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DACA Immigrants Eligible to Receive Driver’s License in Arizona

drivingA permanent injunction issued by a federal judge in Arizona now mandates that the state government must grant drivers licenses to immigrants who have been issued deferred action through the DACA program. This marks a significant victory for the Obama administration, which has been facing significant opposition from Republicans in the House of Representatives, as well as various other state governments across the country, over recent changes to immigration policy.

US District Court Judge David Campbell introduced the injunction last week, which will enable immigrants to receive state issued driver’s licenses in Arizona. Immigrants who are part of the President’s Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program are now eligible to seek employment under federal guidelines.

Naturally, the ruling has been well received by the immigrant population in the state. Arizona authorities can now grant licenses to more 80,000 participants of the DACA program. The permanent injunction has been designed to enable Dreamers, those who benefit from the program,  to drive their own vehicles to work. Even as their immigration status still remains unsettled, the ruling will help individuals to lead a more comfortable life in the United States.

The case was brought to federal court by a group of immigrants who contended that the denial of licenses was a violation of the American Constitution. In his 20 page ruling, Judge Campbell noted that that the State of Arizona had refused to grant licenses to Dreamers, even though similar licenses were provided to other immigrants with the same federal authorization documents.

Before issuing the injunction, Judge Campbell said, “The Court is not saying that the Constitution requires the State of Arizona to grant driver’s licenses to all noncitizens. But if the State chooses to confer licenses on some individuals who have been temporarily authorized to stay [in the US] by the federal government, it may not deny them to similarly situated individuals without a rational basis for the distinction.”

The DACA program was introduced by President Obama in 2012 to help a specific category of young undocumented immigrants in the US. With the newly expanded DACA guidelines announced in November last year, close to 5 out of the 11 million undocumented immigrants residing in the US are now eligible to qualify for deferred action.

While state officials have been trying to crack down on illegal immigration, the new ruling will allow for a more permissive approach on immigration policies. Government officials are currently contemplating whether to appeal the injunction made by Judge Campbell.

If you or someone you know would like legal counsel regarding this or any other immigration issue, please contact the immigration attorneys at Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas by visiting their website or calling their offices at 512-215-5225.