State Capitol News
10:29 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Challengers of License Denial Trying to Prove Actions are Illegal

Challengers to the state’s denial of driver’s licenses to “dreamers” want internal documents and testimony — perhaps even from Gov. Jan Brewer herself — in their legal bid to prove her actions are illegal. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

Gov. Jan Brewer
Credit Politico

The Obama administration policy known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals allows those who arrived in this country illegally as children to remain in the country and work. But the governor, in an executive order, said she does not believe their presence in the country is authorized by federal law, a state requirement to get a driver’s license. Earlier this year a federal judge pointed out Arizona was issuing licenses to those in other deferred action programs. So the state altered the policy in a way to protect the decision to deny licenses to DACA recipients. Attorney Victor Viramontes from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund said he believes e-mails and memos will show Brewer and her administration were acting in a discriminatory fashion.

“Under the equal protection analysis, your motivation is one of the key factors that you have to evaluate to figure out if they’re discriminating,” Viramontes said. “By denying us this discovery, they’re keeping us from proving our case.”

And Viramontes may seek to question Brewer herself.

“That’s one of the things we are considering pursuing,” he said.

Brewer’s legal team contends the documents and testimony of the governor and her administration are off limits, protected by laws that shield attorney-client communications and the deliberative process.