I’ll start this by admitting that I think Jan Brewer, the governor of Arizona, is one of the dimmest, and most mean-spirited, politicians in America, who presides over a state with one of the dimmest, and most mean-spirited, set of Republican legislators in the country.
On Wednesday, young immigrants—in the United States illegally—began applying for federal work permits under the Obama-inspired Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
That program is based on a change in policy authorized by the President, which Jan Brewer falsely and stupidly labeled “backdoor amnesty.” The policy change means that for a select group of young folks, who arrived illegally in the country before they turned 16 and have not been convicted of various crimes, they can rest assured that they will not be deported for two years and can seek jobs and contribute to the well-being of the country (details here).
What Jan Brewer did yesterday, in a fit of right-wing nastiness, is this:
(CBS/AP) In Arizona, which passed one of the nation’s toughest anti-immigration laws, Gov. Jan Brewer signed an executive order Wednesday directing state agencies to deny driver’s licenses and other public benefits to illegal immigrants who obtain work authorizations under a new federal program.
My daughter happens to live in Arizona and teaches high school there. One of her former students, a young, exceptionally bright woman, who was brought here not from Mexico but from Italy, falls into the category that makes her eligible to get clearance for a job.
The young woman had asked my daughter to write a letter detailing her relationship with her as her teacher, which is part of the process of proving an applicant meets the criteria involved.
Last night, I received a call from my daughter, who was blazing mad about what her governor had done. You see, her former student was not a recognized member of society because of her status (details are complicated and entirely not her fault) and could not further her education, even though she was very intelligent.
Nor could she get a job.
But she was beyond excited that she could come out from the shadows and begin to contribute, to begin to be a part of America. Unfortunately, the immediate America she happens to live in has a governor and a legislature who wants to keep her in the dark, to decline the benefits this young woman would undoubtedly bring to the only country she has ever known. And as my daughter reported, her hopes for a better future were dashed by their selfish actions.
I don’t know if Brewer’s executive order will ultimately have any practical effect on this young woman’s ability to take advantage of Mr. Obama’s policy change, but I do know it is an obstacle, especially a psychological one.
And in terms of psychology, it reveals the ugly mental state of Jan Brewer and those who support her.