Driver’s License Injunction Denied in Arizona

     PHOENIX (CN) – Arizona can deny driver’s licenses among immigrants authorized to remain in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a federal judge ruled.
     U.S. District Judge David Campbell refused last week to grant the Arizona Dream Act Coalition a preliminary or permanent injunction against Gov. Jan Brewer’s executive order that says state agencies must “prevent Deferred Action recipients from obtaining eligibility … for any … state identification, including a driver’s license.”
     According to the ruling, Arizona’s “driver’s license policy does not concern the arrest, prosecution, or removal of aliens from the state or the nation.”
     The coalition and the five individual plaintiffs who joined in the November lawsuit against the state “cite no authority to show that work was one of the objectives Congress had in mind when it delegated immigration authority to DHS,” the ruling states. “And to the extent Plaintiffs rely on the purposes of the DACA program, they are looking to a nonbinding policy of a federal agency, not the intent of Congress which is the touchstone of conflict preemption analysis.”
     Campbell nevertheless found that the plaintiffs would likely prevail on their claim that their equal protection rights are violated by the governor’s order.
     Arizona presented no evidence “to suggest that DACA recipients are somehow less authorized to be present in the United States than are other deferred action recipients,” Campbell wrote
     “The court is not saying that the Constitution requires the state of Arizona to grant driver’s licenses to all noncitizens or to all individuals on deferred action status,” the ruling states. “But if the state chooses to confer licenses to some individuals with deferred action status, it may not deny it to others without a rational basis for the distinction.”
     Brewer applauded the court’s decision in a statement, and claimed that her order upholds Arizona law.
     “This portion of the ruling is not only a victory for the state of Arizona, it is a victory for states’ rights, the rule of law and the bedrock principles that guide our nation’s legislative process and the division of power between the federal government and states,” Brewer said.
     The ACLU of Arizona, one of the groups that filed the lawsuit on behalf of plaintiffs, says it intends to pursue further legal action on the matter.
     “This is an important ruling for Arizona’s DREAMers, and everyone who seeks justice, but we respectfully disagree with the court’s decision not to immediately block this harmful policy,” said Jenny Chang Newell, with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, in a statement.
     The ACLU of Arizona estimates that about 80,000 people in Arizona and 1.76 million across the U.S. are covered by the federal program.
     To qualify, people must have come to the United States before they were 16, lived in the country for at least five years before the program’s announcement, be enrolled in school or have graduated or obtained a general education development certificate, or be an honorably discharged veteran. They also must not have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, and must be younger than 30.

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