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Some NC Undocumented Immigrants Unhappy With License Design

12:29 AM, Feb 22, 2013   |    comments
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Triad, NC-- All North Carolina licenses will change by the end of the year, including the design for immigrant licenses.

Last week it became official. Some undocumented immigrants living in North Carolina are now eligible for a legal driver's license. This is for young people known as DACA recipients, or dreamers, who were brought to America as children.

The new license will look different than the ones issued to US citizens. 

It will have a fuchsia stripe along the top and the words, "NO LAWFUL STATUS" will be displayed on the front. Whether it's horizontal or vertical will depend on the person's age.

By the end of this year, all non-citizens, legal or not will have a different-looking license.

WFMY News 2's Liz Crawford spoke to an undocumented immigrant, who's currently not allowed to get a license at the DMV.

Next month, starting, March 25th, he could, but he's not sure he wants one.

Moises Serrano, a DACA recipient said, "In the manner that they're doing these licenses, it's completely wrong, it's completely discriminatory towards my community. These licenses will be completely different from normal licenses."

Serrano is afraid the license will be a huge red flag and he'll be treated differently if he comes in contact with a police officer or a TSA worker at the airport. He doesn't think anyone who sees his ID should know his immigration status, like if he's carded at the movies or a convenience store. Serrano wants to be in charge of revealing his immigration status, for sake of his privacy and peace of mind. I told him point blank, a lot of people might say it seems like no compromise is good enough for undocumented immigrants.

"It's not enough because it's not true equality and true justice. I do not want scraps of justice. I do not want scraps of equality. I want full justice for my community," added Serrano.

The NC DOT told News 2 that law enforcement, legal experts, immigration advocates, among others all weighed in on the license design.

The DOT said the license is a compromise extending driving privileges to DACA recipients while also protecting rights reserved for US citizens, such as voting.

News 2 also spoke to Rockingham County Sheriff, Sam Page. Page thinks the new ID will save undocumented immigrants a lot of hassle. Right now, if they can't show a license during a traffic stop, police have to arrest them, interview them, and report them to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).With the new license, they would get a ticket and be on their way.

News 2 also looked into citizenship laws in other countries. In Canada for example, you have to meet eligibility requirements before you can even apply. They include knowledge of Canada, language, and criminal history.

WFMY News 2, NC DOT

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