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Another Win on Driver's Licenses For Arizona Youth with Deportation Deferrals

by Suzanne Gamboa /
Joshua Montano, left, and Deborah Robles protest in front of the Capitol the day after Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, in an executive order reaffirming Arizona state law denying young illegal immigrants driver's licenses and other public benefits on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012, in Phoenix. Brewer's order issued Wednesday says she's reaffirming the intent of current Arizona law denying taxpayer-funded public benefits and state identification to illegal immigrants. Young illegal immigrants could start applying Wednesday with the federal government for work permits under the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The program defers deportations for young illegal immigrants if they meet certain criteria. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Ross D. Franklin / AP

While the country considers presidential candidates who want to deport immigrants, a U.S. appeals court has affirmed a decision that allows those in Arizona to have driver's licenses.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that young immigrants protected from deportation through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program suffered irreparable harm from an Arizona policy prohibiting them from getting driver's licenses.

The decision came in the appeal of a lawsuit in 2012 filed by a coalition of civil liberties and civil rights groups. It is one of a series of victories against a ban on driver's licenses for the DACA youth that had been ordered by former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. Young people who have qualified for DACA are allowed to remain in the U.S. without threat of deportation and with permission to work.

Some 700,000 young immigrants live in the U.S. with DACA status, under the program authorized by President Barack Obama in 2012.

Obama has tried to expand the numbers who could apply through executive action but opponents have thwarted that effort in a court battle that has risen to the U.S. Supreme Court. Open arguments in the case regarding the expanded DACA and another program that would give similar status to parents of U.S. citizen and legal resident children is scheduled in the high court next Tuesday.

"It is past time to end the attempts to make immigrants' lives unbearable and the resulting damage to Arizona's reputation and economy," said Dan Pochoda, American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona senior counsel.

GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has said Dreamers, a name used for young immigrants without legal status, disadvantage American youth and has proposed deporting all 11 million people living in the U.S. without legal permission and allowing "the good ones" to return.

Ted Cruz has said he would repeal all unconstitutional executive action taken by the president and he regards his action on DACA and DAPA to be unconstitutional. He backs what he calls "attrition through enforcement" which means using enforcement to get immigrants to leave. Many equate that idea with the "self-deportation" plan that Mitt Romney advocated when he ran for president.

This story includes material from The Associated Press.

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