Legal Debate Prompted By Arizona Ban On Deferred Action Licenses

Legal Debate Prompted By Arizona Ban On Deferred Action Licenses

"Under current state law, Arizona residents can present a work permit, a Social Security Number and one other form of ID to receive a state driver’s license.  But the governor’s office asserts that there is a difference between the young people who would qualify for the new Obama Administration program, and immigrants who have received federal work permits in the past.  “Up until now, the federal government would only provide work permits to individuals who had authorized status,” Benson said. “But that is no longer the case. The federal government is now providing work permits to individuals the Department of Homeland Security itself says do not have lawful status.”  Jefferies counters that there is an important distinction between “lawful status” and “lawful presence,” and this is not the first time that immigrants without lawful status have received permission to stay in the country and work. Furthermore, she says deferred action is not a new program.  “Deferred action has been around for a long time,” Jefferies said. “Just deferred action for this particular group of individuals is new, and individuals in that situation have been able to get driver's licenses in the past.”  Jefferies said those immigrants include certain asylum seekers waiting for their case to be determined and domestic violence victims seeking immigration relief.  The Arizona Department of Transportation did not reply to a request for comment." - Jude Joffe-Block, Fronteras Desk, Aug. 17, 2012.