Brewer bars public benefits for illegal immigrants

As young undocumented immigrants on Wednesday celebrated the start of a new federal program allowing them to apply to stay and work temporarily in the United States, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer issued an executive order telling state agencies not to grant driver’s licenses to program participants.

Brewer’s order, issued late in the day, reiterates that state agencies are required to deny licenses and other public benefits to all undocumented immigrants, even those who gain approval under President Barack Obama’s new “deferred action” program.

Wednesday was the first day that as many as 1.76 million undocumented immigrants under the age of 31 nationwide who were brought to this country as minors could begin applying to stay and work in the U.S. for two years. As many as 80,000 in Arizona could be eligible to apply.

Earlier in the day, Maricopa County Community Colleges announced that students who get work authorization through deferred action would be eligible to apply for in-state tuition, but hours later, district officials said they would reconsider the decision because of Brewer’s order.

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