Posted 10:34 PM 8/15/2012 : Brewer reacts to Obama immigration policy with executive order
TUCSON - Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is making it clear; President Obama's new deportation policy will not help immigrants with state benefits like drivers licenses.
The Republican governor made an executive order stating, "aliens unlawfully present in the United States are not eligible for any state or local public benefit - as defined in both federal and Arizona law."
The governor wanted to emphasize, the President's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals only helps immigrants to an extent.
Brewer said she is just complying with the law, as her office was facing questions.
"I have to do what I've been sworn to do, and that's uphold the law," Brewer said, "and execute it as it is written. And that's what we're doing today."
In the executive order she also wrote, "Allowing more than 80,000 Deferred Action recipients improper access to state or local public benefits [...] will have significant and lasting impacts on the Arizona budget."
Many undocumented immigrants gathered at the Valenzuela Youth Center in South Tucson Wednesday. A group called Undocumented Youth in Action held a news conference and answered questions about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
Marcos Perez is a High School graduate who illegally came to the United States when he was 4 years old.
"The only real benefit I'm going to get from Deferred Action is to be able to work legally," Perez said. "This is a very small step to the whole dream."
Most undocumented aliens already do not receive state benefits like drivers licenses, according to Perez.
"I have had friends that have even been pulled over, and they got fined and stuff like that, but it's just a risk that you're willing to take," Perez said. "It's a thing that you get forced into, because I, myself, never wanted to work illegally. I never wanted to drive illegally."
Brewer's order refers to "aliens unlawfully present in the United States."
Siovhan Sheridan is an immigration attorney who thinks the word "unlawfully" does not apply to Deferred Action recipients.
"It is lawful. Even though, technically, you don't have a visa," Sheridan said. "It's not leading to a visa. It's not leading to permanent residency, however it is a status that is recognized and rewarded by Immigration."
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