The state of Arizona must grant drivers' licenses to young undocumented immigrants granted work permits under an Obama administration program, a federal appeals court ruled on Monday. As was reported by the AP, Republican Governor Jan Brewer has previously refused to allow her administration to grant licenses to those immigrants, who came to the country illegally as children.
Brewer issued an executive order in 2012 aimed at barring eligible young immigrants from receiving drivers' licenses and other public benefits in her state. The order was a direct response to Obama's deferred-action program, which allows young "dreamer" immigrants who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children to get work permits and defer deportation for renewable periods of two years. There are several requirements for eligibility into the program. For instance, immigrants must be younger than 30, and must have arrived in the U.S. by age 16.
Advocates argued in a lawsuit that the Arizona policy was overruled by federal law, and that the state's policy of awarding licenses and benefits to some immigrants under special circumstances amounted to unequal treatment. As the Associated Press notes, Brewer's administration later changed their policy to deny licenses in all cases where immigrants had a deportation deferral from the federal government. But the 9th Circuit still agreed on Monday that the policy amounted to unequal treatment. The appeals court decision reversed a District Court judge's refusal to grant a preliminary injunction in this case.
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