PHOENIX — Immigrant rights advocates filed a lawsuit Thursday that seeks to overturn Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s order denying driver’s licenses for young immigrants who have gotten work permits and avoided deportation under a new Obama administration policy.
The lawsuit alleges the state has in effect classified young-adult immigrants as not having permission to be in the country and asks a federal judge to declare Brewer’s policy unconstitutional.
Alessandra Soler, director of the ACLU in Arizona, said Brewer is playing politics.
The Obama administration in June took administrative steps to shield as many as 800,000 immigrants from deportation. Applicants must have come to the United States before they turned 16, be younger than 30, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, be in school or have graduated from high school or GED program, or have served in the military.
The US Department of Homeland Security said in August that each state could determine whether to issue driver’s licenses or extend benefits such as in-state tuition to immigrants granted deferred status. Some states have announced that they will grant driving privileges to those eligible for the program. Others have vowed to deny them.