Jan Brewer

Jan Brewer's Not Changing Her Tune on Driver's Licenses for DREAMers

After three weeks of thinkin', Governor Jan Brewer's finally figured out what she's going to do about her order denying driver's licenses for deferred action beneficiaries -- nothin'.

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 -- a thought the ACLU and others have said is false.

See also:
-Jan Brewer Still Undecided on Her Order Denying Driver's Licenses for DREAMers
-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

Media outlets including New Times have been checking in with the governor's office every so often to see if there's an update, and the Associated Press got it yesterday.

"Brewer says that didn't clear it up for her and she's standing behind her August executive order barring them from getting licenses," according to the AP report.

It was more than three weeks ago that the ACLU pointed to an updated guide for the deferred action program on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, which gets into terminology related to immigration law, but seems to contradict Brewer's order.

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 that will likely be raised in its court challenge.

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."

Only a handful of states have pulled a move similar to Brewer's, and only one of those states, Michigan, has reversed its policy in recent weeks.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley