PHOENIX (CNN) -- A new program that defers deportation for some undocumented immigrants took effect Wednesday. Thousands of people who entered the U.S. illegally as children can now apply to stay and work in the country for at least two years.
The program led the governor of Arizona to issue an executive order that denies certain public benefits, including drivers' licenses, to immigrants who qualify for the deferment.
Governor Jan Brewer's order says granting such benefits to these immigrants would have "significant and lasting impacts" on the state's budget, health care system and other taxpayer-funded benefits.
"We will issue an employment authorization card to those people that apply," Brewer said. "But they will not be entitled to a driver's license, nor will they be entitled to any public benefits in response to the public overwhelmingly voting that no public benefits would be extended to illegal aliens in the state of Arizona."
The Arizona DREAM Act Coalition says Brewer is directly attacking young people who were brought to the U.S at no fault of their own. The group says three out of four Arizona voters support the DREAM Act, which would provide permanent residency to certain immigrants. The coalition is calling on Brewer to start working for solutions in Arizona and across the country.