Group Sues Arizona Over Policy to Deny Drivers Licenses to Deferred Action Young Immigrants
Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) January 4, 2013 – An Arizona policy to deny state driver’s licenses to some people is garnering protest.
A coalition of civil rights groups filed suit on November 29, 2012 to block an Arizona policy that denies driver’s licenses to certain foreign nationals who are granted Deferred Action status and deemed temporarily eligible to remain and work in the U.S. by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
In a statement on the matter, Dallas immigration attorney Stewart Rabinowitz said, “Beyond mean-spiritedness, it is hard to see what Arizona’s interest is in prohibiting issuance of state driver’s licenses to beneficiaries of a federal program to permit certain, young, qualifying foreign nationals to remain in the U.S. and have employment authorization for a two-year period.”
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer issued Arizona Executive Order 2012-06 on August 15 in the wake of the Department of Homeland Security’s implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The program allows certain young undocumented immigrants who have been in the United States for at least five years and who arrived prior to turning 16 to live and work in the U.S. for a renewable period of two years without threat of deportation. It does not confer lawful immigration status or provide a path to citizenship.
The Executive Order directs state agencies to prevent Deferred Action recipients from obtaining eligibility “for any taxpayer-funded public benefits and state identification, including a driver’s license.”
The lawsuit claims that the state policy violates the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause by contradicting federal immigration law and violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by discriminating against certain foreign nationals.
Mr. Rabinowitz continued by adding, “If Arizona Republicans want to further alienate Hispanics, and frustrate federal immigration policy which has provided a reprieve from removal for such persons, this action will be an effective tool. Hispanics are one of the fastest growing minorities in the U.S. who were a critical voting block in the 2012 Presidential election, and their clout is likely to only grow. That fact does not portend well for Republicans.”
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