Arizona governor orders state agencies to bar benefits to ‘Deferred Action’ recipientsTop Highlights, Breaking News Thursday, August 16th, 2012
PHOENIX – As long lines formed at help centers and lawyers’ offices across America, Wednesday with thousands of young, undocumented immigrants applying for relief from deportation, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer issued an executive order directing state agencies to deny benefits – including driver’s licenses – to “Deferred Action” recipients.
The Deferred Action program is one of the biggest immigration policy changes in years as an executive order by President Barack Obama allows those who entered the country illegally as children to remain and work without fear of deportation for at least two years.
Gov. Brewer’s order states, “The issuance of Deferred Action or Deferred Action USCIS employment authorization documents to unlawfully present aliens does not confer upon them any lawful or authorized status and does not entitle them to any additional public benefit.”
It says granting public benefits to deferred action recipients would have “significant and lasting impacts” on Arizona’s budget, healthcare system and other taxpayer-funded benefits.
Brewer’s order drew immediate criticism from supporters of immigration reform and the DREAM Act, which would offer temporary legal status to young illegal immigrants who have graduated high school and want to attend college or join the military. Eventually, they could obtain permanent residency or citizenship.
“Gov. Brewer is directly attacking children and immigrant youth, who with no fault of their own, were brought to the United States,” said the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition.
The group organized a march to the State Capitol on Wednesday, carrying a large banner reading “DREAM Act Now.”
When he signed the deferred action order, Obama said the changes would make immigration policy “more fair, more efficient and more just.”
Evelyn Cruz, an Arizona State University clinical law professor and director of the Immigration Law & Policy Clinic, said she expects a legal challenge because Brewer’s order might conflict with federal statutes.
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