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Arizona expands immigrant driver's license restrictions

Arizona's Department of Transportation [official website] announced on Tuesday that the existing ban on driver's licenses for immigrants participating in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) [materials] would be extended to anyone whose deportation has been deferred. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arizona, a litigant in the lawsuit challenging the original ban, the expansion would also deny licenses [LAT report] to immigrants who have been granted permission to stay in the US for humanitarian reasons, such as victims of domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Rights groups called the move "vindictive" [Reuters report], stating that the policy will harm abused women and children.

In December the ACLU filed [JURIST report] a class action lawsuit challenging Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's executive order preventing immigrants in DACA from obtaining driver's license. The complaint alleges that Brewer's order violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution by interfering with federal immigration policy. In September the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied [JURIST report] a request for a new injunction against a controversial provision of Arizona's immigration law requiring law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of persons they stop or arrest if there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the US illegally.

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