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AG: DMV should issue licenses to young illegal immigrants

Posted January 17, 2013

— The state Attorney General's Office has determined that people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children are entitled to a North Carolina driver's license if they meet all other requirements.

The Division of Motor Vehicles last week canceled the licenses of 13 people who have applied to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, saying they wanted a legal opinion from the Attorney General's Office on whether issuing the licenses would violate state law.

The DACA program blocks deportation of and grants work permits to immigrants brought to the United States as minors without authorization. North Carolina typically grants driver's licenses to non-citizens with valid federal work papers.

"We believe that individuals who present documentation demonstrating a grant of deferred action by the United States government are legally present in the United States and entitled to a driver's license of limited duration, assuming all other criteria are met," Chief Deputy Attorney General Grayson Kelley wrote in a letter Thursday to DMV Acting Commissioner Eric Boyette.

"This conclusion should not be construed to suggest that individuals granted deferred status under the DACA program have 'lawful status' in the United States," Kelley wrote. "Deferred status ... is a grant of permission to remain in the country for a specified period of time without receiving formal immigration status. The grant of deferred status therefore establishes lawful presence for the period of deferment."

Raul Pinto, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation, said DMV should "do the right thing" and begin reissuing licenses to those in the DACA program.

"There is no reason – legal or otherwise – why the DMV should prevent immigrants authorized to live and work in the United States from driving and further contributing to our state and society,” Pinto said in a statement.

Boyette said the DMV was reviewing the legal opinion of the Attorney General's Office but declined to comment further.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • proud_of_who_i_am Jan 18, 2013

    9 out of 10 comments here are pure greed and hate. come on people, in what way has an illegal immigrant has affected you in a negative way or even bothered u in some way. we don't own this country, we were just born here, all of us come from immigrants except the native Americans that were already here when the rest of us invaded their land. all you people leaving this negative comments; don't hate yourself or your everyday life and get it out on this other innocent people, grow up and enjoy life. its funny and amazes me when you go to a mexican restaurant and is full of american citizens, but yet they hate immigrants, especially the latino community. they deserve a chance especially the youth, they just here to work hard, get educated and move up in life, somebody has to do it.

  • driverkid3 Jan 18, 2013

    Roy Cooper is becoming more and more useless as time goes on, and people keep electing him each time. He was a bust as a senator and even worse now.

  • junkmail5 Jan 18, 2013

    Let's see... They are NOT legal immigrants so that means that they don't pay taxes and send most of their paychecks back home to whatever country they are from- torchhappysean

    Ah, ANOTHER person comments without having read the story!


    They have real jobs, paying real taxes.

    And they came here as children, so they're not "sending money back to their home country" because this IS their home country. They were raised here since they were little kids, many have never even BEEN to their home country as adults, and wouldn't have any to 'send money back' to.

    If you're going to join the discussion can you at least understand what you are discussing first? Thanks!

  • torchhappysean Jan 18, 2013

    Let's see... They are NOT legal immigrants so that means that they don't pay taxes and send most of their paychecks back home to whatever country they are from, and last but not least overburden our welfare and healthcare systems. But they feel that they should be allowed to drive legally? I SAY NO!!! I feel that every illegal that applies should have Homeland Security arrest them ON THE SPOT and deport them immediately!!!

  • driverkid3 Jan 18, 2013

    guadalupesalinas70: My ID was stolen and used by an ILLEGAL, I am fighting over a student loan taken in MY name by an ILLEGAL, and my sister was murdered by an ILLEGAL, and YOU demand tthat we support YOU because YOU are an ILLEGAL ALIEN? No, thank you. I can do without those headaches and heartbreaks. I have NO respect for illegals whatsoever. Do it the right way, but you are NOT doing that. You come in here telling us that you are illegal and want acceptance? No way.

  • driverkid3 Jan 18, 2013

    "Too bad there were no American Indians here today to comment on the subject of "illegals"."

    There are a lot of us here, you just don't listen. Why don't you try that?

  • driverkid3 Jan 18, 2013

    guadalupesalinas70, so you are an illegal alien? OK, what makes you think you are OWED something? It's not OUR fault that your parents broke the law, yet every one of us are paying for it in the long run. Is that supposed to make us happy? There is a lot more that I want to say, but I will not get banned from here because of you.

  • junkmail5 Jan 18, 2013

    That would be their parents fault not mine. Bad stuff happens everyday, that's life.- umop apisdn

    So your answer is "Well, her parents did something wrong when she's 2... therefore we should completely destroy the life she knows to punish her for what her PARENTS did"?

    That's your actual answer?


    Welcome to THE UNITED STATES of America foreigners!! Still ONE NATION under GOD!! we speak ENGLISH!!Learn it!- aar6packcuda

    Perhaps you should learn to READ english?

    The person in question speaks fluent english, has been here since age 2, and had a full time job at a law firm.

    Oh, and they're working legally under the DACA too.

  • guadalupesalinas70 Jan 18, 2013

    All I can say is think what u would feel if u were in our shows..if u were
    Brought here illegal and been here all you life, going to school, paying taxes, and
    That you first language is english ...after all this you Have to go back to Mexico
    Were you dont know nothing ....what would you do if it happen to you..or if it was
    Your child???.........:........I am so happy yesterday afternoon I received my work permit....
    Today im going to go get my drivers licence ....I really hope one day you can understand
    Us illegal that our parent bring us here looking for a better life ...and Good or bad they try very Hard!!!!! ...god bless all of yall :)

  • aar6packcuda Jan 18, 2013

    Welcome to THE UNITED STATES of America foreigners!! Still ONE NATION under GOD!! we speak ENGLISH!!Learn it!! We wave the AMERICAN flag only!! If you were brought here illegal!! Go thru the steps to become legal citizen! Quit expecting us to cater to you illegals!! We pay taxes to keep you free loaders up!!I am 43 and have lived here all my life!! That gives me way more rights than you illegals!!if you werent born in AMERICA!! get out and go back where you came from!!AMERICAN BORN & AMERICAN BREAD!!