A lawsuit was filed against Arizona this week challenging its practice of denying driver’s licenses to beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Filed in federal court in Phoenix, the class-action suit challenges an executive order issued by Gov. Jan Brewer making DACA recipients ineligible for all public benefits. Although the suit is limited to Arizona’s policy, the outcome could affect DACA recipients’ ability to obtain driver’s licenses in other states as well.
The complaint argues that Arizona’s policy conflicts with—and is therefore “preempted” by—federal law, which authorizes immigrants granted deferred action to remain and work in the United States. The suit further asserts that Gov. Brewer’s executive order violates the Constitution itself, by arbitrarily denying driver’s licenses to DACA recipients but not to other immigrants with federally issued work permits. The suit alleges that rather than being based on a legitimate policy rationale—as is required under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment—“the singling out of DACA grantees appears to reflect disagreement with President Obama’s DACA policy.”