State Capitol News
9:28 am
Fri January 11, 2013

State Lawmaker Wants to Amend Driver's License Law

A Phoenix lawmaker wants to spell out in statute that those in the president's deferred action program are entitled to state driver licenses.

The Obama administration announced last year it would not deport illegal immigrants who arrived here as children if they meet other conditions. And the government is providing permits allowing them to work legally in this country. But last year Gov. Jan Brewer said the state will not issue driver licenses to these people even though it has done so for others with federal work permits. Brewer cited a 1996 law which says only thoseĀ authorized by the federal government to be in this country can get a license. And she said a decision to not deport them is not authorization. The proposal by Rep. Catherine Miranda would amend that law.

"My bill just clarifies that these work permits are proof that the driver's license applicant, which is the dreamers, their presence is authorized under federal law," Miranda said. "So I'm just reminding our governor, reminding our Legislature of that rule."

But Brewer said that Miranda's legislation proves HER point: Arizona law as it now exists does not permit those in the deferred action program to be licensed.

"If people decide they want to change the law they can move forward and do that," she said. "I'm the governor. I took an oath to uphold the law. The law is that they are not entitled to driver's licenses."

Brewer would not say whether she would sign the measure if it reaches her desk.