Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s refusal to issue driver’s licenses to young undocumented immigrants hit a roadblock Wednesday when the Supreme Court declined to give a second look to a lower court’s decision.
This decision now clears the way for DREAMers – undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as young children – who are eligible for President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to seek drivers licenses. Already 23,000 Arizona immigrants have qualified for deferred action, while thousands more in the state are likely to benefit from the president’s latest set of executive actions.
“This is a victory for the community. It will change many lives for the better,” Carla Chavarria, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said in a statement. “Personally I will be able to run my business more effectively and no longer have to rely on public transportation. We will be able to contribute to our state without any boundaries.”
Just months after President Obama unveiled the DACA program in 2012, Brewer issued her own executive order barring the state from providing benefits to DREAMers. While most all state agencies were swept into the order, it namely impacted one particular area: the Arizona Department of Transportation’s ability to issue drivers licenses. But U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit later ruled in July that the state likely acted unconstitutionally in denying DREAMers the benefits.
Brewer had requested that the high court issue a stay on the appeals’ court ruling, arguing that the deferred action violates federal immigration law. However the Justices ultimately declined the Republican governor’s request without comment.