Home News Arizona sued over denying driver's licenses to illegal aliens

Arizona sued over denying driver's licenses to illegal aliens

September 14, 2016 at 6:47 am 7 News
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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A single mother battling cancer and a victim of domestic abuse are among the immigrants who qualify for Arizona driver’s licenses but have been illegally denied the chance to drive a car, a group of advocacy organizations said in a new federal lawsuit.

Denying licenses to some immigrants in the country illegally who have been granted deferred action, or protection from deportation, is unconstitutional, according to the claim filed Monday by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Immigration Law Center and the Ortega Law Firm.

Arizona is the only state that denies licenses to some immigrants who take part in years-old programs that allow them to work in the U.S. and avoid deportation for a variety of reasons, said Victor Viramontes, an attorney with the fund. That includes crime victims who cooperate with law enforcement, those who come to the U.S. for humanitarian reasons and survivors of terrorism, among others.

Daniel Scarpinato, a spokesman for Gov. Doug Ducey, said Tuesday that state lawyers were reviewing the lawsuit and that he could not immediately answer specific questions about the policy.

The suit comes less than two years after a federal judge forced the state to grant driver’s licenses to recipients of the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA — a program for young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children that protects them from deportation and allows them to work.

It followed a long legal battle that began when then-Gov. Jan Brewer issued a directive banning them from getting licenses. She said the decision grew out of liability concerns and the desire to reduce the risk of the licenses being used to improperly access public benefits.

Immigrants protected from deportation for reasons other than being childhood arrivals were then banned from getting licenses after a federal court ruled that the state’s policy on DACA recipients was unconstitutional in part because it excluded one group of immigrants while including another.

Five Arizona immigrants who have deferred action because they are victims of domestic abuse or are children of victims say the state must give them licenses because they have authorization to be in the country.

The lawsuit names one woman who has cancer and cannot always get to her treatment appointments because she does not have a license, but lawyers say thousands of immigrants are affected by the revised policy.

Another woman is awaiting approval of a special visa for victims of domestic violence and has received deferred action in the meantime. She says she can’t get a better job because she can’t get a license.

Viramontes said the state should have started allowing all deferred action recipients to get licenses following the federal court ruling instead of letting some get them but denying them to others.

“They should have stopped discriminating the minute this policy was declared unconstitutional, but they keep doing it,” Viramontes said.

© 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Arizona sued over denying driver's licenses to illegal aliens, 2.5 out of 10 based on 6 ratings

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7 Comments

  1. baitfish September 14, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Deport them. They can get a drivers license in mexico.

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    • drillbeast September 15, 2016 at 1:37 am

      Since they’re not going to be deported, Taxi, bus…… you get the idea

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      Rating: 4.0/5 (1 vote cast)
  2. snattlerake September 14, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    It’s not a Constitutional right. The Constitution does not give rights, God does.

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    • ltuser
      ltuser September 14, 2016 at 3:24 pm

      Plus last i looked Drivers licenses are NOT a federal law, so if AZ wishes as a state to DENY them to illegal invaders, that should be ON THEM TO DO SO.. Not the feds.

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  3. DVanduker September 14, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    How about a compromise? In many states, those under the legal drinking age get a driver’s license photo with a unique color background…making it easy for police (and bars) to see that the person is under-age for alcohol purchase or consumption. Why not similarly assign a different color ID card/driver’s license to those that are not US citizens…and another for those that are “undocumented residents?” It would make it easy polling places to see that an individual shouldn’t vote, and likewise make it easier for police to ascertain status and; coordinate with ICE when a felony arrest or conviction occurs. Frankly, I’d prefer that those “undocumented residents” were tested before climbing behind the wheel…or voting. I’d likewise strengthen laws prohibiting the production, sale, or use of false documents…and make the production, sale, or use of false documents immediately & mandatory deportable crimes.

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    • ltuser
      ltuser September 14, 2016 at 3:27 pm

      I would rather not. Every time we give them an inch, then they start demanding the mile and more..
      BETTER NOT let the camel get its nose under the tent in the first place.
      NOT A LEGAL RESIDENT OR US CITIZEN< NO DRIVERS LICENSE!

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)
  4. Huffworld September 14, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    Everyone needs to remember that obtaining a driver’s license is not a RIGHT. It is a privilege. If individuals are granted permission to reside in our country & wish to drive they should be tested in ENGLISH only and also be given the driving portion. If they then pass these requirements they should be required to obtain insurance and be provided with a license that expires in half the time as a legal citizen. There shouldn’t be just an automatic renewal they should have to be retest again (of course paying a price) each time it comes up. The woman who can’t get to her cancer treatments because she doesn’t have a license is probably to debilitated by the treatments to be driving anyway. Of course who is paying for those treatments. I’m sure it’s the good taxpaying citizens of this country and not any of her relatives.

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