Local News

Pink stripe dropped from driver's licenses for illegal immigrants

Posted March 21, 2013

— When the state Division of Motor Vehicles begins issuing driver's licenses to young illegal immigrants next week, the licenses won't bear a pink stripe that has caused outrage among immigrants, their advocates and some lawmakers.

Transportation Secretary Tony Tata said last month that participants in the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program would receive a special license that included a fuschia header instead of navy blue and be stamped with "Limited Term" and "No Lawful Status."

Advocates said the different license would stigmatize the bearers and could lead to racial profiling. Gov. Pat McCrory and others said, however, that the distinctive license would keep illegal immigrants from voting or applying for government benefits.

A sample license the DMV sent out Thursday as part of its reminder that the agency would begin issuing DACA driver's licenses next Monday showed a license with the traditional blue stripe. The license also bears the phrase "Legal Presence" in front of "No Lawful Status."

The license still would expire when a person's deferred-action status ends.

The American Civil Liberties Union called the removal of the bright stripe "a huge step in the right direction." But a group of North Carolina rabbis said they would still deliver a message of protest about the DACA licenses to McCrory on Friday.

DACA blocks deportation of and grants work permits to immigrants brought to the United States as minors without authorization. Eligible applicants include high school students, high school graduates, those with a GED and those who have served in the military and have no felony convictions or significant misdemeanors.

The Department of Homeland Security decides who qualifies for the DACA program. The program does not change immigrants' legal status, but does give them a temporary legal presence.

The DMV suspended issuing licenses to DACA participants last fall, saying it wanted a legal opinion on whether issuing licenses to the illegal immigrants would violate state law.

The Attorney General's Office issued an opinion in January, saying "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."

Tata said last month that issuing the DACA licenses would improve safety and accountability. The state would know who the drivers are, and they would be required to obtain insurance, he said.


This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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  • Ex-Republican Mar 22, 7:31 p.m.

    "I really don't see piles of people wanting to work as maids, landscapers, meat processing plant workers, etc. In fact, the immigrants that I come across are hard working people ( they actually work much harder than many lazy "US Citizens" who seem to have plenty of time to complain."

    How do you know they are immigrants (illegal or not)? Your statement implies "Mexican" or Latino immigrants. Not just a subtle racist, are we?

  • junkmail5 Mar 22, 7:25 p.m.

    Immigration laws- clickhere

    WHAT law?

    Because the only one I'm aware of it that it's illegal to ENTER bypassing immigration and border control.

    Since they were children, incapable of criminal intent at the time, they aren't guilty of that charge.

    So what specific criminal charge, I mean "US Code X, section Y" specific, do you think they are guilty of?

    Ever heard of guilt by association?

    Not in an actual court of law, no.

  • whyalltheproblems Mar 22, 7:23 p.m.

    5th time I've asked in the thread, nobody has managed to produce a law though.... how odd.

    ~how about not being Legal? being an Illegal Citizen says it all.
    so what's to keep the illegal citizens from getting gov't aid, etc.? great.

  • clickhere Mar 22, 7:16 p.m.

    "Again... what specific law do you think they have broken?

    5th time I've asked in the thread, nobody has managed to produce a law though.... how odd.


    Immigration laws. That's what the "No Lawful Status" phrase means. "Legal Presence" is temporary until the courts make a decision. I guess everyone else thought it was obvious.

  • Billfisher Mar 22, 6:48 p.m.

    No, they're not. They were CHILDREN when someone else brought them here. Their parents broke the law, they didn't. I don't care what you say I'm not punishing someone that was a child for something their parents did. The parents? Yes, they should be prosecuted and deported but apparently that's a law without teeth.

    Ever heard of guilt by association?

  • junkmail5 Mar 22, 6:31 p.m.

    Why? These people are criminals!-meeper

    Again... what specific law do you think they have broken?

    5th time I've asked in the thread, nobody has managed to produce a law though.... how odd.

  • meeper Mar 22, 6:22 p.m.

    Why? These people are criminals! They shouldn't have a license in the first place. First they should be in jail and then sent home.
    What the @*ll is the matter with our politicians?

  • Ex-Republican Mar 22, 6:07 p.m.

    "I wonder what Mexico would do if the tables were turned. Would they issue the kids driver's licenses?" CrewMax

    No, if you were in Mexico illegaly you would be locked up in one of their dungeons and never heard from again.

  • hpr641 Mar 22, 5:48 p.m.

    Just as all those covered by DACA gained that status because of the decision of ONE man, their presence in the USA would just as suddenly again be illegal if that ONE man woke up tomorrow and changed his mind. Theoretically, his mind and the legality of their residence could change back and forth daily. Yes, all that is within the powers of our Chief Federal Law Enforcement Officer ... President Barack Obama.

  • CrewMax Mar 22, 5:42 p.m.

    I wonder what Mexico would do if the tables were turned. Would they issue the kids driver's licenses?