An executive order from Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer might prevent young illegal immigrants from taking advantage of President Barack Obama’s orders to be more lenient.
Brewer issued the order on Wednesday, saying young undocumented immigrants are not entitled to any additional public benefits. The order bars young illegals immigrants from obtaining an Arizona driver’s license or state-issued identification card.
This is the latest in an ongoing dispute between the White House and Brewer over illegal immigration policy.
Through Obama’s executive order, applying for “deferred action for child arrivals” permits shields young undocumented immigrants from being deported from the U.S. for at least two years.
According to the Huffington Post, about 1.7 million people nationwide could qualify for the benefits, while Arizona estimates the President’s order would help at least 80,000.
Obama uses executive privilege to provide what some are calling amnesty for the younger undocumented immigrants after Congress failed to pass the Dream Act last session.
When Obama issued the order last month, he said it is to help what he calls victims in the ongoing debate. The President has said young illegal immigrants were brought here by parents and family members at young ages and had nothing to do with breaking the law at the time.
Brewer’s orders came on the first day Obama’s new program was set to go into effect.
Carlos Garcia, director of the community group Puente in Phoenix, told reporters Brewer’s orders are a "mean-spirited attack.”
"Brewer has once again put Arizona's name on the map as the epicenter of anti-immigrant racism and hate," Garcia said in a statement. "However, like we have continuously showed throughout her time as governor, the community will stand united against Brewer's latest assault."
This is yet another partisan issue facing candidates this election season. Democrats quickly came out against the order, while Republicans applauded Brewer for standing up to the federal government.
In the state’s Legislative District 11, Republican candidate for State Representative Adam Kwasman said illegal immigration is the most important issue this election season, and Brewer is moving in the right direction.
“The president used his executive authority to push something through that congress rejected,” said Kwasman. “This is dictatorial. (Brewer) is executing the laws of the State of Arizona. I love that Arizona is front and center in the battle of federalism.”
Kwasman's Democratic opponent David Joseph said Brewer's latest order is just another distraction from the state's major issues and the current legislature's failures in improving education and job growth in the state.
"I was disappointed in this action," Joseph said. "This is a narrowly-targeted program aimed at young people who were brought to this country before the age of 16. These young people have to be in high school, college or serving in the military. This is a compassionate initiative."
Jo Holt, a Democrat challenging incumbent Republican Sen. Al Melvin for the Senate seat in District 11 said she disagrees with Brewer.
“Gov. Brewer's executive order is pure politics,” Holt said. “This will result in yet another big bill for legal services paid for by the Arizona taxpayer.”
Melvin, like most Republicans, applauded Brewer.
"Illegal aliens cost Arizona up to $2 billion a year in costs related to education, medication and incarceration," he said.