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Arizona Loses Another Immigration Battle

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that Arizona could not lawfully deny any unauthorized immigrant a driver’s license. This ruling applies to unauthorized immigrants that have been protected by the federal government from deportation and given permission to work. This decision helps groups of college students, and military veterans who have approved background checks, valid employment papers, and social security numbers. Prior to this ruling many of these Arizonans could not legally obtain a drivers license and many unauthorized immigrants do not have transportation to get to work without a driver’s license.

Arizona is typically known for its strict regulations, discrimination and abuse towards immigrants, especially after the movement initiated by Sheriff Joe Arpaio. In response, President Obama had halted deportations that he refers to as Dreamers. According to Obama, Dreamers are immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors illegally by their guardians and his program was an attempt to ease strict immigration policy. However, Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona, felt that this program was not just, as he issued an order to prohibit Dreamers from receiving driver’s licenses. As a result, Arizona Department of Transportation refused to acknowledge any federally issued employment authorization documents (EAD).

The court found that there was no benefit to the state, in punishing approximately 19,000 Arizonans, since other noncitizens, specifically those who are not of Latino decent have been given Arizona licenses and their EAD ‘s were accepted. They also have found no justification for the order that was put in by Gov. Brewer. Therefore, the court’s decision has forced Arizona to remain within the acceptable boundaries of the federal laws, giving unauthorized immigrants the right to obtain a driver’s license.