The U.S. Supreme Court last week denied Certiorari to the state of Arizona in the case called Arizona Dream Act Coalition v. Brewer, which essentially paved the way for DACA recipients, or “Dreamers” to lawfully obtain driver’s licenses in Arizona.
This is a benefit that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (the court just below the Supreme Court) had said that the state of Arizona unconstitutionally deprived dreamers of through a state policy that barred them from obtaining driver’s licenses.
The Ninth Circuit pointed out that it appeared that Arizona specifically didn’t like the President’s decision to create DACA, so the state was punishing its recipients by not allowing them to have driver’s licenses. The Court said that the problem with that decision is it made no sense from a public policy standpoint and discriminated against Dreamers, while giving driver’s licenses to other immigrants who were not citizens or lawful permanent residents.
This decision illustrates the problem with President Obama taking unilateral executive action on immigration, rather than working with Congress to pass immigration reform.
His executive actions have created a class of people outside of the law, and the states and the federal government are having trouble trying to figure out how to treat them under the existing law. Are they legal, are they illegal, do they have immigration status or not? This is exactly the problem when you don’t follow the law and make it up as you go like the President does.
Treating Dreamers the same as everyone else is exactly the correct decision, but they deserve more than that.
The president’s executive orders created DACA for the “Dreamers”, but this is a status that puts them in limbo and creates an underclass of people. Because the President has gone outside the normal laws and created this huge class of people granted deferred action, he has created confusion in both the state and federal governments about how to treat these individuals as it relates to driver’s licenses, public benefits, and lawful status.
The Arizona law that said DACA recipients could not have driver’s licenses was declared discriminatory and unconstitutional because it singled out DACA beneficiaries for different treatment. Under Arizona law, many other people who have no lawful immigration status, just like DACA beneficiaries, are allowed to obtain driver’s licenses. The courts have said that Arizona cannot single our DACA recipients and ban them from getting licenses when it allows other non-citizens and non-green card holders to have licenses.
Even the federal courts were having trouble trying to figure out where the “Dreamers” fit under the law, because they really don’t.
Everyone believe the “Dreamers” should be given the opportunity to have some form of REAL immigration status The President needs to show some leadership and work with Congress to make this happen.