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Arizona Gov. Issues Executive Order Limiting New Immigration Policy

Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer is throwing more punches in her contentious relationship with the federal government.

Today, she issued an executive order that says young people granted a deportation deferral under President Obama's new policy will still be considered undocumented and won't be granted public benefits.

Obama's new policy went into effect today.

NPR's Ted Robbins sent this report to our Newscast unit:

"Arizona governor Jan Brewer says an undocumented young person with a deferral or a work permit is still in the country illegally. So Brewer ordered state workers not to issue Arizona drivers license or any other public benefits. Brewer says she's following state law, which bars illegal immigrants from getting state services. Arizona is in the top ten states for undocumented young people — with an estimated 80,000. The Obama administration began accepting deferral applications from them Wednesday."

If you remember, this summer Arizona defended its controversial immigration law before the Supreme Court.

The high court invalidated three of four challenged provisions and it decided that the federal government has the ability to challenge state laws that interfere with its responsibilities on immigration.

Update at 6:41 p.m. ET. 80,000 Could Receive Deferred Action In State:

Arizona Public Media has posted the governor's executive order on its website. Gov. Brewer says that as many as 80,000 people in Arizona could apply for deferred action and that present the state with "significant and lasting impacts on the Arizona budget, its health care system and additional public benefits that Arizona taxpayers fund."

Complying with the new federal policy, writes Brewer, would go against "the intent of Arizona voters and lawmakers who enacted laws expressly restricting access to taxpayer funded benefits and state identification."

It's important to note that whether young immigrants have access to benefits such as paying in-state tuition is often up to the states and even college systems.

According to the National Immigration Law Center, it's unclear whether it's up to the states to decide whether to grant an immigrant who's received deferred action a driver's license.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.