Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Gov. Jan Brewer's executive order denying driver's licenses and ID cards to undocumented immigrants who obtain work permits through President Barack Obama's deferred-action program is a significant change in state policy, records obtained by The Arizona Republic show. Brewer's order to end migrant driver licenses 'contradictory':
Over the past eight years, Arizona issued licenses and ID cards nearly 40,000 times to non-citizens who had federal employment-authorization documents. Since Brewer's Aug. 15 order, the state has issued more than 1,000 driver's licenses or ID cards to non-citizens with work permits while denying licenses to those with work permits issued through Obama's program.
The data show that despite the state's longstanding practice of issuing driver's licenses to non-citizens with work permits, Brewer has singled out so-called dreamers, denying them driver's licenses even when they have work permits.
The federal work permits are identical except for a number that identifies them as recipients of deferred action under Obama's program. Anyone with that number can't get a permit under Brewer's order.
"It's completely contradictory," said Crystal Williams, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, an advocacy group in Washington, D.C. "If you give a driver's license under one of these circumstances, they are all pretty much the same circumstance, so it's contradictory to say we will give to one but not the other."
Brewer is one of only a few U.S. governors to deny driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants who receive work permits through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. (Nebraska and Michigan are the others.)
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Brewer has argued that undocumented immigrants who receive work permits through the president's program don't qualify for Arizona driver's licenses because they don't have legal status to be in the U.S., as required by state law.
But that argument does not square with data released to The Republic by the Arizona Department of Transportation's Motor Vehicle Division through a public records request. The data show that driver's licenses, or in some cases state IDs, were issued more than 39,600 times since 2006 to non-citizens who presented federally issued employment authorization documents as primary ID to prove they are authorized to be in the U.S. under federal law.
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[N]on-citizens, both legal and illegal, applying for permanent residency through marriage to a U.S. citizen can receive work permits while they are waiting for their application to be finalized, she said.
The government also commonly issues work permits to illegal immigrants who are fighting their deportation in Immigration Court so they can support themselves while their cases are pending, Rummery said.
The federal government also issues work permits to illegal immigrants for other reasons including to those granted temporary protected status due to natural disasters in their home countries, she said.
Illegal immigrants granted deferred action for other reasons outside of President Obama's program, such as domestic violence victims, also commonly receive work permits, she said.
[S]everal immigration lawyers said they believe the majority of non-citizens who use work permits to get driver's licenses in Arizona are illegal immigrants placed in deportation proceedings due to the state's ongoing crackdown on illegal immigrants.
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[I always ask for a legal opinion from a former media villager of The Arizona Republic who is now the press flak for the Governor -- not!]
Under state law, only those people who can prove that their presence in the U.S. is "authorized under federal law" are eligible for driver's licenses.
But, in the governor's view, undocumented immigrants who receive work permits through the president's deferred-action program are not federally authorized to be in the U.S., Benson said. He cited statements by Department of Homeland Security officials in the past saying that Obama's program does not give undocumented immigrants any form of legal status, only the ability to stay and work temporarily in the U.S.
Stacey Stanton, director of the state's Motor Vehicle Division, agreed that people who receive work permits through Obama's deferred-action program don't qualify for Arizona driver's licenses because they don't have lawful status in the U.S.
Williams, of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said Arizona officials are drawing a distinction where there is none.
"It's almost a meaningless statement to say whether you are here legally or illegally (if you have a work authorization). You are here under color of law," Williams said. "People are quibbling over whether they have legal status or don't have legal status.
"It's actually pretty vague under the law in a lot of these circumstances whether they do or don't. The proper inquiry is: Are they here under the color of law? Once the government issues you a work authorization, the government is saying, 'I know you are here, and I am saying you can work while you are here, and I'm not deporting you so you are under the color of law."
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Gerald Burns, a Chandler immigration lawyer,said the state will likely face a lawsuit as growing numbers of undocumented immigrants issued work permits through Obama's deferred-action program are denied licenses.
That's what Gov. Brewer and Tea-Publicans in the state legislature want, pissing away your tax dollars on frivolous lawsuits in pursuit of their Tenther "states' right" temper tantrums against the big, bad federal "guvmint." And its blameless children, the DREAMERS, who are the victims of their blind hatred for President Obama.