Arizona and Nebraska Governors Deny Driver Licenses to Young Immigrants with Work Permits

Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Gov. Jan Brewer
The political battle between Republican governors and President Barack Obama over amnesty for illegal immigrants continued late last week when two states blocked hundreds of thousands of young people from gaining drivers licenses and other public benefits.
Under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, as many as 1.7 illegal immigrants can receive work papers and driver’s licenses if they are under 32 years of age, arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16, and have committed no major crimes.
The 2005 Real ID Act declared that “deferred action” recipients are eligible for driver’s licenses. However, within hours of the program going into effect on August 15, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) issued an executive order blocking the implementation of Obama’s program in her state. Brewer said the program does not make program applicants “legal citizens,” which meant the state could deny them driver’s licenses and other services, according to the governor.
Three days later, Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman (R) followed Brewer’s lead and blocked immigrants in his state as well from gaining deferred action status.
The two states reportedly have more than 100,000 eligible illegal immigrants within their borders.
Democrats in Arizona lashed out at Brewer, who has been a leading voice against illegal immigration in her state.  Jeff Rogers, the chair of the Pima County Democratic Party, told the media that Brewer was acting like George Wallace, the former Alabama governor who was an avowed segregationist and tried to block African-American students from attending the University of Alabama.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
To Learn More:
For Young Immigrants Who Get Deferrals, The Battle Is Far From Over (by David Adams and Alex Dobuzinskis, Reuters)
Gov. Jan Brewer Battles Obama’s DREAM Directive in Arizona (by Terry Greene Sterling, Daily Beast)


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