Arizona Governor Jan Brewer speaks to the press outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, April 25, 2012, following arguments in the Arizona vs United States immigration enforcement law case. The court heard arguments on an Arizona statute that expanded the immigration enforcement powers of local police. (Photo : Reuters)
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer was sued on Thursday by a coalition of immigrant rights advocates hoping to overturn Brewer's order denying driver's licenses to young immigrants participating in President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
According to the Associated Press, the lawsuit is asking a federal judge to declare Brewer's mandate unconstitutional because it is overruled by federal law. The lawsuit was filed by the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition and five young undocumented immigrants who were denied driver's licenses, Fox News Latino reported.
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Alessandra Soler, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Arizona, told the AP, "This is another example of the state of Arizona thumbing its nose at the federal government."
"This is a shameless attack on our youth," Soler added in a press conference. "When our youngest and brightest residents are prevented from getting licenses, going to school or work and pursuing their dreams, entire communities suffer."
Matt Benson, Brewer's spokesman, however, contends that the governor is exerting her duty to defend state law that limits public benefits and driver's licenses to people are in the country legally and that young immigrants under DACA are not in the country legally, the AP reported.
"The legal limbo now faced by (the Obama program's) recipients is not due to any action by the state of Arizona or Arizona voters," Benson told reporters. "Rather, it is due to President Obama's decision to pursue this program via executive action rather than through the proper legislative process."
In June, the Obama administration approved the Deferred Action plan, which allows young undocumented immigrants to apply for a two-year renewable work permit while being shielded from deportation. Applicants must meet strict age and time of entry requirements, as well as be in school or have served in the military.
This is not the first time the governor has argued with the Obama administration over illegal immigration, the AP reported. The federal government filed a bid to overthrow Arizona's 2010 immigration law but ultimately failed. The AP reported that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law's most controversial section while overthrowing other sections.
The five young immigrants named in the lawsuit are not seeking monetary damages but are instead seeking to bar Arizona from denying driver's licenses to immigrants in the Deferred Action program.