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ADOT revises deferred action policy to comply with state law

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Transportation has revised its rules to restrict issuing driver’s licenses to immigrants who were granted deferred action by the federal government, but the department said its new policy does not affect victims of crime — such as sex trafficking — and refugees.

“Arizona law prohibits ADOT from issuing a driver license to applicants who cannot establish that their presence is authorized under federal law,” ADOT said in a press release.

The department also said it has become aware that some people used certain types of Employment Authorization Cards to obtain an Arizona driver’s license in the past.

The revised policy does not allow for those forms of authorization cards to be used as primary identification in getting a driver’s license. The only type of authorization cards ADOT will now accept are those that were given to sex trafficking victims, domestic violence victims and refugees.

“Those immigrants must apply through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to obtain an Employment Authorization Card with a category code that is accepted,” the press release said.

ADOT said Arizonans with deferred action immigration documents are still not lawfully recognized as citizens, and that state law does not allow for them to be granted a license.

“Deferred action is simply the decision not to enforce immigrations laws. When an individual is granted relief under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, deferred action or deferred enforced departure, that individual remains subject to removal proceedings pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act. An individual granted one of these forms of relief therefore does not have authorized presence under federal law. The federal executive branch has simply decided not to enforce federal immigration law with respect to that individual and to defer the removal of that individual for a period of time.”

ADOT also said it could be subjected to lawsuits and could end up issuing licenses to ineligible applicants if it continued to accept all the forms of Employment Authorization Cards under its previous policy.

Click here to see which forms of identification ADOT accepts from an individual who wants to get or renew a driver’s license.

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