DREAMers Line Up For Licenses

By Jude Joffe-Block
Published: Monday, December 22, 2014 - 3:29pm
Audio icon Download mp3 (1.16 MB)
(Jude Joffe-Block/ KJZZ News)
Young immigrants line up to apply for driver's licenses at the MVD on 52nd Avenue in Phoenix on Monday morning.
(Jude Joffe-Block/ KJZZ News)

Arizona’s Motor Vehicle Division offices began processing driver’s licenses for some young immigrants for the first time Monday. The change is the result of a two-year legal battle that may not be over yet.

A group of young immigrants chanted and cheered in line as they waited to apply for driver’s licenses this morning. 

They earned work permits under an Obama administration program for young people brought here illegally as children. 

But when Arizona denied them licenses, these young people sued. And so far, they've won.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed the state must process these immigrants' applications for licenses and state IDs. 

24-year-old Reyna Montoya, who has been advocating for legal rights for undocumented youth with the Arizona Dream Act Coalition for more than four years, said she has been waiting for this moment since she was 16.

"I think this is the perfect example that when we organize, when we come together, if we are the right side of history, we will always win," Montoya said. "Even if it is a slow and painful process."

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer called the court's ruling "outrageous" in a statement she released last week.

“It is important to remember that courts have yet to consider the full merits of the case," Brewer said in the statement. "I believe that Arizona will ultimately prevail."

Brewer said she wants the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.