Yesterday Arizona Governor Jan Brewer issued an executive order that reiterates that state agencies are required to deny licenses and public benefits to undocumented immigrants. She has extended this stipulation to also include all beneficiaries of President Obama’s recent decision to grant “deferred action”:
The federal program prevents young people who were brought into the country illegally as children from being deported if they were younger than 16 years old when they got here, are younger than 30, have lived in the U.S. continually since June 15, 2007, and have no felony convictions.
Estimates are that roughly 80,000 kids would qualify in Arizona. The program provides safe harbor for two years.
You can read theGovernor’s Executive Order here.
This immediately caused an uproar amongst immigration supporters as they felt it was another showing of Brewer being anti-immigration and xenophobic. There is a lot of validity to this argument. Why should she do something like this, we might be asking ourselves, if not to be just plain mean? Her defense has been that this is simply reiterating existing laws, which she has sworn to uphold. So her basic defense is that this is simply holding to existing law.
The problem might be that she doesn’t completely understand the law.
The ACLU argues that:
This is yet another reason why Arizona has no business trying to regulate immigration matters,” said Alessandra Soler, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona. “Brewer is distorting federal law and inaccurately interpreting state law. This order conflicts with state and federal law because people who are granted deferred action will, in fact, have authorized presence in the United States and under Arizona law people who have authorized presence are eligible to apply for Arizona state identification. She is perpetuating the myth that deferred action applicants are somehow submitting fraudulent documents and that is completely false. Not only is she singling out young people who are eligible for deferred action, but she also is excluding other categories of non-citizens who are authorized to be in the country, including victims of domestic violence, from obtaining state-identification while their immigration applications are being processed.
So while Brewer’s argument of legal backing may sound convincing the reality is that it is murky at best and outright wrong at worst.
At the end of the day this probably means another lawsuit for the taxpayers of Arizona to pay for as our politicians play pretend law. Remind you of anything like say SB1070?