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PHOENIX -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a last-minute bid by Gov. Jan Brewer to keep thousands of dreamers living in Arizona from getting licenses to drive.
Time is running out for Arizona to keep licenses out of the hands of dreamers.
With barely a month left in office, Gov. Jan Brewer is making a last-ditch effort to keep driver's licenses out of the hands of dreamers.
PHOENIX -- Arizona gained 24,700 private-sector jobs last month, enough to push the state's seasonally adjusted jobless rate down a tenth of a point, to 6.8 percent.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Turkey production is at its lowest level in nearly three decades and wholesale prices are at an all-time high, but Thanksgiving cooks probably won't see much difference in the price they pay at the stores for their frozen birds.
A federal judge has voided one of the last remaining sections of the controversial package of anti-immigration laws approved by Arizona lawmakers in 2010.
The Loop 101 Price Freeway might be getting just a little bit wider — but don’t expect to see construction crews any time soon.
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.
Airline delays and cancellations are up slightly from last year's peak travel season.
PHOENIX -- Arizona's policy of denying thousands of Arizonans in a deferred-action program access to drivers licenses is contrary to federal law, the Obama administration said Tuesday.
In a court filing, attorneys for the Department of Justice told federal appellate judges that Arizona has no legal right to decide that some people the federal government allows to remain in this country are "authorized'' to be here and that others are not. The lawyers said that as far as the federal government is concerned, all are equal under the law -- and all are entitled to the same rights and privileges, including licenses.
"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 for the administration.
She said Arizona has shown no "substantial state purpose'' in crafting rules to decide that some people not in this country legally are entitled to licenses and some are not. And that, said Powell, means Brewer's edict is "pre-empted by federal law.''
Tuesday's legal brief, made in a lawsuit filed by immigrant-rights groups on behalf of "dreamers,'' does not end the matter. It remains up to the full 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which had asked the Department of Justice for its views, to decide whether Arizona must start issuing licenses to those allowed to remain in this country under the administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. But it puts the federal government on record as telling the court to void the 2012 executive order issued by Gov. Jan Brewer directing the state Department of Transportation not to give licenses to DACA recipients.
Tuesday's filing drew an angry reaction from Andrew Wilder, the governor's spokesman. "Rather than secure U.S. borders or enforce existing federal immigration laws, the Obama administration continues to afford preference and privileges to people who enter our country illegally and whose presence is unauthorized,'' he said in a prepared statement. And Wilder said the fact that Obama has agreed on his own to let certain people not here legally remain and yet challenge Arizona's authority to deny them licenses "demonstrates how unhinged and lawless this liberal administration has become.
Wilder also said Arizona is not going to change its policy without a fight.
"States, not the Obama administration, have the right to determine who is issued a driver's license,'' he said.
Powell, in her legal brief, does not disagree with that basic premise.
She admitted that states can have laws which make access to a license contingent on how the federal government classifies someone's presence in the country. And Powell even said states have "significant discretion'' in deciding what documents are necessary to prove eligibility. But what Arizona is doing, Powell told the court, is manufacturing its own artificial classification "not supported by federal law.''
The DACA program is available to those brought to this country illegally as children but who had not yet turned 30 when the president announced it. They are allowed to stay and work for two years, permission which is renewable if they meet other conditions.
To date, more than 24,000 Arizona residents have applied for DACA status, with 21,000 already accepted into the program. But Brewer, in her 2012 edict, directed ADOT not to make licenses available to DACA recipients. She cites a 1996 state law that states licenses are available only to those whose presence in the country is "authorized by federal law.''
The governor takes the position that the DACA program confers no legality on those in it but simply says they will not be pursued or deported.
Powell points out that nothing in state law defines what it means for someone's presence to be "authorized.'' In fact, she told the court, there is not even a classification of "authorized presence'' under federal law.
Yet Powell said ADOT has decided on its own that the documents provided DACA recipients allowing them to remain, are not sufficient. But she said the state does accept similar documents given to other aliens, such as those who are applying for cancellation of being removed from the country.
"By drawing such distinctions, the state has impermissibly assumed for itself the federal prerogative of classifying noncitizens,'' Powell wrote. She said the state has not shown a legitimate reason for the distinction.
"It is not apparent why, if such documents are sufficient to establish that some bearers are currently authorized to be present in the United States, they are not adequate to make that showing for all bearers,'' Powell told the court. She suggested to the judges that the only reason for the distinction ordered by Brewer is her personal disagreement with the Obama administration about the entire DACA program.
"A state may disagree with the federal government's enactment or implementation of federal law -- as Arizona has made clear it does,'' Powell said in her filing. "But a state may not respond to that disagreement by conditioning eligibility for driver's licenses on its own notions of 'authorized presence' and distinguishing among holders of federal authorization documents for that purposes, at least not without a substantial state interest.''
Powell told the court that the state's claims do not rise to that level.
The lawsuit originated with a filing by civil rights organizations who challenged Brewer's order.
Last year U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell refused to order Brewer and ADOT to start issuing licenses to DACA recipients while the case makes its way through the courts. He said there was no evidence they were being irreparably harmed in the interim.
Earlier this year, though, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit said there is evidence of harm and directed Campbell to tell ADOT to issue licenses. But Campbell refused, noting Brewer is now seeking review by the full 9th Circuit.
But the full court said it first wanted the input of the Department of Justice on the administration's position on the legal arguments. Tuesday's filing gives that to them, along with Powell's argument on why they should not disturb the order of the three-judge panel and order the licenses issued while the case drags on, a process that could take years.
One issue for the full court, at least at this point, is that question of "irreparable harm'' to dreamers while the state is denying them licenses.
In writing earlier this year for the three-judge panel, Judge Harry Pregerson said the inability to legally drive makes it more difficult, if not impossible, for them to hold jobs -- a specific right they get being in the DACA program.
Pregerson, like Powell, said Brewer's decision may be based less on law and more on personal feelings. "Defendants' policy appears intended to express animus toward DACA recipients themselves, in part because of the federal government's policy toward them,'' he wrote. "Such animus, however, is not a legitimate state interest.''
“Linda Turley-Hansen’s column about musky teenagers kind of gives me the creeps. As to the content, if the NRA has their way, we will all have guns and the discussion will have to shift to ‘size matters!’ ”
Saying they waited too long to ask, attorneys for Gov. Jan Brewer told federal appellate judges they should reject a plea to force her to start issuing licenses right now to dreamers.
Attorneys for dreamers are asking a federal appeals court to make good on its ruling that their clients are entitled to driver's licenses while they challenge Jan Brewer's interpretation of Arizona law.
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Calling the state policy motivated by animosity, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday ordered that “dreamers” who the federal government allow to work in this country also be issued Arizona driver's licenses, at least for the time being.
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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.
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