ACLU sues Arizona governor for denying driver’s licenses to immigrants News
ACLU sues Arizona governor for denying driver’s licenses to immigrants
Photo source or description

[JURIST] Rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a class action lawsuit [complaint, PDF; press release] on Thursday challenging Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s executive order preventing immigrants in a federal program from obtaining driver’s licenses. Brewer’s order denies driver’s licenses for immigrants participating in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The DACA provides a two-year period where young immigrants are not threatened with deportation if they abide by certain requirements, obtain a work permit and receive a Social Security Number. The ACLU argues that the Arizona order will make it difficult for young immigrants to actively participate in the work force and in their communities. 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. The complaint states:

As part of its immigration power, the federal government has exclusive authority to enact and to enforce regulations concerning which noncitizens to admit, exclude, remove, or allow to remain in the U.S. The federal government also has exclusive authority over the terms and conditions of a noncitizen’s stay in the United States. Further, the federal government has exclusive authority to classify noncitizens, which include determining the categories of noncitizens who are granted federal authorization to remain in the United States. In contrast, state governments have none of these powers.

The complaint seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction to prevent the order form implementation and enforcement.

Last month the ACLU filed a class action lawsuit [JURIST report] on behalf of New Jersey immigrants challenging mandatory detention procedures. The policy in question is 8 USC § 1226(c) [text], which mandates the detention of noncitizens during deportation proceedings, and such noncitizens are not entitled to a bond hearing, even if they pose no danger or flight risk. 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 [SB 1070, PDF] 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.