Phoenix, AZ- Arizona’s outspoken Governor Jan Brewer is once again in hot water over her tough anti-immigration stance and is facing another civil court battle over her staunch, some might say, anti-immigrant laws.
This past Thursday, a coalition of immigration and civil rights groups filed a lawsuit against Gov. Brewer, challenging her executive order which denies driver’s licenses for young immigrants, who are eligible for deferred deportation under federal law. Constitutionality is once again at the heart of this most recent lawsuit.
Gov. Brewer issued an executive order on August 15th, the same day USCIS began accepting applications for deferred deportation—one of President Obama’s only uses of his right to issue executive orders. In that order, she stated that she would not issue driver’s licenses to young immigrants, often referred to as Dreamers. Brewer’s order said that work permits issued under deferred action “does not confer upon them any lawful or authorized status and does not entitle them to any additional public benefits.
Applicants for deferred deportation, once deemed eligible, are granted work or student visas. In some states a work permit is sufficient proof of legal status, but Gov. Brewer—most well-known for wagging her finger in President Obama’s face on an Arizona tarmac—refuses to recognize them.
Civil rights groups are now launching a court challenge against the executive order stating that is violates the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, by usurping federal law, and it also violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by discriminating against “certain non-citizens,” the ACLU said on their website.
The lawsuit states “Arizona’s creation of its own immigration classification impermissibly intrudes on the federal government’s exclusive authority to regulate immigration,” Fox News reported.
In Arizona close to 80,000 immigrants are eligible for deferred action, The Huffington Post reported.
Driving is crucial to conducting one’s daily life as the lawsuit recognizes, stating that Brewer’s order makes it difficult to impossible for young immigrants, even those with work permits, to carry out the tasks such as going to work, buying groceries, and attending school.
Luckily Gov. Brewer is up to the task of dealing with yet another immigration lawsuit. She and the federal government have been fighting over federal rights versus state’s rights in immigration enforcement since 2010.
Shortly after Gov. Brewer passed H.B. 1070, Arizona’s oft described draconian immigration law, which aimed to make life so difficult on immigrants that they leave the state; the U.S. Attorney General’s office filed a lawsuit to block the law from being enacted.
After going through lower Circuit and Appeals courts, H.B. 1070 landed in the Supreme Court per Brewer’s request.
This past spring, in a highly- anticipated decision, the Supreme Court blocked all of the provisions of H.B. 1070 with one exception; Arizona would be able to go forward with the “paper’s please” provision. Civil rights groups were quick to file a lawsuit which sought to block the provision. But an appeals court judge declined to rule on the “papers please” provision, sending it back to a lower court and gave Arizona law enforcement permission to begin enacting the law.
Though Gov. Brewer is taking a tough stance against undocumented immigrants; her views are not reflected by the majority of the American public. An overwhelming majority approve of providing a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, believing it is the right thing to do for a young person who has built their life in the U.S.
While we need to secure the borders, and discourage illegal immigration we also need to treat young people whose parents brought them here humanely and recognize they have been functioning member of our society for their entire lives, and have the potential of becoming professionals, entrepreneurs and taxpayers.