The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday declined to hear an Arizona challenge to a US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official site] decision [opinion, PDF] barring the state from refusing to issue drivers licenses to recipients of former president Barack Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) [materials], commonly referred to as Dreamers.
The case was originally [JURIST report] brought by the American Civil Liberties Union [advocacy website] and other immigration rights groups when they challenged an Arizona law prohibiting Dreamers from acquiring driver’s licenses in order to prevent them from obtaining access to government benefits. However, the lower court determined that the state had infringed upon the federal government’s ability to set immigration policy and that the transportation restrictions placed an “irreparable harm” on people’s day-today lives, necessitating an injunction against the law and requiring Arizona to accept documents issued under DACA. Arizona appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that the Ninth Circuit’s decision compromised state sovereignty since DACA was enacted through a Department of Homeland Security [official website] memo that could not supersede the state’s law regulating drivers licenses.
Since taking office last year, President Donald Trump has sought [JURIST report] to dismantle DACA. However, the administration has been ordered to keep the program in place while the issue works its way through the federal court system. The Trump administration had actually urged the court not to hear Arizona’s appeal, arguing the administration’s actions to rescind the policy means that Arizona’s concerns are already being addressed.