US Judge Says ‘Dreamers’ Can Keep Driver’s Licenses

23 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

AZ permanently blocked from denying dreamers licenses.

PHOENIX — A federal judge has decided to make permanent an injunction overturning Arizona’s ban on issuing driver’s licenses to young immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children and spared from deportation by President Obama in 2012. District Court Judge David Campbell rejected arguments by attorneys for the state, seeking to void the temporary injunction already in place that those accepted into the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are in this country illegally. Campbell of Federal District Court issued the permanent injunction on Thursday, citing the “irreparable harm” caused to the young immigrants by not being able to have a license under an executive order issued by former Gov. The president’s policy applies to people younger than 30 who came to the U.S. before turning 16, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, are enrolled in or have graduated from a high school or equivalent program, or have served in the military. He said there is no basis for the state’s argument the Department of Homeland Security has no legal authority to permit them to stay and work, which is what then-Gov.

In doing so, Campbell dealt another blow to the state’s argument that dreamers who receive work permits through President Barack Obama’s deferred-action program are not legally entitled to get licences. Her attorneys have argued that the decision grew out of liability concerns and the desire to reduce the risk of the licenses being used to improperly access public benefits. Brewer, a Republican who left office this month, argued that President Obama did not have the authority to act unilaterally in deferring deportations.

In the ruling, Judge Campbell cited examples of penalized immigrants, including one man unable to pursue a career as a firefighter because the local department required a license, and a graphic designer whose days were consumed by commuting by public transportation to meet clients. Dan Pochoda, senior counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, which represented the immigrants, said that options for appealing the decision were limited and that he hoped the case had been resolved. “I think it’s effectively the end,” he said. Campbell also rejected claims that giving licenses to DACA recipients could lead to improper access to federal and state benefits, saying there is “no basis whatsoever for believing that a driver’s license alone could be used to establish eligibility for such benefits.” Campbell said his decision to issue the injunction was also based on his finding dreamers were being harmed by their inability to drive, which he said affected their government-granted right to work. That prompted the Arizona Dream Act Coalition to file a lawsuit on behalf of the undocumented immigrants, setting the stage for what has been a two-year legal battle.

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