Appeals court blocks Arizona’s policy of denying licenses to immigrants

BY Joshua Barajas  July 7, 2014 at 2:59 PM EST
An appeals court has struck down an executive order from Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer that denies drivers licenses to some undocumented immigrants. Photo by Flickr user Col Ford and Natasha de Vere

An appeals court has ruled unconstitutional an executive order from Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer that denies drivers licenses to some undocumented immigrants. Photo by Flickr user Col Ford and Natasha de Vere

An appeals court reversed on Monday Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s policy that denies drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants with work permits under an Obama administration program that granted qualifying immigrants deportation deferrals.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state’s order violated the immigrants’ equal protection rights. The court added that these young immigrants “had shown a likelihood of irreparable injury” under Arizona’s policy.

Brewer issued an executive order on Aug. 15, 2012 that denied drivers licenses and other public benefits to young undocumented immigrants in Arizona who would have benefited from President Barack Obama’s program to stop deportations of law-abiding, young immigrants. The order was issued the same day the new policy went into effect.

The president announced the Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals in June 2012, allowing nearly 1.3 million undocumented immigrants age 30 and younger to apply for a temporary reprieve from deportation and a work permit.

Immigrant rights advocates questioned the constitutionality of Brewer’s policy, calling it discriminatory. The Associated Press reports that Brewer’s administration altered its policy last year to target all immigrants that had received a deportation deferral.

Despite this change, the appeals court ruled that Brewer’s order is unconstitutional.

View the court’s opinion below: