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Gov. Jan Brewer is asking a federal appeals court to rebuff efforts by the Obama administration to let “dreamers” drive here legally, saying the government is trying to void a valid state law with what amounts to little more than a federal policy.
PHOENIX -- Gov. Jan Brewer is asking a federal appeals court to rebuff efforts by the Obama administration to let "dreamers'' drive here legally, saying the government is trying to void a valid state law with what amounts to little more than a federal policy.
The governor, through her attorneys, is asking judges of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reject claims by the U.S. Department of Justice that Arizona has no legal right to deny licenses to those in the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Brewer is not challenging the right of the administration and the Department of Homeland Security to decide not to try to deport people who arrived in this country illegally as children and even giving them permits to work.
But she said the DACA program was not enacted by Congress and "does not have the force of law.'' And that means it cannot be used to preempt a 1996 Arizona law which says licenses are available only to those who can prove their presence in this country is "authorized under federal law.''
Brewer's filing is a last-ditch effort to get the full court to reconsider -- and overturn -- a decision earlier this year by a three-judge panel which found legal problems with the ban.
The judges ordered the state to start issuing licenses to the dreamers while the case makes its way through the legal system. But that order effectively remains on hold while the full appellate court considers whether to hear Brewer's appeal.
Hanging in the balance is the enforceability of Brewer's 2012 executive order regarding the DACA program. Based on that order, the state Department of Transportation concluded those in the program are not entitled to Arizona licenses.
Brewer argues the 1996 Arizona law allows licenses to be issued only to those "authorized'' to be in this country. More to the point, she contends the decision by the president and the Department of Homeland Security not to deport them does not make their presence "authorized,'' even if they are given work papers.
That argument did not convince the three-judge panel.
Judge Harry Pregerson noted the state has issued licenses to those who granted deferred action under other federal programs. He said that makes Brewer's policy to single out these individuals a violation of the Equal Rights clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Pregerson also said an injunction is appropriate because the policy can cause "irreparable harm'' to those affected. He said their inability to legally drive also makes it more difficult, if not impossible, for them to hold jobs -- a specific right they have in the DACA program.
When Brewer sought review by the full court, the Obama administration weighed in.
"Arizona may not substitute its judgment for the federal government's when it comes to establishing classifications of alien status,'' wrote Assistant Attorney General Lindsey Powell.
She said Arizona has shown no "substantial state purpose'' in crafting rules allowing some not legally in this country to have licenses while other are not. Powell said means Brewer's edict is "preempted by federal law.''
But Brewer, in her latest filing, said there's a flaw in that argument: DACA is only policy.
"The United States ignores the fact that no federal law is at issue here,'' wrote Douglas Northup, lead private attorney hired by Brewer to defend the license ban. Instead, he said, it is "an agency's policy memo, which was issued without notice and comment or subject to any formal rulemaking processes.''
And he said a mere agency policy cannot preempt the Arizona law.
Northup said statements by federal officials back up that contention.
For example, he cited a memo issued by Janet Napolitano when she was the Department of Homeland Security who said that DACA provides no substantive rights, immigration status or a path to citizenship.
"Only Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights,'' the memo states. "It remains for the executive branch, however, to set forth policy for the exercise of discretion within that framework,'' Napolitano continued. "I have done so here.''
Northup also is hanging his legal hat on the fact that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says DACA recipients are not "lawfully present'' in this country for purposes of participating in certain federal programs.
"The fact that there may be disagreement among federal government agencies about the import of the DACA memo underscores why one policy memo of one agency cannot preempt state action here,'' he wrote.
Northup acknowledged that the three-judge panel said the ADOT policy could result in DACA recipients being hampered in their legal ability to work.
But he said that was based on the court's assumption that a certain percentage of Arizona workers commute by car. Northup said that makes no sense, as it could mean that the Arizona policy might be legal in some other cities with a higher percentage of workers using mass transit.
Gov. Jan Brewer said it may be time to consider extending the state's civil rights laws to gays.
A state senator wants to use the National Guard and local sheriffs to stop buses with undocumented individuals from coming in to Arizona from other states.
Saying the busing is illegal, state Attorney General Tom Horne on Thursday threatened to sue federal officials for dropping off undocumented individuals in Tucson and Phoenix who were apprehended in Texas.
Claiming “systemic abuse” of children who arrive in this country alone, immigrant rights groups on Wednesday this morning the Department of Homeland Security conduct an immediate investigation.
The state's top environmental officials asked legislators Tuesday to repeal the restrictions they placed on his agency just four years ago prohibiting it from regulating “greenhouse gases.”
Hundreds of unaccompanied minors who entered the United States illegally through Texas are being shipped to Nogales, creating a problem there, an aide to Gov. Jan Brewer said Friday.
In 2008 the United States Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) appointed a committee of national experts to revise existing physical activity guidelines to include recommended amounts of physical activity for people of all ages (www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines). The guidelines for children recommended:
Honeybee pollination is responsible for successful crop production and annually generates $7 billion for Arizona agriculture, according to a University of Arizona study. One-third of America’s diet is the result of bee pollination and honey and one crop, California almonds, relies on honeybees for pollination, reports the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Economist Aruna Murthy had a few words about the state's projected job growth Thursday when she made her predictions.
More than 140,000 of the state's long-term unemployed could eventually find themselves without health insurance.
Citing everything from protecting women's health to God's opposition to the procedure, state senators gave final approval Wednesday to legislation allowing unannounced warrantless inspection of abortion clinics.
Arizona will not be able to enforce its new law limiting medication abortions, at least not for another six weeks.
Supporters of medical marijuana research have targeted a Republican state senator for recall because she is blocking a measure that could fund it. But the measure could be more public relations than actual political power.
An attorney for the state is asking a judge to rebuff a bid by abortion providers to prevent a new restriction on the procedure from taking effect as scheduled less than two weeks from now.
The state House voted Thursday to put a five-year lifetime cap on government-funded health – but not for everyone.
Planned Parenthood and a Tucson gynecologist are asking a federal judge to block new rules that will sharply restrict ability to perform abortions using drugs instead of surgery.
Insisting they will be protecting women's lives, the state House voted Tuesday to allow state health officials to make unannounced inspections at abortion clinics without first getting any sort of warrant.
Saying they're looking out for women's health, a House panel voted along party lines Thursday to allow unannounced inspections of abortion clinics despite a 1995 court ruling saying they're unconstitutional.
Arizona's ban on abortions at 20 weeks is dead.
Organizations working to help Arizona residents enroll in health insurance plans on the new federal exchange said this week a steady flow of people was signing up as the deadline loomed to get coverage that starts Jan. 1.
Arizona Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain fielded questions and comments — both positive and negative in nature — about the Affordable Care Act and addressed other issues at a town hall event in Mesa on Nov. 25.
The federal government released data Wednesday showing only about 750 Arizona residents have enrolled in the online health insurance marketplace that is a key part of President Barack Obama’s health care law.
A series of Veterans Day events meant to honor those who have served in the armed forces are scheduled to occur in Gilbert and Mesa between Nov. 7 and Nov. 9.