Jan Brewer: Ignorant, Irrational, Prevaricating, Self-Serving Bigot
They don't call her "GED Jan" for nothin'.
Following U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell's ruling this week in Arizona Dream Act Coalition v. Jan Brewer, Brewer was quick to gloat and mischaracterize Campbell's decision, painting it as a vindication of her prejudiced policy.
On her Facebook page, someone who knows how to spell wrote on behalf of our English- language-challenged chief exec that, "a federal court UPHELD my Executive Order and Arizona's law denying driver's licenses to illegal aliens who President Obama has allowed to remain in our country under his outrageous [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] program."
"Upheld"? In your dreams, Jan.
True, Campbell declined to issue an injunction against enforcement of the order, as sought by the plaintiffs.
However, there are stringent requirements that must be met before a judge can issue such an injunction.
The wronged party must be likely to succeed, and there must be a threat of irreparable injury, if the court does not act.
Campbell concluded that the plaintiffs had not demonstrated a likelihood of irreparable harm. But the judge did find that Brewer's fiat likely violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment, which prohibits states from denying "any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
That finding by Campbell gives the lie to Brewer's assertion in a press release that the judge's decision was "a victory for states rights."
States do not have the "right" to violate the Equal Protection Clause. If they did, we might still have enforced segregation in this country.
Indeed, the very use of the phrase "states' rights" hearkens to the old Dixiecrat defense of Jim Crow, and even further back, to the antebellum South's defense of slavery.
In addition to Brewer's constitutional violation, Campbell found her order unlikely to bear "a rational relation to some legitimate end."
Brewer insists that in denying driver's licenses to young, DACA-eligible men and women brought to this country before they were 16, she is complying with a state law that prohibits Arizona's Motor Vehicles Division from issuing such licenses to those who cannot prove that their "presence in the United States is authorized under federal law."
Remember, DACA recipients legally can remain in the United States, obtain a Social Security card, and work.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issues them "employment authorization documents," or EADs, as it does to other individuals whom USCIS allows to remain in the country for any number of reasons.
"Before the announcement of the DACA program," Campbell writes, "the Motor Vehicle Division...accepted all federally-issued EADs as sufficient evidence that a person's presence in the United States was authorized under federal law."
The judge further notes that from 2005 to 2012, "MVD issued 47,500 driver's licenses on the basis of EADs."
And Campbell observes that, "MVD continues to accept all other EADs, including those issued to persons who have received other forms of deferred action."
One by one, Campbell eliminates the arguments of Brewer's lawyers and their justifications for her patently discriminatory policy. Sometimes he even uses their own charts against them.
For example, he cites the defense's data to show that the overwhelming majority of driver's licenses issued by the MVD on the basis of EADs have gone to individuals who "have no formal immigration status and little hope of one."
Which is how Brewer's lawyers attempt to define DACA-applicants.
Campbell maintains that, "To prevail on their equal protection claim plaintiffs `must make a showing that a class that is similarly situated has been treated disparately.'"
And that's exactly what the plaintiffs do.
Once you single out a group of individuals because you don't like them, or in Brewer's case, because she does not like the Obama-administration policy DACA-recipients represent, and apply the law differently to them, you are violating the Equal Protection Clause.
Brewer has contended that she issued her order so there would be "no drivers licenses for illegal people," a statement that is most certainly prejudiced, and borderline racist.
And yet, as mentioned above, in seven years' time, the state has issued tens of thousands of driver's licenses to folks Brewer's bigoted brain would identify as "illegal people."
Campbell concedes Brewer's right to disagree with the DACA program.
But that disagreement, he insists,
"...provides no justification for saying that an Arizona driver's license may be issued to one person who has been permitted to remain temporarily in the country on deferred action status -- say for an individual humanitarian reason -- while another person who has been permitted to remain temporarily in the country on deferred action status under the DACA program is denied a license."
Does this analysis sound like a "victory" for Brewer?
Only if you're suffering a psychotic break.
Sure, Campbell dismissed the claim that Brewer's policy is preempted by federal immigration law.
But as I noted back in March, after watching oral arguments in this case before Campbell, the 14th Amendment claim was the plaintiffs' strongest. Therefore, it should be no real surprise that it survived, while the preemption argument was rejected
Brewer's shallowness, her meanness of spirit is evidenced in her trite, childish responses on Facebook and elsewhere, attempting to score points in the public arena, all the while claiming, as she does in her recent press release, that "this fight has never been about the `Dreamers.'"
On the contrary, Brewer is engaging in pure prejudice against DACA-eligible DREAMers.
Of course, that's in keeping with her entire stint as governor, which has been marked by, and always will be remembered for, Brewer's pandering to nativist extremism for her own self-aggrandizement and political gain.
Orion Danjuma, a Skadden Fellow at the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, told me that the ACLU is still reviewing the court's order and has yet to decide whether it will appeal Campbell's denial of an injunction or simply proceed with the underlying lawsuit.
I asked him, hypothetically, if the Gang of Eight's immigration bill were to become law and authorize a "registered provisional immigrant status" for the 11 to 12 million undocumented in this country, could Governor Brewer issue a similar executive order, barring the MVD from issuing Arizona driver's licenses to those with the new status?
Danjuma pointed to the current language of the bill, which states that someone granted registered provisional immigrant status "shall be considered lawfully present in the United States for all purposes."
And yet, Brewer's spite knows no bounds.
"Given our experience with Governor Brewer, we don't know that she won't try to do the same thing," Danjuma stated. "That's why the language in the [Gang of Eight's] bill is so important, and why we think this suit is so important."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.