By Gregory B. Hladky
1:44 PM EDT, May 24, 2013
Thursday provded to be a double winner for immigration reform activists in this state.
A federal judge temporarily halted the deportation of Jose Maria Islas, an undocumented immigrant whose case has become a rallying cry for activists. And the state House approved a bill that would allow people like Islas to get Connecticut state drivers licenses.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have been pushing for the deportation of Islas despite the fact that his only "crime" has been to repeatedly try to enter this country to find work.
He was handed over to ICE after being wrongly arrested last year on suspicion of stealing a bicycle. His supporter say Hamden police picked on him because they were looking for a "brown" man.
The House vote on drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants came on a 74-55 (mostly) party line vote. The bill now goes to the state Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, has been a strong supporter of the concept.
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