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State Denies Driver's Licenses To Some Victims Of Domestic Violence

Governor Jan Brewer opted yesterday to stop issuing driver's to some victims of domestic violence in a bid to prevent giving licenses to those in the President's Deferred Action Program. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports.

The program, formally known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, allows those brought here illegally as children to seek permission to stay and work. About 15,000 Arizonans have already qualified. But, Governor Brewer contends state law allows licenses only for those authorized to be in this country. And she said the deferral program is not authorization.

A federal judge refused to immediately order the governor to start issuing licenses. But, he noted Arizona has licensed those in other deferred action programs, suggesting that shows unconstitutional discrimination. So yesterday, the state decided to deny licenses to those in other deferred action programs, like women who are victims of domestic violence.

Attorney Karen Tumlin of the National Immigration Law Center blasted the move. She said, "the state of Arizona, in its myopic desire to discriminate against dreamers, against young immigrants, has also now targeted survivors of domestic violence."

And Jennifer Chang Newell of the ACLU said Governor Brewer is mistaken if she thinks the move will provide legal cover for the state's action. Newell said, "Governor Brewer can put as much lipstick on this pig as she wants to. But, at the end of the day, it's still a pig."

Gubernatorial press aide Andrew Wilder would not explain why the state had issued licenses until now to those in other deferred action programs.