Photo: Deferred Action Immigrants Denied Driver's Licenses in Arizona
A coalition of organizations on Thursday filed suit against the state of Arizona for denying driver’s licenses to undocumented young people who have been given a reprieve from deportation under the federal Deferred Action program.
The plaintiffs say that the executive order signed in August by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in which Deferred Action beneficiaries are denied the possibility of getting a driver’s license or official state-issued I.D. is unconstitutional.
Deferred Action allows undocumented immigrants under age 31 to be eligible for a renewable two-year reprieve from deportation and a work permit.
The lawsuit was filed in the name of the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition and five young undocumented immigrants who had been denied driver’s licenses.
“This is a shameless attack on our youth. When our youngest and brightest residents are prevented from getting licenses, going to school or work and pursuing their dreams, entire communities suffer,” said Alessandra Soler, the executive director for the ACLU of Arizona, said at a press conference.
One of the plaintiffs is 19-year-old Alejandra Ibarra, whose family brought her to the United States when she was only 4.
She was approved for Deferred Action last month and now has a Social Security Number and a work permit.
“They offered me a job in the city of Tempe, but I had to refuse it because it’s 25 miles (40 km) from where I live and I can’t drive a car,” she said.
“Federal immigration authorities have lifted the shadow of deportation from these bright and hardworking DREAMers, but Arizona insists on pursuing its own immigration policy aimed at keeping them in the dark,” Jennifer Chang Newell, staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, said.
The lawsuit claims that Arizona is violating the U.S. Constitution by interfering with federal immigration law, and it also says that the equal protection provisions of the 14th Amendment are being violated.
According to figures provided by the Migration Policy Institute, approximately 1.7 million young undocumented foreigners are eligible for Deferred Action of whom 80,000 live in Arizona.