Supreme Court blocks Arizona from denying driver’s licenses to immigrants
The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked the state of Arizona from enforcing a policy that denies driver’s licenses to young immigrants granted legal status by President Barack Obama in 2012.
The court denied the request made by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to place a hold on a ruling issued by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which said there was no legal basis for the policy. The state will now have to let roughly 20,000 eligible immigrants apply for driver’s licenses.
The brief court order noted that three conservative members among the nine justices – Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito – would have granted the state’s request.
The affected residents were granted legal status by the federal government under a 2012 program that critics called amnesty. A similar program announced by President Barack Obama last month would grant legal status to 4.4 million immigrants.
Brewer, a Republican who is about to leave office, and fellow GOP governors have said they will contest that program in court.
The state’s policy was aimed at counteracting a federal program launched by Obama in August 2012 called “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” or DACA.
To be eligible for DACA, immigrants must have come to the United States before the age of 16 and had to be below 31 as of June 15, 2012. Recipients must also be enrolled in school, or have graduated from high school or obtained a high school equivalency diploma, and have no serious criminal offenses on their records.
(Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Jeffrey Benkoe)