Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer (R) issued an executive order on Wednesday containing a string of provisions designed to thwart President Barack Obama’s new immigration reforms (.pdf), which were announced in May, including the right of children of undocumented immigrants to receive work permits and pay taxes, as well as to receive protection from deportation. Talking Points Memo reports, however, that Arizona Democratic Senate Leader David Shapira said that Brewer’s new measures are redundant in light of laws already on the books in that state.
“It doesn’t seem to really do anything,” he said, “I see it as her once again trying to grandstand on the issue of immigration.”
Brewer’s executive order (.pdf) would block all government benefits, including driver’s licenses to the young people who can obtain work permits and protection from deportation under the federal program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Deferred Action would allow the children of immigrants who were brought to this country outside of legal immigration channels to obtain the ability to work and pay taxes legally in the U.S., adding tens of thousands of new taxpayers to the system in Arizona alone, and possibly more than a million nationwide.
According to Schapira, Arizona already has strict laws banning undocumented immigrants from obtaining driver’s licenses or other state-issued ID cards, or from having access to any other taxpayer-funded public benefits. Those laws would already override the Deferred Action program’s stipulations. Even Brewer admitted as much at a press conference, saying that her order doesn’t change anything.
“It actually is no different than what was already in place,” she said.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)’s state director for Arizona, Alessandra Soler, pointed to this as evidence that Brewer doesn’t actually understand the law.
“This is yet another reason why Arizona has no business trying to regulate immigration matters,” Soler said in a written statement.
Brewer has butted heads with President Obama and the federal government before on immigration matters. She was the governor who signed into law SB 1070, the state law known as the “Papers, please” law, many statutes of which have been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Immigration attorneys and activists have said that they will be studying Brewer’s ruling in the coming days to determine what, if any, impediments it will present to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Thousands of young people all over the country have reportedly lined up to become part of the program, which goes into effect this month.
You can read Brewer’s executive order, embedded via Scribd, below:
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 5 million unique readers per month and serves more than 19 million pageviews.