Although Brewer has less than a month left in office, Governor-elect Doug Ducey has said he supports Brewer's driver's license ban for immigrants. When Brewer leaves office early this January, Ducey will continue the battle. Ducey has said in a debate that he doesn't think “anyone gets the privileges and benefits of hardworking Arizona families that are paid for by hardworking Arizona taxpayers.” Of course this statement appears to ignore the hardworking families and taxpayers who also happen to be immigrants who are not able to take advantages of many of the privileges and benefits provided only to U.S. citizens.
In the shorter term, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling will become final on Tuesday, at which point the Arizona Department of Transportation will have to issue licenses to people who have been granted DACA status. If they fail to do so, they will be in violation of federal law. Nearly 25,000 people have qualified for DACA in the state.
The governor's outside legal counsel, Timothy Berg, argues in the alternative that the state regulation does not run counter to federal law. He argues that preventing those who are not authorized by federal law to remain in the country from getting driver's licenses is still valid because DACA is not a federal law, but rather an Obama administration policy decision. According to their argument, Arizona's 1996 statute is not preempted by federal law.
Berg said the appellate decision confuses fundamental constitutional issues that the Supreme Court would want to decide, and from Berg's point of view, overturn. In part, Berg said the Court would address “whether a federal agency can impliedly preempt state law in an area of traditional state authority by issuing an informal policy memorandum.”
A dozen states offer some form of driving privileges to undocumented immigrants, with only Arizona and Nebraska as the states with an outright ban on driver's licenses for DACA immigrants. Immigrant advocates are becoming further frustrated by Arizona's continued court battles that make the state appear to be ground zero for anti-immigration legislation. Jennifer Chang Newell, a lawyer with the Immigrant Rights Project, has criticized Brewer's continuing the fight. “Rather than do the right thing, the governor has decided to waste taxpayer money and try to take her vendetta against these young immigrant dreamers to the Supreme Court,” said Newell.
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