Agence France-Presse

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signs executive order denying young immigrants public benefits

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in Glendale, Ariz., on Feb. 28, 2012.


Jonathan Gibby

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer issued an executive order on Wednesday, barring illegal immigrants who qualify for temporary legal status in the United States from receiving state or local public benefits.

Brewer's latest move came as thousands of young illegal immigrants around the country lined up to apply for work permits under the new deferred enforcement program announced by President Barack Obama in June. The law went into effect yesterday, and allowed at least 1.2 million young undocumented immigrants to apply for a temporary stay of deportation and a work permit.

But Brewer isn't having any of the new law. According to NPR, Brewer ordered state workers not to issue Arizona drivers licenses or any other public services, citing an Arizona state law which bars illegal immigrants from getting state services.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, under existing law, immigrants in Arizona can only get state identification if they show they are lawfully present in the country, but Brewer insists that the new law doesn't show lawful status and doesn't allow the young to get ids or benefits, which would have "significant and lasting impacts on the Arizona budget, its health care system, and additional public benefits that Arizona taxpayers fund."

In 2010, Arizona passed a tough immigration bill to try and drive undocumented immigrants out of the state. In June, the US Supreme court upheld the most controversial measure of Arizona's immigration law, while striking down three of the four challenged provisions.

It's important to note that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has said under Obama's new law, details like driver’s licenses or, whether or not applicants will qualify for in-state tuition at schools is up to each state.

So for now, while recipients will be able to work legally in Arizona, they won’t be able to drive there. 

[View the story "Jan Brewer signs executive order " on Storify]

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