The state of Arizona is expanding its driver’s license ban to nearly all undocumented immigrants whose deportations have been deferred under a White House policy, even though 8 other states are headed in the opposite direction.
Back in 2012, Arizona’s Republican Gov. Jan Brewer banned driver’s licenses for immigrants given work permits under President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. But the state is getting tougher: Arizona now won’t issue driver’s licenses to immigrants with work permits in any deferred category.
Even though a number of states followed Arizona’s lead several years ago with its strict “show me your papers” law, only Nebraska has joined Arizona in its more extensive ban. Arizona’s latest effort to keep unauthorized immigrants from obtaining licenses surfaced in federal court documents as part of a lawsuit against Brewer. The lawsuit alleges that her position on the driver’s license issue is discriminatory.
Brewer argues the state, not the federal government, has the authority to determine who gets a driver’s license.
The ACLU of Arizona said Brewer’s policy is vindictive.
“This is a vindictive policy change that is motivated by politics and Brewer’s desire to get out from under a lawsuit,” said Alessandra Soler, executive director Arizona’s ACLU, one of the plaintiffs, the Times reported.
The change could end up hurting abused women and children, said Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, according to the Times.
Before this year, immigrants could obtain driver’s licenses or special driving certificates only in New Mexico, Washington, and Utah regardless of legal status, Ann Morse, a spokeswoman for the National Conference of State Legislatures, told the Monitor.