Court blocks Arizona’s driver’s license ban: What happens now?

Now that an appeals court has blocked Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s executive order denying driver’s licenses to undocumented youth who received work permits through an…
Court blocks Arizona’s driver’s license ban: What happens now?

Immigrant rights advocates and Dreamers joined at the office of the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition in Phoenix on Monday to celebrate an appeals court ruling that says Arizona cannot deny driver’s licenses to undocumented youth benefiting from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. (Photo by Alonso Parra)

Now that an appeals court has blocked Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s executive order denying driver’s licenses to undocumented youth who received work permits through an Obama administration federal program, many are wondering what’s going to happen next.

In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that Brewer’s policy barring recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program from getting driver’s licenses violated the Equal Protection Clause.

The panel also ruled that the policy was likely to cause DACA recipients irreparable harm, and, therefore, reversed a previous district court decision that denied the plaintiffs a request for preliminary injunction.

SEE ALSO: Court says Arizona cannot deny driver’s licenses to DACA recipients

Brewer said in a statement that her office is “analyzing options for appealing the misguided court decision.”

But Dan Pochoda, legal director of the ACLU of Arizona, told VOXXI he thinks it’s “very unlikely” that the appeals court will grant a request by Brewer’s attorneys to reconsider its decision. Instead, he said he expects DACA recipients in Arizona will be able to apply for driver’s licenses within a few weeks.

“It’s first going to take a little bit of paperwork to get the appeals court decision turned into what they call a mandate and then down to the district court,” explained Pochoda, who represented the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. “But I would certainly expect within 30 days the district court judge would have entered the preliminary injunction, which then prohibits the state of Arizona from denying driver’s licenses to the plaintiffs.”

He added that once the district court issues a preliminary injunction, the Arizona Department of Transportation would then have to begin allowing DACA recipients to get driver’s licenses.

Timothy Tait, an Arizona Department of Transportation spokesman, told The Arizona Republic that the agency is currently reviewing the appeals court ruling.

SEE ALSO: Deferred action rekindles debate over who should get driver’s licenses

Brewer first issued an executive order directing state agencies to deny driver’s licenses to DACA recipients on Aug. 15, 2012, the same day that the DACA program went into effect.

The Republican governor argued that because the DACA program didn’t grant undocumented youth a lawful status, Arizona wasn’t required to give DACA recipients any public benefits, including driver’s licenses. However, the state still gave driver’s licenses to other immigrants benefiting from other forms of deferred action.

Then in November 2012, five DACA recipients and the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition filed a lawsuit arguing that Brewer’s executive order discriminated against DACA recipients.