PHOENIX (CN) - Young immigrants in Arizona received an early Christmas present when a federal judge cleared the way for them to apply for driver's licenses beginning Monday morning.
U.S. District Judge David Campbell granted a preliminary injunction on Thursday to block outgoing Gov. Jan Brewer's executive order denying driver's licenses and state identification cards to those who qualify for the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Brewer called the order "outrageous."
Judge Campbell wrote in the 2-page order: "Plaintiffs have ... shown that they likely will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in their favor, and that a preliminary injunction is in the public interest."
Campbell granted the injunction one day after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to stay the 9th Circuit's mandate in the case while Brewer's legal team prepares another appeal.
The 2012 program deferred immigration-related actions against certain adults younger than 31 who were brought to the country as children and have lived here continuously, gone to school and not committed any crimes.
On the day the program began, Brewer issued an executive order that directed state agencies to prevent DACA recipients from receiving any "state identification, including a driver's license."
The Arizona Dream Act Coalition and five young people who qualify for DACA sued in Phoenix Federal Court. A three-judge appeals panel reversed Campbell's initial denial of an injunction against Brewer's order and later denied en banc review in the case.
"Until further order of this court, defendants and their officials, agents, and employees, and all persons acting in concert or participating with them, are enjoined from enforcing any policy or practice by which the Arizona Department of Transportation refuses to accept Employment Authorization Documents, issued under DACA, as proof that the document holders are authorized under federal law to be present in the United States for purposes of obtaining a driver's license or state identification card," Campbell wrote.
The order will take effect on Dec. 22.
An unmoved Brewer, who will leave office in January, vowed to keep fighting. She said that attorneys will continue to prepare an appeal to the high court.
"The right to determine who is issued a driver license is reserved for the states - not the federal government or an unelected judiciary," Brewer said in statement.
"It is outrageous that Arizona is being forced to ignore longstanding state law and comply with a flawed federal court mandate that requires the state, at least temporarily, to issue driver licenses to individuals whose presence is in violation of federal law, as established by the United States Congress."
Oral argument on the plaintiffs' move for summary judgment and for a permanent injunction is set for Jan. 7, 2015, in Phoenix.
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