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Jan Brewer's Order to Deny Driver's Licenses for Deferred Action Recipients Earns Her a Lawsuit

Alessandra Soler (speaking) along with attorneys and DREAMers.
Alessandra Soler (speaking) along with attorneys and DREAMers.
Photo by Matthew Hendley

It may not come as a surprise, but Governor Jan Brewer's order barring participants in the Obama Administration's deferred-action program from getting driver's licenses has earned her a lawsuit from the ACLU and other civil-rights organizations.

See also:
-Jan Brewer to DREAMers: State Laws Bar You from Drivers Licenses
-Jan Brewer's Order Has "Absolutely No Basis Under State or Federal Law," ACLU Says

Arizona ACLU chief Alessandra Soler, along with attorneys from her organization and others, as well as a handful of the DREAMers, were in front of Old Main on Arizona State University's Tempe campus to announce the lawsuit this morning -- a lawsuit Soler told New Times the ACLU was considering in August, shortly after Brewer's announcement.

Brewer's order blocks the immigrants who are granted deferred action from obtaining driver's licenses or any other "taxpayer-funded public benefits."

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, contends that all other immigrants who have previously had an authorized presence in the United States have been able to obtain driver's licenses, but Brewer's order changed that, so the people who are authorized to be in the country under the Obama administration's plan can't get driver's licenses.

"As stated by Defendant Brewer, the Executive Order makes clear that there will be 'no drivers [sic] licenses for illegal people,' and in her opinion, '[t]he Obama amnesty plan doesn't make them [legal] here,'" the lawsuit states. "Defendant Brewer's Executive Order reflects her apparent disagreement with the federal government's decision to allow young immigrants who qualify under the DACA program to remain in the United States."

However, the lawsuit says non-citizens with deferred action have "routinely" been issued driver's licenses, until now. Attorneys involved in this lawsuit say the federal government has been granting deferred action to certain groups of immigrants for decades.

Soler says today that Brewer's order is "completely out of line with the constitutional guarantee not to discriminate."

Although the lawsuit alleges that Brewer's order specifically, and wrongly, targets a certain group of immigrants, Nicholas Espiritu -- a staff attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund -- says if Brewer decided to apply this order to all immigrants with an authorized presence in the country, it would show how "irrational" the order is.

The goal of the lawsuit is to get the executive order thrown in the garbage, and Soler said today that a request for a temporary injunction on the order is in the works.

The entire lawsuit can be found below:

Az Final Complaint 112912




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