NC illegal immigrant driver’s licenses labeled ‘discriminatory’

North Carolina’s Department of Motor Vehicles is set to issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants next month, but not without controversy. A bright pink stripe and the words “No Lawful Status” has many up in arms.

The license was designed for participants in President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, those whose parents brought them into the United States illegally as a child. If they meet federal criteria, they will be allowed to stay legally on a work permit for up to two years.

North Carolina proposed DL

Photo credit: Weasel Zippers

The license benefits Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals participants, according to Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page, especially if they are pulled over and asked for identification.

“If he has an identification,” Page told Fox8. “There’s a better chance he’s going to get a citation or a warning and sent on his way versus ending up at the magistrate’s office and ending up in the local jail.”

But Cara Read, a High Point University student who has lived in America since she was 6 years old, has a green card and is working to become a U.S. citizen, fears she will be required to have the same license.

“I think anything that mentions me not being a citizen on my driver’s license might be discriminatory and is a label I don’t think I should have on my license,” Cara told Fox8. “There’s such a negative conversation around immigration in general. I’m afraid this will confuse employers or anyone looking at my license. It could make them question if I’m here legally, which I am.”

While proponents of the license are also touting it as a measure to combat voter ID fraud, North Carolina doesn’t require residents to show ID to vote.

Since Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration announced the Department of Motor Vehicles would begin issuing the licenses, Rep. Mark Brody, R-Union, and three freshmen legislators have introduced a bill to halt the program until June 15 in order to clarify details in the state law.

According to Fox News:

Brody said he believes strongly that the DACA program violated the U.S. Constitution because it was implemented without congressional approval. Obama said last year he was forced to take executive action by the decades-long failure of Congress to consider meaningful immigration reform.

Among the concerns raised by Brody and other bill sponsors is that illegal immigrants might use their new licenses to access social programs or register to vote, despite the bright pink markings. An extensive 2011 review of the state’s 6.4 million registered voters by the N.C. Board of Elections found 12 instances were a non-citizen successfully cast a ballot.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has said that it is up to the states to determine how to handle the issue.

See the Fox8 report here:

NC Fox8 pic

Cheryl Carpenter Klimek

Cheryl Carpenter Klimek has been a political consultant handling public affairs, political campaigns and PAC management for nearly 20 years.


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