Now that an appeals court has blocked Arizona Gov. Jan Brewers executive order denying driver’s licenses to undocumented youth who received work permits through an Obama administration federal program, many are wondering whats going to happen next.
In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that Brewers policy barring recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program from getting drivers 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.
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 its very unlikely that the appeals court will grant a request by Brewers attorneys to reconsider its decision. Instead, he said he expects DACA recipients in Arizona will be able to apply for drivers licenses within a few weeks.
Its 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 drivers 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 drivers licenses.
Timothy Tait, an Arizona Department of Transportation spokesman, told The Arizona Republic that the agency is currently reviewing the appeals court ruling.
Brewer first issued an executive order directing state agencies to deny drivers 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 didnt grant undocumented youth a lawful status, Arizona wasnt required to give DACA recipients any public benefits, including drivers licenses. However, the state still gave drivers 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 Brewers executive order discriminated against DACA recipients.