Lawsuit challenges Ariz. immigration order

Nov. 29, 2012 at 4:59 PM

PHOENIX, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- An order denying Arizona driver's licenses to illegal immigrants who qualify for federal deferred action is unconstitutional, a lawsuit filed Thursday said.

The suit was filed on behalf of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition by a number of civil liberties and immigrant advocate groups, The Arizona Republic reported. The coalition, led by young immigrants, supports President Obama's program to allow illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States by their parents and meet some other criteria to remain, at least temporarily.

Gov. Jan Brewer signed an order denying any state benefits, including driver's licenses, to those with deferred action documents. In the past, the state has granted licenses and identification cards to illegal immigrants.

In court papers, the plaintiffs said the governor's action violates the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution and the 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection under the law.

Gerald Burns, an immigration lawyer in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler, said Brewer is taking a hard line on immigration while many in the Republican Party are taking a new look at the issue. He said the state "changed the rules in the middle of the game."

About 1.7 million people are believed to be eligible for deferred action, including 80,000 in Arizona.

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