Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge recently joined with 13 other states to file an amicus brief in support of the petition for writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Arizona’s right to deny driver’s licenses to undocumented illegal aliens.
The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit will force Arizona to issue driver’s licenses to people granted federal work permits through the Obama administration’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program. In February, six dissenting judges on the full 9th Circuit wrote that the court’s decision against Arizona’s driver’s license policy creates “a world where the president really can pre-empt state laws with the stroke of a pen.”
“DACA is no more lawful now than when the Obama administration announced it in 2012,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Congress has not amended immigration law to include DACA, yet the 9th Circuit, in its effort to legislate what it wants Congress to do, is forcing the State of Arizona to issue driver’s licenses to unlawful aliens. If the 9th Circuit’s decision is allowed to stand, then it appears any president can pre-empt any state law through an executive order.”
Arkansas joined a coalition in December 2014, at the request of then Attorney General-elect Rutledge, challenging the previous administration’s unilateral action on immigration, which the president claimed numerous times he did not have the authority to do. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an injunction blocking the executive order in November 2015.
The Arizona Attorney General’s Office filed briefs last March asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the 9th Circuit’s rulings on DACA. In 2014, the court refused to intervene in the case.
Led by the State of Texas, Arkansas is joined on the brief by attorneys general from Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia, as well as Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant.