Jan Brewer's Driver's License Ban to Be Blocked

Governor Jan Brewer's executive order that prevents certain immigrants from getting driver's licenses will be blocked by a court order.

A federal appellate court decision earlier this year called for a temporary end to Brewer's order, and the U.S. Supreme Court today denied the Brewer administration's request to keep the license policy in effect. Immigrants granted deferred action by the Obama Administration will be able to get Arizona driver's licenses as soon as a few formalities are dealt with.

"This order is a big holiday gift to the DREAMers -- and a lump of coal for Governor Brewer," says ACLU attorney Jennifer Chang Newell. "It's time for Arizona leaders to put this unwise, discriminatory policy behind them and let it end with Governor Brewer's term."

See also: -Brewer's Driver's License Ban Running on Fumes

The Supreme Court's order didn't say why the court ruled as it did, and the order only states the following: "The application for stay presented to Justice Kennedy and by him referred to the Court is denied. Justice Scalia, Justice Thomas, and Justice Alito would grant the application for stay."

This denial means Brewer's ban won't be in effect as the case goes on in federal court.

Brewer created the executive order in 2012 over her apparent 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. It's been reported that more than 40,000 driver's licenses and ID cards had been issued to non-citizens with work permits in the eight years prior to Brewer's order. Brewer's administration later revised the policy by extending the ban to more non-citizens, instead of just these so-called DREAMers, although these other groups of immigrants that had previously been able to obtain a license without any such trouble from Brewer.

The Supreme Court's order doesn't immediately put the ban on the driver's license policy in effect, which will be done through orders from the lower courts.

The Arizona Dream Act Coalition, the plaintiff of the lawsuit against the Brewer administration, released statements from its members celebrating the Supreme Court's order:

"After such a long battle, young people have won equal and fair treatment. This opportunity will allow us to fully contribute to the state we have always called home," DACA recipient Alan Salinas says.

"I will finally feel normal and not like an outsider who doesn't belong in this state," says Mitzi Castro, deferred action recipient and Arizona Dream Act Coalition member. "I will be able to prove my identity and not have to worry about being classified as a criminal by law enforcement due to not having proper identification."

"This is a huge victory for all Arizonans. This decision will begin to erase the invisible lines of segregation that politicians and their ill-hearted, irrational policies have created in our beautiful state," says Korina Iribe, a DACA recipient and ADAC member.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley