A driving test for the McCrory administration

By Clayton Henkel, NC Policy Watch/ NC Justice Center

A week after the North Carolina Attorney General’s office said young immigrants who are “lawfully present” to be here are qualified to receive driver’s licenses, the matter is still under review by the state Transportation Department.

The delay has editorial boards chiming-in with a unified voice – that it’s time for the McCrory administration to end the foot-dragging.

The Charlotte Observer writes this morning:

‘As governor of a state that’s neither decidedly red nor blue, Pat McCrory is going to spend much of the next four years being tugged at by starkly disparate perspectives on issues. The first such test of his administration has already presented itself: Should North Carolina issue driver’s licenses to [undocumented] immigrants who are participants in the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program?’

‘…it leaves McCrory with a choice. He can take the sensible route, acknowledge that no one has declared deferred action status unlawful, and order the DMV to issue the driver’s licenses. Or he can side with the unreasonable voices who don’t want to give an inch on illegal immigration. The decision McCrory makes will offer a clue about what kind of North Carolina we’ll all live in for the next four years.’

The Winston-Salem Journal puts it more succinctly:

‘Gov. Pat McCrory and his commissioner of motor vehicles have a clear choice regarding driver’s licenses for non-citizens who hold valid working papers: They can posture politically to appease their political base or they can obey the law.’

And finally The Durham Herald-Sun puts the issue squarely on the shoulders of Transportation Sec. Tony Tata:

‘New Transportation Secretary Tony Tata has not yet said whether he will instruct DMV to comply with that ruling.

He should. Republicans nationally are recognizing that a more generous approach to immigration reform is in the party’s best interests politically – Tata has an opportunity to acknowledge that in this instance.’

You can read the full editorials here, here, and here.

This is a guest post from Clayton Henkel, Communications Coordinator for NC Policy Watch and the NC Justice Center. It originally appeared on the NC Policy Watch blog, The Progressive Pulse.


Charlotte’s first baby of 2012

By Jess George


Response to “Charlotte’s first baby of the year” in the Charlotte Observer (Jan. 3):

The Observer published an article celebrating the first Charlottean born in 2012, a boy of Latino heritage named Tommy. What followed was a litany of hateful and racist comments posted on the Observer website, so profane that site administrators disabled all comments.

While I commend the Observer for removing hate speech, we can do more to curb anti-immigrant and anti-Latino sentiments. For example, we, including the Observer, need to stop using the word “illegal” when describing undocumented immigrants. It’s offensive, dehumanizing and perpetuates stereotypes and comments like those removed from the website.

By using accurate and respectful language the Observer can help reframe this issue. Then maybe we can get back to cooing over babies instead of sending them hate mail.

Jess George
Executive Director
Latin American Coalition