Obama Administration Takes Arizona’s Dreamer License Ban to Court

Oct 1, 2014

Lawyers for the Obama administration told a federal appeals court Tuesday that the state’s policy of refusing to give driver’s licenses to dreamers is illegal. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

Credit Cheryl Evans/The Republic


Two years ago the federal government said people who came to this country illegally as children could remain and work. But, Gov. Jan Brewer told the state transportation department not to give them licenses to drive, saying Arizona law requires proof someone is authorized to be in this country. Assistant Attorney General Lindsey Powell pointed out Arizona does license some not here legally, people with the same kind of documents at those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. And, she told the court only the federal government gets to decide different categories of immigrants. The court filing drew an angry reaction from gubernatorial spokesman Andrew Wilder.

“The feds are arguing that President Obama’s policy decision to not enforce federal law is somehow itself law, thereby preempting state authority. And that only demonstrates how unhinged and lawless this liberal administration has become,” Wilder said.

In her filing, Powell suggested the only reason for Brewer ordering ADOT to distinguish between DACA recipients and others is that she disagrees with the Obama administration and the program. She said that’s Brewer’s right. But, she said that does not allow the state to impose its own rules on who is actually authorized to be here.