On North Carolina drivers licenses for DACA recipients

By Ramon Garibaldo and Luisa Donoso, United 4 The Dream

We are grateful that North Carolina will once again start issuing licenses to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. Having a driver’s license is crucial for the lives of many young people; they not only grant the right to drive a vehicle but also serve as the main form of ID to grant access to countless places, job opportunities, and activities.

However, we are shocked and appalled at the way these licenses are being issued. The format of the license design and class is completely discriminatory and untrue. The alarming pink highlight as well the vertical format- a format usually reserved for minors- can and will cause great difficulties for those who are of age and needing entry to various services and places.

The presence of the phrase “Deferred Action” is inconvenient because it reveals a person’s former legal status and violates their right to privacy. In the same manner, the use of the term “NO LAWFUL STATUS” on the licenses is completely unnecessary. We are afraid that the presence of these two phrases will lead to discrimination against DACA recipients as well as harassment from law-enforcement authorities.

It is worth mentioning that North Carolina is the only state in the country that has ever issued this type of license. Although deferred action has been given to other immigrants in the past, this is the first time that a state has created a license specifying a person’s immigration status. Individuals with deferred action have historically been allowed to have regular driver’s licenses. This shows that the issuing of this type of licenses is not just a “formal procedure.” The way these licenses have been issued is a direct attack on the immigrant community in North Carolina and the DACA policy that was recently put into place.

Lastly, it baffles us that rather than using its resources for other much-needed programs, the current state administration is making use of taxpayer money to create a new license class with a discriminatory message regarding a group of individuals who have grown up in and contributed to the growth of the state of North Carolina. This new license puts more obstacles in front of many young immigrants, creating a class of “inferior” citizens.


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