But as legal battles loom, the moves by the two governors do have the potential to more immediately undermine Obama’s new immigration policy.
Indeed, state opposition isn’t the only concern for applicants. While thousands lined up this week for help to apply, some Hispanic groups are concerned that immigration authorities may – despite the President’s orders and assurances of anonymity – use the information to find and deport family members. It’s not clear whether the program would continue if Mitt Romney wins the presidency.
Nebraska and Arizona likely have over 100,000 eligible illegal immigrants within their borders.
The move by Brewer drew sharp rebukes from some legal scholars, activists, and Democratic lawmakers.
“Jan Brewer has once again shown that she is nothing more than George Wallace in a skirt," Jeff Rogers, the chair of the Pima County Democratic Party, told reporters in Arizona. "What's next? Will she personally stand outside the Motor Vehicle office and block entry to qualified 'DREAMers'?"
George Wallace is the late Alabama governor who made his “stand in the schoolhouse door” at the University of Alabama to block African-American students from entering, and who, upon his inauguration, insisted, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”
Harsh as it is, the Wallace analogy will ring true for many Americans. But it also suggests another underlying problem with Obama’s policy.