. Megan Godfrey just got to the Legislature this year and she’s passed a bill into law that will allow DACA recipients to get their nursing licenses, and to serve the communities that they live in.

This is a huge win for Arkansas and for our immigrant communities. And the best news about it, is that it’s something just about everyone in the Arkansas Legislature agreed on.

It was a true moment where we didn’t see Republican or Democrat. We didn’t see ideological differences. Selfishness, hostility, and fear, all took a backseat to doing what was right.

Megan Godfrey ran for the Legislature to go up there and do what was right. And at least for one moment, on a bill that serves so many young Arkansans, our Legislature put Washington style politics aside and said this is better for Arkansas, this is better for our immigrants, and because of that all Arkansans are better off for it.”