In August 2012, the Federal Government began granting Deferred Action to select undocumented youth in North Carolina and other states.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has given undocumented immigrants the opportunity to legally reside in the US for a renewable two year period. Additionally, through DACA they’re able to receive a work permit, a driver’s license, and importantly the relief from deportation.
In January of this year, the NC Department of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV) updated its website to communicate that it will not provide driver’s licenses to DACA-eligible undocumented people (DACAmented), because they did not consider a federal government issued work permit a valid form of documentation to receive a driver’s license. For many of these recipients, a license is vital for transportation to go to school, to work, and care for their families that don’t have this privilege of driving.
After countless demands of the DMV to give DACA recipients driver’s licenses, on January 15, the Attorney General Roy Cooper finally made a public statement that DACAmented youth should be able to obtain a North Carolina driver’s license. Everyone expected the DMV to give out regular licenses, but instead they’ve created a new one specifically for DACA recipients.
These new driver’s licenses have a bright pink stripe at the top, has the words ‘Deferred Action’ in the background, ‘LIMITED TERM’ on the right side, and contain in red ‘NO LAWFUL STATUS’ on the bottom. This opened up the door for people to discriminate against undocumented immigrants. Especially for police, which is another way police can abuse their power. When these people are ever asked for their ID by police, they will know they’re not citizens.