Gov. Brewer sued over order denying driver’s licenses to DREAMERS

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Tenther "states' rights" George Wallace in a dress, Governor Jan Brewer, was sued today by a group of
civil-liberties and immigrant-rights organizations in a class-action
lawsuit challenging the Guv's executive order denying
driver’s licenses to young undocumented immigrants approved for federal
work permits under President Barack Obama’s deferred-action program (DREAM Act-Lite). Brewer sued over migrant license policy:

The lawsuit seeks to
block Arizona Executive Order 2012-06, issued by Jan Brewer after the
federal government implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood
Arrivals program, or DACA. The program allows certain undocumented
immigrant youth who came here as children to live and work in the United
States for a renewable period of two years. The lawsuit was filed on
behalf of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, an immigrant youth-led
organization, and five young individuals.

The lawsuit marks
the first legal challenge against a state for denying driver’s licenses
to young undocumented immigrants authorized to live and work temporarily
in the U.S. under the program.

The lawsuit could
affect other states that have also denied driver’s licenses to
non-citizens protected from deportation under the program.

The suit was filed
by the Arizona and national chapters of the American Civil Liberties
Union, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the
National Immigration Law Center. The same groups are involved in an
ongoing civil-rights lawsuit challenging Arizona’s
immigration-enforcement law, Senate Bill 1070.

The lawsuit claims
that Arizona’s policy violates the supremacy clause of the U.S.
Constitution by interfering with federal immigration law, and also
violates the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause by discriminating
against certain non-citizens. Arizona’s motor vehicle division
implemented Brewer’s order on Sept. 18.

* * *

“This lawsuit and the state having to defend that lawsuit has been long
expected,” said Gerald Burns, a Chandler immigration lawyer who
represents several young undocumented immigrants who have applied for
deferred action under the program.

The deferred-action program, announced by Obama on June 15, allows
young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to apply
for a two-year reprieve from deportation. Those approved for the program
by meeting criteria, including graduating from high school or obtaining
a GED diploma, and passing a criminal-background check, also receive a
federal employment-authorization document, or work permit.

Immigrant advocates say deferred-action recipients need driver’s licenses to travel to school and jobs.

As many as 1.7 million undocumented immigrants under 31 brought to
the U.S. before they were 16 could be eligible for the program,
including 80,000 in Arizona.

A total of 308,935 undocumented immigrants had applied for deferred
action nationally, including 11,074 in Arizona, as of Nov. 15, according
to the Department of Homeland Security.

A total of 53,273 nationally have been approved, according to the DHS.

* * *

State law requires anyone applying for a driver’s license to prove
their presence in the United States is authorized under federal law.
Brewer has argued that the employment-authorization documents issued to
deferred-action recipients don’t meet state law because DHS officials
have said the documents don’t give undocumented immigrants any sort of
legal status, just the ability to live and work in the U.S. temporarily
without the threat of being deported.

But Brewer’s order contradicts the state’s long-standing policy of
granting driver’s licenses to non-citizens, including illegal
immigrants, with the same employment-authorization documents granted to
deferred-action recipients
, said Regina Jefferies, chair of the Arizona
chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.  

For years, the federal government has granted work permits to
non-citizens for a variety of reasons, including to illegal immigrants
with deportation-cancellation cases pending in Immigration Court
.

Last week, The Arizona Republic
and its broadcast partner 12 News reported that over the past eight
years, Arizona has issued licenses and state ID cards nearly 40,000
times to non-citizens who had federal employment-authorization
documents, according to data obtained through a public-records request
from the MVD
. The data also showed that since Brewer’s order, the state
has issued more than 1,000 driver’s licenses or ID cards to non-citizens
with work permits while denying licenses to those with work permits
issued through Obama’s program.

* * *

“Does it really make sense for the state of Arizona to fight and
expend resources on this?” Burns said. “The rest of the U.S. is moving
towards doing something about comprehensive immigration reform.”

Muzaffar Chishti, of the Migration Policy Institute’s office at New
York University School of Law, said four states in addition to Arizona
have taken action to deny driver’s licenses to deferred-action
recipients: Nebraska, Texas, Michigan and Mississippi.

None has faced a legal challenge.

Four other states, California, Massachusetts, Georgia and Wisconsin,
specifically allow deferred-action recipients to get driver’s licenses.

Governor Brewer's Tenther "states' rights" temper tantrums to maintain her "star" status in the conservative entertainment complex are costing this state money in attorneys fees and costs.

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