Judge will rule on governor's executive order
Attorneys for Gov. Jan Brewer's office and young adults who qualify for federal work permits under President Obama's "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" (DACA) program – often referred to as "Dreamers" because they would fall under the "DREAM Act" if it ever passes – squared off in federal court on Friday. At issue: Brewer's executive order denying Arizona driver's license to "Dreamers".
Arizona law currently allows for the issuance of driver's licenses to illegal immigrants who have been issued federal work permits and deportation deferrals, because those conditions make them "lawfully present" in the U.S.
However, Brewer says that as far as she's concerned, "Dreamers" are not legally present in the U.S.
Attorneys for the ACLU and the National Immigration Law Center argued to a federal judge in Phoenix that there is no difference between the immigration status of Dreamers and the immigrants who have been granted Arizona driver's licenses.
Federal judge David Campbell asked attorneys for Brewer what the difference is. The governor's attorneys responded that it's a matter of interpretation – Brewer does not consider Dreamers to be in the U.S. legally because their legal status was granted by the Department of Homeland Security, not by Congress. They added that states have the authority to decide which of their residents are eligible for a driver's license, and which are not.
Judge Campbell said he will issue a written ruling in the next few weeks.
PHOTO: "Dreamers" address reporters outside the federal courthouse in downtown Phoenix after Friday's hearing.