Arizona expanded its ban on driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants Tuesday, including those granted relief from deportation, in a move immigrant rights advocates are calling a “vindictive” policy change.
The ban now includes those fleeing persecution and victims of abuse.
Arizona governor Jan Brewer argued that deferral of deportation does not grant illegal immigrants lawful status, and therefore they are not entitled to public benefits such as driver’s licenses.
“Her actions are insane and don’t align with Arizona’s or Americans’ views,” Dulce Matuz of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition said. “Instead of admitting she is wrong, she is has decided to expand the license ban and her discriminatory practices.”
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Brewer’s decision comes as other states, like California, are expanding options for illegal immigrants, like allowing them to obtain a driiver’s license regardless of status.
Additionally, under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, immigrants who came illegally to the United States as children will be permitted to apply for work permits and given legal status.
According to the National Immigration Law Center, Arizona is one of the few remaining states actively seeking to restrict the rights of illegal immigrants. Officials in at least 45 states have confirmed that those in the United States for deportation relief are permitted to receive or have already received driver’s licenses.