Local News

Illegal immigrants say DMV should restore driver's licenses

Posted January 16, 2013

— Immigration advocates are protesting the state Division of Motor Vehicles' decision to cancel the driver's licenses of several people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

The DMV last week canceled the licenses of 13 people who have applied to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program until the North Carolina Attorney General's Office can determine whether issuing the licenses would violate state law.

The Attorney General's Office is gathering information on the issue from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and could issue an opinion next week, officials said.

The DACA program blocks deportation of and grants work permits to immigrants brought to the United States as minors without authorization.

"They are so messed up right now (about) everything that involves immigration," Cynthia Martinez, whose parents brought her to the U.S. when she was 2, said Wednesday.

Martinez said she has to get to her job at a Raleigh law office without a driver's license.

"I'm not afraid if I get pulled over, but that's just me," she said. "There's thousands of people that aren't in the same situation, and they are afraid to drive to work every day or they're afraid to go to the grocery store."

Cynthia Martinez, illegal immigrant Illegal immigrants say they need driver's licenses to get around

North Carolina typically grants driver's licenses to non-citizens with valid federal work papers, and the American Civil Liberties Union and the North Carolina Justice Center are urging the Attorney General's Office to determine that the licenses to DACA applicants are legal.

"We're very concerned because licenses have been granted to Deferred Action recipients in the past," said Raul Pinto, an ACLU attorney.

"You can imagine the ridiculousness of being told by the federal government, 'OK, you're authorized to work,' and then to be told by the state government, 'But you have to hitchhike there,'" said Isabel Barbarin, an attorney for a woman who had her license canceled.

DMV officials declined to comment until the Attorney General's Office issues its opinion.

Members of the North Carolina Dream Team, which supports young illegal immigrants, said they will march through downtown Raleigh next Tuesday to protest the DMV's move.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • brassy Jan 25, 2013

    "Martinez said she has to get to her job at a Raleigh law office without a driver's license."

    Yet she doesn't appear to understand the definition of the word "illegal."

  • shykidd89 Jan 24, 2013

    mstrspydog - First of all learn your facts please. Illegals do not have the right to vote nor do they have the right to obtain a drivers license.

    Under the program they have lawful presence which means they do have the right to obtain a drivers license while the permit is still valid.

  • mstrspydog Jan 23, 2013

    so how do ILLEGAL immigrants in the USA have the right to vote, get DSS / food stamps, driver licenses, and work?
    If a US citizen tried to do ANY of these they would be locked up. Why not these people?

  • ConservativeVoter Jan 17, 2013

    Illegal immigrants are criminals who are here illegally and should be deported.

    They are entitled to zero rights that American citizens are entitled to.

    Unfortunately, they illegally voted for Obama in 2012 so Obama is wanting to reward them with amnesty and citizenship for their efforts to get him elected.

  • ConservativeVoter Jan 17, 2013

    The law firm should be penalized for hiring an illegal immigrant instead of an unemployed American citizen.

  • ConservativeVoter Jan 17, 2013

    She's in the country illegally.

    She's an illegal immigrant.

    She's a criminal who should be deported for being here illegally.

    She does not posses the right to drive because she isn't here legally.

  • Lightfoot3 Jan 17, 2013

    "drives anyway without any concern for the law" - JohnnyVoodoo

    I see people every day that speed without any concern for the law. Wonder if they're illegals?

  • JohnnyVoodoo Jan 17, 2013

    Let me get this straight. She's an illegal alien, she has no license but drives anyway without any concern for the law, and last but not least....she works for a LAW firm. ....makes perfect sense to me. ..NOT.

  • lgjhere1 Jan 17, 2013

    Let’s face it, this driver's license thing is just one aspect of a much larger 20th century issue that has slopped over into the 21st century and the time has come to finally resolve it. A new worldwide book/ebook explains the role, struggles, and contributions of immigrants and minorities: "What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to understand crazy American culture, people, government, business, language and more." Endorsed by ambassadors, educators, and editors, it paints a revealing picture of America on numerous subjects for those who will benefit from a better understanding. Immigrants and the children they bear account for 60 percent of our nation's population growth and are 60 percent more likely to start a new business than native-born Americans. It identifies "foreigners" who became successful in the US and contributed to our society. However, most struggle in their efforts and need guidance if they are to contribute. Perhaps intelligent immigration refo

  • so you dont like my opinion ok Jan 17, 2013

    @ driverkid3 let them hitchike to the jobs they STEAL from the citizens of this country..

    I have a great idea, since you hate illegals so much, why don't you STEAL their jobs, like working in fields etc...?