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Sunday, June 16, 2024 | Back issues
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‘Dreamers’ Push for Arizona Driver’s Licenses

PHOENIX (CN) - Dream Act beneficiaries urged a federal judge to let them apply for Arizona driver's licenses, but it will likely be a while before the state's "dreamers" are driving.

The notice to the U.S. District Judge David Campbell in Phoenix comes after the 9th Circuit refused Monday to review its ruling against the denial of Arizona driver's licenses to certain young, undocumented immigrants.

A preliminary injunction would return Arizona to the "legal regime that was in place prior to defendants' revised policies," according to the latest filing by the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, the ACLU and others.

Such relief would make all holders of federal employment-authorization documents eligible for Arizona driver's licenses.

Gov. Jan Brewer altered Arizona's policy through executive action in 2012 after the federal "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" (DACA) program took effect.

The policy 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.

Judge Campbell had initially refused to enjoin Brewer's order in the face of a challenge by five young immigrants who qualify for DACA and the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, but a three-judge panel with the 9th Circuit reversed in July.

After the 9th Circuit refused to reconsider the case Monday, its mandate will not become official for another six days.

By that time Brewer will likely have appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, so Campbell in unlikely to rule on the issue this week.

A spokeswoman for Brewer's office said Tuesday that, "while no decision has yet been made, it is likely that [a petition for certiorari] will happen."

If the Supreme Court or the 9th Circuit stays the mandate pending such an appeal, "Dreamers" face a long wait for driver's licenses.

"We are hopeful that things are going to move quickly," ACLU Arizona spokesman Steve Kilar said in an interview.

Brewer, who will leave office in the new year, has taken several immigration-related cases to the high court during her time in office, including her unsuccessful defense of the notoriously tough state immigration law known as SB 1070 .

Doug Ducey, Arizona's Republican governor-elect, has said that he supports Brewer's executive action, which affects about 20,000 immigrants in the state.

"As the governor-elect has always stated, he will adhere to the law once a final rendering has been reached," Ducey's spokesman told the Arizona Republic on Monday.

On Tuesday, the 9th Circuit shot down a July bid by the state's challengers for an injunction as moot.

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