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North Carolina stirs controversy over special licenses for undocumented immigrants

By Samantha Kimmey
Sunday, February 24, 2013 18:22 EDT
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"Driver Licence" on Shutterstock: http://tinyurl.com/byav5j6
 
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North Carolina will begin to issue driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants who have been granted “lawful presence” in the country — but North Carolina is drawing criticism for how it will issue those licenses, reported Fox 8.

Licenses will be available to those who fall under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which applies to people who, among other qualifications, arrived in the U.S. before their 16th birthday.

U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services recently issued clarifications to the status of DACA participants due to confusion about what kind of status they held. Since the clarification was issued, states such as Michigan that previously refused to issue driver’s licenses to such individuals have announced their intention to do so.

But the North Carolina licenses will feature the phrase “No lawful status” written in magenta and highlighted in yellow, as well as a bright magenta band at the top.

Special licenses will also be issued to immigrants in the country legally, although Fox 8 reports that “it’s still unclear exactly what a legal non-citizen’s license will look like.”

Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page told the news outlet that the licenses will help DACA participants. “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” if he or she has a license, he said.

Cara Read, a Canadian citizen who has a green card and attends High Point University in North Carolina, called it a “scarlet letter.”

The licenses will be issued starting on March 25.

[Image: Driver's License on Shutterstock]

 
 
 
 
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