On March 25, North Carolina will begin issuing driver’s licenses to thousands of undocumented immigrants who qualify for the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — but there is a catch. A markup of North Carolina’s new driver’s license for immigrants, pictured above, distinguishes the license by a bright pink stripe and the bolded words “NO LAWFUL STATUS.” Legal non-citizens will also have a special license, though Fox 8 reports it is unclear what they will look like.
According to the Charlotte Observer, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed off on the design because it would distinguish “between legal presence versus legal status.” Meanwhile, Republican legislators have introduced a bill to delay the licenses from being issued. Bill sponsors cite “voter fraud” as one reason to block driver’s licenses. But a recent state review found voter fraud is almost nonexistent in the state.
Driver’s licenses not only provide undocumented immigrants with needed identification, but research also shows it would make roads safer. However, these driver’s licenses mark undocumented immigrants as second-class residents: “North Carolina should not be making it harder for aspiring citizens to integrate and contribute to our communities by branding them with a second-class driver’s license,” American Civil Liberties Union attorney Raul Pinto told the Associated Press. “There is simply no reason for officials to stigmatize people who are in the U.S. legally with an unnecessary marker that could lead to harassment, confusion, and racial profiling.”
North Carolina is one of as many as 30 states that will issue driver’s licenses to DACA beneficiaries.