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Arizona Expands Immigrant License Ban

September 18, 2013 (1 min read)

"Arizona, one of only two states that deny driver’s licenses to young undocumented immigrants allowed to stay and work, is expanding the ban to include any immigrant granted deferred action from deportation.  Most of those affected by the decision are people granted deferred action for humanitarian reasons, most commonly victims of domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual exploitation.  The state announced the policy change in pleadings filed in federal court Tuesday as part of a lawsuit accusing Gov. Jan Brewer of discriminating against young undocumented immigrants who receive federal work permits through President Barack Obama’s program of deferred action from deportation. ... Meanwhile, civil liberties and immigrant advocates are pressing forward with the lawsuit, said Jennifer Chang Newell, an attorney at the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project in San Francisco.  The policy change will hurt people granted deferred action because they will no longer be able get driver’s licenses in Arizona, ending a practice that has been going on for years, she said.  “The state of Arizona is saying even though the federal government says these people should be allowed to stay and work, we are going to deny them driver’s licenses,” Chang Newell said.  The change “means that people are going to be limited in how they get around,” forcing them to take public transportation, rely on relatives or friends for rides, or drive without a license, she said.  She pointed out that Arizona is denying driver’s licenses to deferred-action recipients at a time when several states have enacted laws allowing immigrants to get licenses regardless of their immigration status.  California passed a law last week to allow certain undocumented immigrants to receive driver’s licenses." - Arizona Republic, Sept. 17, 2013.