Federal appeals court blocks Arizona immigrant driver's license policy

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Monday blocked [opinion, PDF] an Arizona policy barring certain immigrants from obtaining a driver's license. The decision reversed a ruling [opinion, PDF] by the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website], which had denied plaintiffs a preliminary injunction. The appeals court found that plaintiffs demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their equal protection claim and that they were likely to suffer irreparable harm if the ban was not enjoined. The lawsuit arose after Arizona's Department of Transportation announced [JURIST report] in September that the existing ban on driver's licenses for immigrants participating in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) [materials] would be extended to anyone whose deportation has been deferred. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer issued a press release following the court's decision:

Lawless decrees by the President demonstrate animus to Congress, states and the Constitution. It is outrageous, though not entirely surprising, that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has once again dealt a blow to Arizona's ability to enforce its laws. With today's decision, a three judge appellate panel, appointed by Presidents Carter, Clinton and Obama, disregarded judicial precedent and procedure. This continues us down a dangerous path in which the courts and the President - not Congress - make our nation's laws. The ruling is especially disturbing given the current influx of illegal aliens, a crisis President Obama created and escalated. I am analyzing options for appealing the misguided court decision. The American people are tired and disgusted by what is happening through our federal government today, but they can be assured Arizona will continue to fight for the rule of law.
It is unclear whether Brewer will appeal the decision.

In 2012 the American Civil Liberties Union filed [JURIST report] the class action lawsuit, seeking a preliminary injunction, on behalf of five DACA recipients challenging Brewer's executive order preventing immigrants in DACA from obtaining driver's license. The complaint alleges that Brewer's order violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution by interfering with federal immigration policy [texts, LII]. Earlier that year the Ninth Circuit denied [JURIST report] a request for a new injunction against a controversial provision of Arizona's immigration law requiring law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of persons they stop or arrest if there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the US illegally.

 

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