Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) must be feeling neglected because she’s decided to start another fight with the White House.
On Wednesday Brewer issued an executive order barring undocumented immigrants who qualify for temporary legal status in the United States from receiving any state or local benefits. The immigrants impacted are those that qualify for the Obama administration’s deferred action plan–a new program that gives young undocumented immigrants under 31 who came to the country as children relief from deportation and a two-year work permit. To qualify, recipients must have been younger than 16 years old upon arrival; currently not older than 30; have lived in the country since June 15, 2007; and have no felony convictions.
As many as 1.7 million people could qualify for the temporary federal program, which enables those undocumented immigrants who qualify to apply for work permits, Social Security cards and driver’s licenses, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.
Applying for “deferred action for child arrivals” permits will shield some young undocumented immigrants from being ousted from the United States for at least two years. In Arizona, officials said an estimated 80,000 undocumented immigrants were eligible to apply.
According to Brewer, those deferred action recipients cant receive a driver’s license or any other unspecified “public benefit” in her state despite the federal order.
Carlos Garcia, director of the grassroots community group Puente in Phoenix, called the governor’s move a “mean-spirited attack” on a well-meaning program. “Brewer has once again put Arizona’s name on the map as the epicenter of anti-immigrant racism and hate,” Garcia said in a statement.
It’s unclear what, if any, force Brewer’s order has considering she’s trying to nullify a federal order, but it certainly sets up a battle over federal/state control on immigration issues. In addition to another opportunity to prove her anti-immigrant chops, Brewer is likely setting this up for legal challenge. The fight over DREAMers gives the right another chance to make their case that they are the party of xenophobes and nativists, because apparently there was still some dispute.
Photo from DonkeyHotey via flickr.