Opponents of Governor Jan Brewer's executive order that prevents certain immigrants from getting driver's licenses are claiming another court victory over Brewer this week.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied Brewer's requests for rehearings, after the court had previously but a temporary ban on the state's enforcement of Brewer's order.
According to attorneys for the plaintiffs in the case, this decision paves the way for immigrants granted deferred action by the Obama Administration to get driver's licenses.
"Arizona's anti-immigrant campaign is a destructive policy that has proven to be very costly for tax payers," says Victor Viramontes, an attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. "Now, Arizona has lost yet again in federal court, and DACA recipients will finally receive the licenses that Arizona should never have denied them."
More than two years ago, Brewer created the executive order over her disagreement with the Obama Administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, explaining that her move was to prevent "illegal people" from getting driver's licenses.
However, her ban didn't include other non-citizens who have been allowed to get Arizona driver's licenses for years.
After it became clear that the policy discriminated against a certain group of immigrants, Brewer's administration then revised the policy by extending the ban to more non-citizens, although they'd previously been able to obtain a license without any such trouble from Brewer. It's been reported that Brewer has planned to extend the ban to any immigrants shielded from deportation under President Obama's latest executive order.
Attorneys for the ACLU, MALDEF, and the National Immigration Law Center sought for the temporary ban on Brewer's policy, arguing that young immigrants in Arizona were suffering every day that they couldn't drive to work, despite their having employment authorization documents.
The appeals court panel issued that preliminary injunction against Brewer's policy "prohibiting Defendants from enforcing any policy by which the Arizona Department of Transportation refuses to accept Plaintiffs' Employment Authorization Documents, issued to Plaintiffs under DACA, as proof that Plaintiffs are authorized under federal law to be present in the United States."
However, Brewer asked that a full 11-judge panel of the appeals court rule on the issue -- a request that prevented the injunction against Brewer's order from taking effect.
"The Ninth Circuit, district court, and federal government all agree: Arizona's denial of driver's licenses to hardworking young immigrants violates our Constitution," ACLU attorney Jennifer Chang Newell says in a statement. "It is long past time for Governor Brewer to read the writing on the wall and let the DREAMers drive!"
We asked Brewer's spokesman to find out what Brewer's next move is in the case, and Andrew Wilder tells us, "In light of the 9th Circuit's decision to not give the case an en banc review, we are reviewing options to possibly take the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court."
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