Dreamers begin applying for driver’s licenses in Arizona

Sofia Lora, 21, was among the first group of Dreamers who walked through the doors of a Motor Vehicle Division office in Phoenix Monday morning to apply for a driver’s license. This came after a preliminary injunction issued last week by U.S. District Judge David Campbell barred the state from enforcing Gov. Jan Brewer’s order of denying driver’s licenses to undocumented youth benefiting from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Under the federal program, undocumented youth who came to the United States as children are able to stay in the country and apply for work permits. “I feel happy,” Lora said, describing how she felt to finally be able to apply for a driver’s license. “I’m no longer going to be scared to drive and get pulled over and have my car taken away. I’m now going to be able to drive comfortably.” SEE ALSO: Court orders Arizona to let Dreamers get driver’s licenses Lora has been in the country since she was 10 years old. She is now 21 years old and recalled feeling frustrated when she turned 16 and couldn’t apply for a driver’s license like her peers. But she said that as soon as she heard the news that Dreamers like her could begin applying for driver’s licenses in Arizona, she made it a point to be among the first to apply. Lora arrived to wait outside the MVD office in Phoenix at 7:30 a.m. By the time the office opened at 8 a.m., there were more than 100 people in line. Leslie Cortez, a 20-year-old Dreamer, also lined up to apply for a driver’s licenses early Monday morning. She said that for the past few years, she hasn’t been able to drive and has mostly relied on her mother for rides. “I’m feeling very excited right now,” Cortez said. “I’m going to feel much more secure on the road once I get my license.” Lora and Cortez are among the more than 22,000 Dreamers in Arizona who have been approved for DACA and are now eligible to apply for driver’s licenses in the state. The Arizona Department of Transportation said it is anticipating many Dreamers will apply for driver’s licenses over the next few weeks. The Arizona Dream Act Coalition plans to help Dreamers apply for driver’s licenses by hosting sessions to prepare them for the written test and driving exam. The group hosted its first session on Sunday. SEE ALSO: Obama administration challenges Arizona’s driver’s license ban The group is also among the lead plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit filed in 2012, challenging Brewer’s driver’s license ban. The lawsuit claims that Brewer was violating the Equal Protection Claus by barring DACA recipients from getting driver’s licenses while allowing another group of immigrants with federal work permits to get driver’s licenses. After two years of litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court last week cleared the way for Dreamers to get driver’s licenses. It did so by denying Brewer’s request for a delay that would’ve allowed her to continue prohitibing Dreamers from getting driver’s licenses while the governor prepares an appeal to the Supreme Court. “The right to determine who is issued a driver license is reserved for the states — not the federal government or an unelected judiciary,” Brewer said in a statement on Thursday, adding that she believes the state will “ultimately prevail” in it’s appeal to the Supreme Court. But Dan Pochoda, the legal director of the ACLU of Arizona and one of the attorneys involved in the lawsuit against Brewer’s driver’s license ban, said it is “very unlikely” that the Supreme Court will take the case. He showed up Monday morning at the Phoenix MVD office and said he felt “wonderful” to see so many Dreamers line up to apply for driver’s licenses. “It’s a terrific legal win,” Pochoda said. “But most importantly, on the human level, it’s just fabulous.” Nebraska is now the only state that still denies driver’s licenses to DACA recipients. SEE ALSO: California is ready to deliver driver’s licenses to undocumentedThe post Dreamers begin applying for driver’s licenses in Arizona appeared first on Voxxi.

Dozens of Dreamers lined up outside a Motor Vehicle Division office in Phoenix early Monday morning to apply for driver’s licenses. This came after a federal judge barred Arizona from enforcement Gov. Jan Brewer’s policy of denying licenses to Dreamers benefiting from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. (VOXXI/Griselda Nevarez)

Sofia Lora, 21, was among the first group of Dreamers who walked through the doors of a Motor Vehicle Division office in Phoenix Monday morning to apply for a driver’s license.

This came after a preliminary injunction issued last week by U.S. District Judge David Campbell barred the state from enforcing Gov. Jan Brewer’s order of denying driver’s licenses to undocumented youth benefiting from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Under the federal program, undocumented youth who came to the United States as children are able to stay in the country and apply for work permits.

“I feel happy,” Lora said, describing how she felt to finally be able to apply for a driver’s license. “I’m no longer going to be scared to drive and get pulled over and have my car taken away. I’m now going to be able to drive comfortably.”

SEE ALSO: Court orders Arizona to let Dreamers get driver’s licenses

Sofia Lora, 21, held her work permit and an application as she began the process of applying for a driver's licenses on Monday. (VOXXI/Griselda Nevarez)
Sofia Lora, 21, held her work permit and an application as she began the process of applying for a driver’s licenses on Monday. (VOXXI/Griselda Nevarez)

Lora has been in the country since she was 10 years old. She is now 21 years old and recalled feeling frustrated when she turned 16 and couldn’t apply for a driver’s license like her peers.

But she said that as soon as she heard the news that Dreamers like her could begin applying for driver’s licenses in Arizona, she made it a point to be among the first to apply.

Lora arrived to wait outside the MVD office in Phoenix at 7:30 a.m. By the time the office opened at 8 a.m., there were more than 100 people in line.

Leslie Cortez, a 20-year-old Dreamer, also lined up to apply for a driver’s licenses early Monday morning. She said that for the past few years, she hasn’t been able to drive and has mostly relied on her mother for rides.

“I’m feeling very excited right now,” Cortez said. “I’m going to feel much more secure on the road once I get my license.”

By the time the MVD office in Phoenix opened its doors Monday morning, dozens of Dreamers had already lined up to apply for driver's licenses. (VOXXI/Griselda Nevarez
By the time the MVD office in Phoenix opened its doors Monday morning, dozens of Dreamers had already lined up to apply for driver’s licenses. (VOXXI/Griselda Nevarez

Lora and Cortez are among the more than 22,000 Dreamers in Arizona who have been approved for DACA and are now eligible to apply for driver’s licenses in the state. The Arizona Department of Transportation said it is anticipating many Dreamers will apply for driver’s licenses over the next few weeks.

The Arizona Dream Act Coalition plans to help Dreamers apply for driver’s licenses by hosting sessions to prepare them for the written test and driving exam. The group hosted its first session on Sunday.

SEE ALSO: Obama administration challenges Arizona’s driver’s license ban

The group is also among the lead plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit filed in 2012, challenging Brewer’s driver’s license ban. The lawsuit claims that Brewer was violating the Equal Protection Claus by barring DACA recipients from getting driver’s licenses while allowing another group of immigrants with federal work permits to get driver’s licenses.

After two years of litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court last week cleared the way for Dreamers to get driver’s licenses. It did so by denying Brewer’s request for a delay that would’ve allowed her to continue prohitibing Dreamers from getting driver’s licenses while the governor prepares an appeal to the Supreme Court.

The MVD office in Phoenix was packed with Dreamers trying to get their driver's licenses. (VOXXI/Griselda Nevarez)
The MVD office in Phoenix was packed with Dreamers who were trying to get their driver’s licenses Monday morning. (VOXXI/Griselda Nevarez)

“The right to determine who is issued a driver license is reserved for the states — not the federal government or an unelected judiciary,” Brewer said in a statement on Thursday, adding that she believes the state will “ultimately prevail” in it’s appeal to the Supreme Court.

But Dan Pochoda, the legal director of the ACLU of Arizona and one of the attorneys involved in the lawsuit against Brewer’s driver’s license ban, said it is “very unlikely” that the Supreme Court will take the case. He showed up Monday morning at the Phoenix MVD office and said he felt “wonderful” to see so many Dreamers line up to apply for driver’s licenses.

“It’s a terrific legal win,” Pochoda said. “But most importantly, on the human level, it’s just fabulous.”

Nebraska is now the only state that still denies driver’s licenses to DACA recipients.

SEE ALSO: California is ready to deliver driver’s licenses to undocumented

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