PHOENIX — Arizona cannot legally deny “dreamers” the right to drive, a federal appeals court ruled late Tuesday.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Arizona cannot decide for itself who is legally entitled to be in this country. The judges said that power rests solely with Congress. The policy of denying licenses to those in the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program ran afoul of the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the judges also said. That’s because the state was still issuing licenses to others in different deferred-action programs.
But the court did more than slap down the Arizona practice as illegal.
Judge Harry Pregerson, writing for the unanimous three-judge panel, said the 2012 policy instituted by then-Gov. Jan Brewer, was motivated to “a dogged animus” against dreamers.