Deferred action recipients in Arizona sue Gov. Brewer over driver's licenses


A group of young immigrants in Arizona has filed a lawsuit to block Gov. Jan Brewer's executive order that barred those who have received deferred action from the Obama administration from obtaining driver's licenses.

Since August, certain young illegal immigrants have been able to apply to defer immigration enforcement. On the day that policy went into effect, Brewer (R) signed an executive order to block any of the program's beneficiaries from receiving driver's licenses in Arizona.

In complaint (.pdf) filed Nov. 29 before the U.S. District Court in Arizona, the plaintiffs, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, say that before the Obama administration broadly instituted deferred action, illegal immigrants who had been granted deferred action on an individual basis were able to receive driver's licenses in Arizona.

In fact, Arizona continues to grant driver's licenses to immigrants who have received deferred action outside of the federal program that began in August.

The state's executive order violates the federal government's authority on immigration matters as well as the Equal Protection Clause, the plaintiffs say.

One of the plaintiffs, 19-year-old Alejandra Lopez, who has been in the United States since she was four, received deferred action under the new program in October. She tried to obtain a driver's license shortly thereafter and was refused.

The lawsuit says Lopez turned down a job interview because she wouldn't be able to get to the job without a car. Those who receive deferred action under the Obama administration's program also receive work authorization.

Another defendant, 18-year-old Natalia Perez-Gallegos, needs to drive herself to school, where she plans to work toward an associate's degree in nursing beginning in January, the lawsuit says. Perez-Gallegos arrived in the United States at age five and received deferred action in October.

As of Nov. 15, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has granted deferred action to 53,273 applicants. During the past 3 months, it has received between about 4,500 and 5,700 applications per day, USCIS statistics (.pdf) show.

For more:
- download the complaint in Arizona Dream Act Coalition, et al v. Brewer (.pdf)

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