Today was the first day that undocumented immigrants could apply for the deferred deportation program that President Obama announced in June—a DREAM Act lite in lieu of Congress's inability to pass a law even Republicans once supported.
Called "backdoor amnesty" by its opponents, and "the fair and right thing to do" by most sentient, caring human beings, the program allows individuals who were brought to America as youngsters to apply for work status, without threat of having their asses sent over the border to a place where they have no family, where they often don't know the language, where they have no history.
The program's applicants must prove they arrived here before age 16 and are currently younger than 31. They must also show they've been in the country at least five years, and are either in school, graduated from school, or served in the military. About 80,000 people are expected to qualify in Arizona.
So Governor Jan Brewer, no fan of Obama's deferred deportation program, felt it necessary to wag her scraggly finger in the President's face again, by issuing an Executive Order that denies successful applicants public benefits:
Republican Gov. Jan Brewer reiterated to state agencies today that they must deny driver's licenses and other public benefits to undocumented youth who can remain in the country without fear of deportation under a new federal program. Arizona RepublicThe benefits listed in the Governor's order include our wonderful KidsCare program (health insurance for children), unemployment benefits, drivers licenses and professional licenses, state childcare, eligibility to bid on government contracts, and unemployment benefits. Thing is, the law already bans undocumented immigrants from receiving these benefits; Brewer is simply reminding the new DREAMers how racist we've been and will continue to be.
Arizona Senator Steve Gallardo says Brewer's order is nothing more than political posturing. "She put out an executive order pretty much stating the status quo?" he tells New Times. "Thank you for telling us what we already know." New TimesImmigrants may have served the country in war, worked their butt off in school to succeed, or held a good job that benefits others, but they can't drive in Arizona or take advantage of the public programs they've no doubt paid into if anyone in their family has collected a paycheck.
"Allowing more than an estimated 80,000 deferred action recipients improper access to state or local benefits ... will have significant and lasting impacts on the Arizona budget, its health care system and additional public benefits that Arizona taxpayers fund,'' the order reads. East Valley TribuneCourt battles over immigration that cost millions don't factor into Brewer's budget calculations, but heaven forbid we spend money on people's health or education! So, continue to work in Arizona, boys and girls, just don't expect any of the public benefits that your taxes and your family's taxes are providing. And how attractive will you be to future employers, without a driver's license or child care?
Gubernatorial press aide Matthew Benson acknowledged the order could result in a situation where those now entitled to get jobs cannot get the driver's licenses they need to get there. But he said that is irrelevant.Sure, irrelevant. To quote Mitt Romney, that's not the language I'd use. Try mean-spirited, bigoted, bitter, vindictive, and just plain stupid. Can 2014 come soon enough?