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Governor Hampers Immigrants Applying for Deferred Prosecution

Pete Souza, official White House photographer

Gov. Jan Brewer moved today to block those who take advantage of the Obama administration's deferred prosecution program for illegal immigrants from getting public benefits or even driver licenses.

Under the terms of the federal program, those who arrived in this country before age 16 and are not yet 30 can apply to stay without fear of being deported. More to the point, the federal Department of Homeland Security also will issue documents which allow them to work in this country legally. Gubernatorial press aide Matthew Benson said Brewer does not want those documents parlayed into being considered proof of legal presence.

"And, as DHS has told us repeatedly, these individuals who are granted deferred action do not have lawful status," Benson said. "And I believe that's what it says on their web site describing it as well."

Benson acknowledged that the governor's position essentially means that those who are eligible -- potentially 80,000 in Arizona -- will be able to work here. They just won't be able to drive to their jobs.

"This problem was created not by the governor," Benson said. "This problem was created by the president's action to allow these individuals to remain in this country indefinitely and to be provided work permits while they're here."

Aside from the age requirements, those seeking deferred prosecution will have to be enrolled in school, a high school graduate or honorably discharged from the military. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.

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