Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Arizona Driver's License Ruling Marks Immigration Victory for Obama

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Arizona Driver's License Ruling Marks Immigration Victory for Obama

Article excerpt

A federal judge's decision to permanently require Arizona to issue driver's licenses to immigrants who have been granted deferred action from deportation marks another significant victory for the Obama administration in its effort to exert executive power over immigration in the face of opposition by various state governments.

US District Judge David Campbell issued a permanent injunction Thursday blocking measures endorsed by Arizona officials that had been designed to prevent so-called Dreamers from obtaining state- issued driver's licenses.

Licenses have been issued under a preliminary injunction for the past month to participants in President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The new permanent injunction requires Arizona to grant driver's licenses to any would-be immigrant who has been issued employment authorization by the federal government.

The ruling means that as many as 80,000 Dreamers in Arizona can receive licenses that will allow them to drive to and from work and lead more comfortable and normal lives despite their unsettled immigration status.

In 2012, the Obama administration announced that it would defer deportation for a category of young US residents who entered the US illegally with their parents. In November, President Obama announced that he was expanding the deferred action program to include up to five million of the estimated 11 million residents believed to be in the US without legal authorization.

Some 25 states are suing the Obama administration in federal court in Texas, arguing that the president's unilateral action violates the separation of powers and exceeds other constitutional checks on executive authority.

The judge in that case held a hearing last week and is expected to rule soon on a requested injunction to block the president's executive actions on immigration.

The Arizona driver's license case was brought by a coalition of immigrants, who complained that the ban on licenses violated the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection. …

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