Federal judge won't reconsider his refusal to order Gov. Brewer to issue driver's licenses to 'Dreamers' - The Explorer: News

Federal judge won't reconsider his refusal to order Gov. Brewer to issue driver's licenses to 'Dreamers'

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Posted: Friday, June 7, 2013 12:08 pm | Updated: 3:25 pm, Fri Jun 7, 2013.

PHOENIX -- A citation against a "dreamer'' for driving without a license is not enough to entitle that person and others to an order requiring the state to grant them the legal right to operate a motor vehicle in Arizona, a federal judge has ruled.

Judge David Campbell did not dispute claims by challengers of the state's policy that one of the plaintiffs -- the name was sealed -- not only was cited since the case was argued but also pleaded guilty and paid a fine. The attorneys for those in the new "deferred action'' program said that proves their contention that the state's policy of denying them a license is causing them irreparable harm.

More to the point, the lawyers said that proves the individuals are at risk of harm and entitles them to the immediate injunctive relief they sought.

But Campbell said the challengers are forgetting one key fact: They specifically got him to issue an order barring the state from inquiring into how the plaintiffs in the case were able to drive, obtain jobs and engage in other activities without valid Arizona driver's licenses.

"In exchange for this protection -- requested by plaintiffs -- the order precluded plaintiffs from arguing they are irreparably harmed by being forced to engage in illegal activities or by fear of prosecution for engaging in illegal activities,'' Campbell reminded them. And that, he said, makes any new evidence of what has happened to the dreamers since the original hearing -- and the risk of harm -- legally irrelevant.

While the ruling is a setback for challengers, it is not fatal.

Campbell still has to schedule a full-blown trial on the merits of the contention that the policy instituted by the state Department of Transportation last year at the behest of Gov. Jan Brewer is illegal. And the judge already has hinted he believes that it violates federal constitutional provisions guaranteeing equal protection under the law.

But unless and until he issues such a ruling, those in the program will remain unlicensed.

The program, formally known as "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,'' allows those who were brought here before age 18 and were not yet 30 when it was announced last year, to seek permission to remain in the country without fear of deportation. Those who meet the qualifications, including having no felonies or serious misdemeanors, also are issued EADs -- employee authorization documents -- giving them permission to work in the country during their stay.

Those in the program must reapply every two years.

Federal officials have estimated possibly 80,000 Arizonans are eligible.

The most recent figures from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services show nearly 17,600 have applied, with more than 12,200 already accepted into the program. That includes the give individuals in this case.

Last year ADOT ruled that those in the DACA program were ineligible for Arizona licenses because of a 1996 law requiring applicants to show their presence in this country is "authorized by federal law.'' Attorneys for the governor have argued that a decision by the Obama administration and his Department of Homeland Security not to deport certain people who are in this country illegally does not authorize them to be here.

Civil rights groups sued on behalf of the five who have DACA status, pointing out the state has, in fact, issued licenses to those in various others who have "deferred action'' status under other federal programs. That includes victims of domestic violence and those who are needed as witnesses for court cases in this country.

In a 40-page ruling last month, Campbell said challengers to the Arizona policy appear to have a point.

"Defendants have identified nothing ... to suggest that DACA recipients are somehow less authorized to be present in the United States than are other deferred action recipients,'' he wrote. "All deferred action recipients are permitted to remain in the country without removal for a temporary period of time and the EADs held by those recipients appear to be valid only for a temporary period.

But Campbell said he cannot issue a final ruling on that before a full-blown trial which has not yet been scheduled.

The judge said his only power at this point is to issue an injunction. But he said that requires proof of irreparable harm to those who are challenging the policy -- something the civil rights groups cannot allege that since they agreed ahead of time not to argue that their clients have been harmed, a tradeoff for not allowing attorneys for the state to ask how they are getting to school and work.

Linton Joaquin, attorney for the National Immigration Law Center, said Friday that no decision has been made whether to appeal the denial of the injunction or instead focus on preparing for the trial on the merits of the case.

"We're exploring our options,'' he said. But Joaquin said he believes Campbell's decision about the question of harm was "clearly wrong.''

ims by challengers of the state's policy that one of the plaintiffs -- the name was sealed -- not only was cited since the case was argued but also pleaded guilty and paid a fine. The attorneys for those in the new "deferred action'' program said that proves their contention that the state's policy of denying them a license is causing them irreparable harm.

More to the point, the lawyers said that proves the individuals are at risk of harm and entitles them to the immediate injunctive relief they sought.

But Campbell said the challengers are forgetting one key fact: They specifically got him to issue an order barring the state from inquiring into how the plaintiffs in the case were able to drive, obtain jobs and engage in other activities without valid Arizona driver's licenses.

"In exchange for this protection -- requested by plaintiffs -- the order precluded plaintiffs from arguing they are irreparably harmed by being forced to engage in illegal activities or by fear of prosecution for engaging in illegal activities,'' Campbell reminded them. And that, he said, makes any new evidence of what has happened to the dreamers since the original hearing -- and the risk of harm -- legally irrelevant.

While the ruling is a setback for challengers, it is not fatal.

Campbell still has to schedule a full-blown trial on the merits of the contention that the policy instituted by the state Department of Transportation last year at the behest of Gov. Jan Brewer is illegal. And the judge already has hinted he believes that it violates federal constitutional provisions guaranteeing equal protection under the law.

But unless and until he issues such a ruling, those in the program will remain unlicensed.

The program, formally known as "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,'' allows those who were brought here before age 18 and were not yet 30 when it was announced last year, to seek permission to remain in the country without fear of deportation. Those who meet the qualifications, including having no felonies or serious misdemeanors, also are issued EADs -- employee authorization documents -- giving them permission to work in the country during their stay.

Those in the program must reapply every two years.

Federal officials have estimated possibly 80,000 Arizonans are eligible.

The most recent figures from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services show nearly 17,600 have applied, with more than 12,200 already accepted into the program. That includes the give individuals in this case.

Last year ADOT ruled that those in the DACA program were ineligible for Arizona licenses because of a 1996 law requiring applicants to show their presence in this country is "authorized by federal law.'' Attorneys for the governor have argued that a decision by the Obama administration and his Department of Homeland Security not to deport certain people who are in this country illegally does not authorize them to be here.

Civil rights groups sued on behalf of the five who have DACA status, pointing out the state has, in fact, issued licenses to those in various others who have "deferred action'' status under other federal programs. That includes victims of domestic violence and those who are needed as witnesses for court cases in this country.

In a 40-page ruling last month, Campbell said challengers to the Arizona policy appear to have a point.

"Defendants have identified nothing ... to suggest that DACA recipients are somehow less authorized to be present in the United States than are other deferred action recipients,'' he wrote. "All deferred action recipients are permitted to remain in the country without removal for a temporary period of time and the EADs held by those recipients appear to be valid only for a temporary period.

But Campbell said he cannot issue a final ruling on that before a full-blown trial which has not yet been scheduled.

The judge said his only power at this point is to issue an injunction. But he said that requires proof of irreparable harm to those who are challenging the policy -- something the civil rights groups cannot allege that since they agreed ahead of time not to argue that their clients have been harmed, a tradeoff for not allowing attorneys for the state to ask how they are getting to school and work.

Linton Joaquin, attorney for the National Immigration Law Center, said Friday that no decision has been made whether to appeal the denial of the injunction or instead focus on preparing for the trial on the merits of the case.

"We're exploring our options,'' he said. But Joaquin said he believes Campbell's decision about the question of harm was "clearly wrong.''

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Welcome to the discussion.

1 comment:

  • John Flanagan posted at 2:58 pm on Fri, Jun 7, 2013.

    John Flanagan Posts: 326

    Truth is stranger and more bizarre than fiction these days. Judges are a breed of their own, and it takes a lawyer to really screw up society.

     

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