'Dreamers' need driver's licenses

2014-07-12T18:30:00Z 'Dreamers' need driver's licenses Arizona Daily Star
July 12, 2014 6:30 pm

Gov. Jan Brewer says she is considering her response to a federal court ruling that requires Arizona to stop denying driver’s licenses to young adults who were brought into the country illegally as children but have been granted a temporary permit to stay and work.

The answer is clear: People, known as “dreamers” who qualify for the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program need driver’s licenses to get and hold a job. More than 87 percent of Arizona’s workers commute by car. It’s a practical necessity of employment.

From the day DACA went into effect in 2012 Brewer has put political show above practical problem solving and the economic well-being of Arizona.

Indeed, a frequent refrain in the conservative Republican lament about undocumented immigration is the assumption of unemployment and the inaccurate perception that people in the country illegally don’t pay taxes. The IRS grants taxpayer ID numbers without Social Security numbers. While it is not required, some undocumented immigrants do file with the IRS, and everyone pays sales tax.

A reasonable person would anticipate that Republicans would welcome a way for people to legally work and more easily pay taxes. But this deals with immigration, so common sense leaves the equation, a fact the three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals noted in its recent unanimous decision.

Brewer’s opposition to DACA is well-known, although ill-placed. The people who benefit under this 2-year-old federal program — a specific, limited group of young people brought into the United States as children — have long been punished for the actions of their parents. DACA gives them a chance to live, work and be productive members of the communities they already live in.

And, in the words of the words of Judge Harry Pregerson, who wrote the decision on behalf of the Ninth Circuit panel: “Defendants’ policy appears to be intended to express animus toward DACA recipients themselves, in part because of the federal government’s policy toward them.

“Such animus, however, is not a legitimate state interest,” he wrote.

Such animus is in no one’s interest. Brewer should cease her effort to make political points on the backs of children brought into the United States by their parents.

Brewer should forego any appeal and smooth the way for the dreamers who qualify for DACA to apply for and receive driver’s licenses.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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