Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has issued an executive order denying driver's licenses and other benefits to anyone that takes advantage of President Barack Obama's executive order allowing the children of undocumented immigrants to remain in the country without the threat of deportation. Sojourners, a politically liberal evangelical advocacy organization, delivered a petition Thursday with close to 7,000 signatures to Brewer asking her to reverse that decision.
"The action of Gov. Brewer to stop Dreamers from being able to dream is un-Christian, un-American, and it betrays the values of this nation. Governors across the country who follow down this path will be held accountable by the Christian community, starting with Gov. Brewer," said Lisa Sharon Harper, director of mobilizing for Sojourners.
The Rev. Eve Nunez, vice president of the National Hispanic Leadership Conference, and Yvette Lopez, associate pastor of New Life Church of God in Tucson, Ariz., delivered the petition.
The petition states: "We believe every person, regardless of immigration status, is created in God's image. Your recent executive order denying driver's licenses and other benefits to undocumented young people who qualify for deferred action is harsh and short-sighted. As people of faith, we urge you to reconsider your position and retract this executive order so that all God's children in Arizona can contribute to your state's economy and strengthen its communities."
The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, compared Brewer to governors who obstructed civil rights reforms in the 1960s and claimed she is "on the wrong side of progress."
"Just like the governors of the old South that opposed reconciliatory and just actions that facilitated a platform of integration and justice, Governor Brewer will join Wallace, Faubus and others as political leaders that obstructed justice, hindered Christian charity and quenched the spirit of peace," Rodriguez said.
Like Harper, Nunez and Lopez talked about how their Christian faith informed their view of Brewer's policy.
"My Christian faith teaches me to love the least of these, not punish them, and that is precisely what this executive order does," Nunez said.
"I'm a conservative, but this is the last straw for me. This executive order is deplorable, and it must be rescinded; my faith and my politics demand this," Lopez added.
Obama announced his new policy in June. The Justice Department will use "prosecutorial discretion," Obama said, to not deport undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as minors and have no criminal record. The policy effectively does the same as the DREAM Act, which failed to pass the Senate in 2010.
Some have questioned whether Obama has the authority for his decision. On Thursday, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Koback sued Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who is responsible for implementing Obama's directive. The suit argues that the directive forces law enforcement officials to break the law by not enforcing the law.