Friday, January 23, 2015

It's Official: AZ Can't Block DREAMers from Getting Driver's Licenses

Posted By on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 9:45 AM

click to enlarge DREAMers getting licenses Dec. 22, 2014. - THE DREAM ACT COALITION
  • The DREAM Act Coalition
  • DREAMers getting licenses Dec. 22, 2014.

A federal judge told Arizona Thursday that it permanently cannot prohibit so-called DREAMers from getting driver's licenses.

U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell's ruling made permanent a December preliminary injunction that allowed young immigrants under Obama's DACA program—which in 2012 granted all of those brought to the country without documents as children and who have no criminal record (among other requirements) temporary permission to live and work in the U.S.—to start applying for licenses Dec. 22.

"Today's decision paves the way for these young immigrants to contribute more fully to our communities and sends a clear message to Gov. Doug Ducey that his predecessor's anti-immigrant policies were legally flawed and came at a great cost to Arizona taxpayers," said Alessandra Soler, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, which represented the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition and other groups in the lawsuit against Jan Brewer and the state. "Ducey will live up to his campaign promise to bring a new era to Arizona by abandoning the divisive anti-immigrant measures that soured economic prospects and made Arizona a laughingstock. It’s time for Arizona’s leaders to embrace policies that unite and move us forward.”

Brewer and the DREAMers had been in a legal battle since 2012.

The day DACA was supposed to go into effect, Brewer issued her own executive action, saying no one who qualified for the program would be able to get a license in the state of Arizona. We became one of two states that did this—the other is Nebraska.

Federal courts over and over again sided with the DREAMers, saying the state's justifications were not solid and that it didn't make sense DREAMers should be treated any differently than any other non-citizens, such as green card holders.

Since Ducey took office, he never clarified whether he'd continue the legal battle or not. 

Still, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation, the state spent about $1.5 million, The Arizona Republic said.

Read the ruling here.

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