The Republican Governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, has signed an order this week that bans undocumented immigrants from receiving local public or state benefits even if they qualify for temporary legal status. The signing of the order was in response to the new deportation rules released by the Obama administration on Wednesday. The order signed by Brewer also bans the undocumented immigrants from receiving a driver’s license in Arizona or an Arizona-issued ID card.
With the new federal program, close to 1.7 million people could meet qualifications for driver’s licenses, Social Security cards and work permits. Undocumented youth immigrants can be protected from deportation when their parents apply for ‘deferred action for child arrivals’ permits. Authorities in Arizona have said that 80,000 undocumented immigrants are eligible to apply for the new program.
The qualifications for the new program state that applicants have to have been under the age of 16 when they arrived; not older than 30 right now; have been living in the US since June 15, 2007 and have no felony convictions on their records. According to the Arizona order, Brewer wrote that the federal program “does not confer upon them any lawful or authorized status and does not entitle them to any additional public benefits.” Brewer also wrote that by signing the order she was affirming the intent of Arizona laws while also preventing “significant and lasting impacts on the Arizona budget, its health care system and additional public benefits that Arizona taxpayers fund.”
The director of Puente, based in Phoenix, described the order from the governor as a ‘mean-spirited attack.’
“Brewer has once again put Arizona’s name on the map as the epicenter of anti-immigrant racism and hate,” Garcia said in a prepared statement. “However, like we have continuously showed throughout her time as governor, the community will stand united against Brewer’s latest assault.”