Jan Brewer

Jan Brewer Still Undecided on Her Order Denying Driver's Licenses for DREAMers

One week after the ACLU declared that federal officials had essentially contradicted Governor Jan Brewer's executive order preventing deferred action beneficiaries from getting driver's licenses, the governor hasn't decided how to respond.

Brewer's August order says that participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program do not have "any lawful or authorized status and does not entitle them to any additional public benefit," which includes driver's licenses.

See also:
-Raul Grijalva's Words for Jan Brewer Over Executive Order on Driver's Licenses
-Jan Brewer "Kinder, Gentler" on Immigration? Republic Dons Kneepads for Governor
-Jan Brewer's Order Denying Driver's Licenses for DREAMers Challenged by Bill
-ACLU: Feds Clarify Deferred Action Recipients Should Be Able to Get Driver's Licenses
-Jan Brewer's Order to Deny Driver's Licenses Earns Her a Lawsuit

Last Friday, the ACLU pointed to an updated guide on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, which gets into terminology related to immigration law, but seems to contradict Brewer's order.

New Times didn't get a response from the governor's office last week, but other media outlets have reported in the last week that there was no response to give.

"I know she would like to resolve this issue as quickly as possible but also needs time," Brewer spokesman Matt Benson told the Los Angeles Times yesterday.

Benson tells New Times today that there's no update on the situation.

It's not clear whether the ACLU -- which is involved in a lawsuit against Brewer over this very order -- is correct on its interpretation, but it does at least bring up what seems to be a good point.

In Brewer's order, she states that the people in the deferred-action program do not have "any lawful or authorized status and does not entitle them to any additional public benefit," which includes driver's licenses.

According to the USCIS website:

"An individual who has received deferred action is authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to be present in the United States, and is therefore considered by DHS to be lawfully present during the period deferred action is in effect. However, deferred action does not confer lawful status upon an individual, nor does it excuse any previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence."

This is a point the ACLU has been arguing all along, as the lawsuit claims that Brewer's order essentially declares that people who are granted "authorized" presence are actually "unauthorized."

Mind you, Arizona's among only a few states that have pulled a similar move, by denying these people driver's licenses, but the fact that Brewer's office is actually considering it could mean that a change is coming -- or not.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley