Governor Jan Brewer to DREAMers: State Laws Bar You from Drivers Licenses, Public Benefits Regardless of Feds' Immigration Policy Shift
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer issued an executive order today that blocks issuance of public benefits, Arizona driver's licenses, and state identification to individuals granted Deferred Action by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
In June, President Barack Obama announced that students and young adults brought to the United States as children, and who fit certain criteria, would be granted temporary immunity from deportation and allowed to work.
And today, on the day that the feds begin accepting applications from them, Brewer weighs in with a formal executive order to remind them of the laws that have hampered them.
Community leaders from Puente Human Rights Movement say that they will continue to fight against Brewer's racism and hate.
"Once again, [Brewer] has stood on the wrong side of history by implementing anti-immigrant policies and directly contradicting federal mandates related to immigration," Puente leaders declared in a statement issued on the heels of the governor's executive order. "By taking public action against President Obama's policy that will potentially grant work permits to over one million undocumented young people, Brewer has once again put Arizona's name on the map as the epicenter of anti-immigrant racism and hate."
In her order, she declares that just because the Department of Homeland Security via the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services is granting about 80,000 young undocumented immigrants deferred action from immigration proceedings and the right to work, it "does not entitle them to any additional public benefit."
She also mandates that any state agency that provides public benefits put in place any rules "necessary to prevent Deferred Action recipients from obtaining eligibility for any...taxpayer-funded public benefits and state identification, including a driver's license."
State laws banning undocumented immigrants from getting public benefits or driver's license have been on the books for a while now.
Arizona Senator Steve Gallardo says Brewer's order is nothing more than political posturing.
"She put out an executive order pretty much stating the status quo?" he tells New Times. "Thank you for telling us what we already know."
He says, with all the issues facing Arizona, "You would think that the governor would have better things to do, other than stating the obvious.
"The governor should get to work on some serious issues," Gallardo says, adding that people in the community aren't looking at Obama's deferred action policy with an eye toward benefits like in-state college tuition or a license to drive.
"I think it's great that these students are able to apply for this and get some type of relief," Gallardo says.
He says it's likely that the governor's announcement was meant to appease "right-wing wackos" who are upset about Obama's policy shift and probably are flooding her office with calls.
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.