Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer can’t seem to stay out of the national spotlight when it comes to immigration issues.
This week, Brewer signed an executive order instructing state officials to deny driver’s licenses and other benefits to young undocumented immigrants who are granted temporary legal status under a new federal program know as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Under the program, some undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country illegally as children, and who meet certain requirements, can obtain temporary waivers from deportation and can get work permits. The federal government began accepting applications Wednesday; up to 1.7 million students and military veterans could qualify.
Brewer's spokesman told the Arizona Republic that President Obama “doesn’t have the authority to snap his fingers and grant lawful status or lawful presence to people here unlawfully. That’s not possible.”
And yet it seems that previous administration have taken similar steps and exercised discretion to temporarily stave off deportations of immigrants. For example, in 2007, President George W. Bush halted the deportation of Liberians, whose country was emerging from a civil war.