Monday, December 22, 2014

DREAMers Can Start Getting Licenses Today

Posted By on Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Young immigrants under Obama's DACA program started showing up at DMVs around Arizona today.

I went to a couple of them in Tucson - one in the northwest side of town and the other in the southeast - hoping to see big groups of Dreamers waiting for the written or driving test, maybe walking out with a license, permit or certificate at hand. Surprisingly, their presence was not obvious. At least at the two locations I went to. But then again, for many it was just a matter of finally being able to get the documentation, which was long overdue. 

I did meet a 16-year-old young woman at the DMV on Broadmont Drive in southeast Tucson. She was standing in line waiting to take a test for a driver's permit. She plans to get a license in six months. Her mom was sitting near her with a friend for some moral support.

Last week, a U.S. District Court judge told the state to stop enforcing Brewer's "no licenses for Dreamers" policy, and shortly after the Arizona Department of Transportation sent out a release saying they could issue one starting Dec. 22. Needless to say Brewer was pissed, and bowed to ask the U.S. Supreme Court - AGAIN - to take on the case. But her term ends in less than three weeks, so this may be up to Gov.-elect Doug Ducey, who should be sworn in the first week of January.

So, all of this week, AZDOT is expecting "heavier-than-normal traffic"  - since about 22,000 Dreamers were immediately affected by the district court judge's preliminary injunction. I contacted an agency spokesperson for today's figures, but the email said, "We're not able to pull those numbers."

The Arizona Dream Act Coalition posted in a Facebook group a checklist of stuff Dreamers need to bring to the DMV: An unexpired DACA card, Social Security card, a DMV approved vehicle, and either $25 for a driver's license or $12 for an ID card.

Last week, I spoke with a Dreamer who plans to get his license in the next few days. His story will be on next week's issue of the Weekly.

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