On the same day that the Obama administration opened up its application process for the largest deportation relief in a generation, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer insisted on reminding the nation of her state’s hallmark: anti-immigrant hatred. In an executive order signed on Wednesday, Brewer stated that Arizona’s undocumented youth granted deportation relief will be barred from accessing any of the concomitant public benefits, namely an Arizona driver’s license or public ID.
“All state agencies that confer taxpayer-funded public benefits and state issued identification shall undergo emergency rule making to address this issue if necessary,” Brewer said in her order (PDF).
The news came as little surprise to Arizonans well used to Brewer’s brand of demagoguery. “Once again, Gov. Jan Brewer has stood on the wrong side of history by implementing anti-immigrant policies and directly contradicting federal mandates related to immigration,” Puente, a Phoenix-based human rights organization, said in a statement. “Brewer has once again put Arizona’s name on the map as the epicenter of anti-immigrant racism and hate.”
Under the Obama administration’s program, undocumented immigrants who came to the country as youth and clear a host of hurdles, including a background check and minimum education requirements, will be granted a two-year protection from deportation, including the right to apply for a two-year work permit that may be renewed for another two years. It’s yet unknown how many will take part in the program—youth must come forward in order to be granted relief—yet experts estimate some 1.4 million youth may be eligible for the program.