Arizona's latest stunt in a nearly-constant stream of attacks on immigrants is to ban the issuance of driver's licenses to youths who have qualified for deferred action. Because of the newly expanded ban, announced last week, Arizona is one of only two states to deny DACA youths driver's licenses. This harsh policy is not only a pointless limitation on young Arizonans who need transportation to attend work, it also promises to worsen the state's faltering economy.
ArizonaCentral.com reported that the ban will place particular hardships on people who have been granted deferred action from deportation for humanitarian reasons.
Deferred action provides temporary protection from deportation for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. The policy was implemented by the Obama administration last summer, and over 16,000 Arizonans have received the protection. The other main benefit of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is the renewable federal work permit.
However, Governor Brewer has argued that the young people with DACA protection do not have authorization to receive licenses under federal law, because only Congress has the right to grant legal presence to undocumented immigrants.
Thus far, the law does not appear to be on Brewer's side. Federal Judge David Campbell made a preliminary finding that a policy of denying licenses to DACA recipients violates the Equal Protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Many activists and humanitarian organizations have spoken out against the policy because it will make obtaining employment much more difficult for DACA recipients. “This is a vindictive policy change that is motivated by politics,” wrote Alessandra Soler, executive director of ACLU of Arizona.
In addition to the added hardships for young people who did not make the decision to come to the U.S. in the first place, the policy also threatens the economy. “You have a population of people here who aren't going to be able to work, even though they are willing and able to,” says Tom Rex, and economist at Arizona State University. This will in effect hamper the state's economy on the whole, Rex told Arizona Central.
For more information on how to apply for DACA and other immigration law issues, please contact the Law Offices of Matthew H. Green. We have offices in Tucson and Phoenix for your convenience.