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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

Why is Arizona Denying Drivers Licenses to Battered Women?

Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.
I received an interesting news alert from the Arizona ACLU this afternoon that I thought I'd share with you. It really shows how mean-spirited the politics in Arizona have gotten.

A coalition of immigrant and civil rights organizations today criticized a new Arizona Motor Vehicle Division policy ending the practice of issuing drivers’ licenses to certain immigrants who receive federal authorization to live and work in the United States.

“In her zealousness, Governor Brewer has made a policy change that isn’t just anti-immigrant, it’s also anti-woman,” said Karen Tumlin, managing attorney of the National Immigration Law Center. “Now, survivors of domestic violence who are in the process of adjusting their status will be unable to obtain the licenses they need. This sort of policy change only demonstrates that Arizona’s politicians care more about scoring political points than about ensuring the safety of their residents.”

The state announced today that it will end its well-established practice of issuing licenses to all immigrants granted “deferred action” by the federal government,which allows them to remain in the country for a certain period without the threat of deportation, and makes them eligible for work permits and Social Security Numbers. Over the past eight years, the state of Arizona has issued licenses and ID cards nearly 40,000 times to noncitizens with work permits, according to news reports. In August of 2012, the Governor issued an order specifically denying licenses to young immigrants known as DREAMers ,who are granted permission to live and work here under one federal deferred action program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Now, she is extending the policy to include other immigrants granted deferred action status.

“GovernorBrewer can try to put lipstick on this pig, but it’s still a pig,” said JennyChang Newell, staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “Arizona’s policy of denying licenses to DREAMers is still unconstitutional,even if the state has decided to apply it to yet more immigrants who havefederal permission to live and work here. Rather than excluding morehard-working immigrants, Arizona should join the rest of the country in findinglong-term solutions that will help them achieve the American dream.”
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The policychange comes on the heels of a federal district court decision in May in alawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the NationalImmigration Law Center, the Mexican American Legal and Educational Fund(MALDEF), and the ACLU of Arizona. The decision found that Governor Brewer’sAugust 2012 order denying DREAMers licenses was discriminatory. Among those who will now be denied licenses are immigrants who have beenpermitted by the federal government to remain in the country for humanitarianreasons, including certain survivors of domestic violence and victims of humantrafficking and sexual exploitation.>

"This is a vindictive policy change that is motivated by politics, and Brewer’s desire to get out from under a lawsuit," said Alessandra Soler, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona. “It only reflects her continuing animus toward DREAMers and her irrational desire to punish even more lawfully present immigrants, including abused women and children.”


Although in its May decision, the court declined to enjoin the policy affecting DREAMers, it concluded that the policy unfairly singled out these young immigrants, while allowing other similar groups of immigrants to obtain licenses, including all other immigrants granted deferred action and a work permit. Rather than ending the practice of excluding the young immigrants, Brewer decided to extend the ban to other immigrants who’ve been granted driver’s licenses for years.

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Comments

  1. Average Joe's Avatar
    Greg, I'm not sure if you are aware of the multiple "abuse" scams of so called "battered woman". I personally know a lot of men, who have been victims of this "abuse" scam, and not only when it relates to immigration. We need to stop looking at woman as victims and believe EVERYTHING they say. Many woman are evil in their nature and see the marriage to an American as their ticket to the United States only. Most of these immigrant woman get married without a true intend to have a family. You can easily find the instructions about how to "get rid of unwanted husband", and avoid being deported on many "postal brides" forums. Claiming "abuse" is one of their favorite techniques. As an immigration lawyer you must be well aware of that.
  2. Jack2's Avatar
    At least in this case they are making a constitutional argument. ACLU constantly takes a political, not legal, stand on immigration policy when it has absolutely nothing to do with their supposed mission. What "right" are they defending with their pro-amnesty/anti-enforcement campaigns? There is no right to reside in the U.S. When the ACLU acts like there is they come off as just another open border lobby group. When it's time to defend actual rights under the Constitution opponents can then dismiss them by saying that's just the ACLU playing politics again.
  3. George Chell's Avatar
    As usual more drivel from the writers.
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