Young illegal immigrants could lose right to drive
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RALEIGH—The State Division of Motor Vehicles could soon deny young illegal immigrants driver's licenses in an attempt at immigration reform.
Currently, undocumented youths who have deferred action are allowed to drive. Jose Rico came to the United States at the age of 13 from his home country of Mexico. Rico is an undocumented immigrant who works and goes to school in the Triangle but his means of transportation could change.
“We can find a job in that place but we can't drive to that job, it just doesn't make sense,” said Rico.
The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles could soon deny young illegal immigrants driver's licenses after they have received deferred action; which grants a two-year work permit for undocumented youth who came to the United States before they turned 16-years-old.
“All across the country in most states in the United States, kids who have gotten deferred action approved have been able to get driver's licenses,” said executive director of the North Carolina Immigrant Rights Project Marty Rosenbluth.
Rosenbluth calls the idea a roadblock in civil rights. He said it would affect more than 18-thousand young immigrants in the state.
“Many of them are honor roll students, when I read through their files and see all these amazing things they've done I would be proud to have any of them as my kid,” said Rosenbluth.
Rico said some of his friends are already being denied and calls it a product of a shift in politics.
“We are here, we've gone through education here and it doesn't make sense,” said Rico.
A spokesperson for the NC DMV said it is seeking a legal opinion from the attorney general's office on the policy. It is unclear when a decision will be made but those against it say they are prepared to fight.
“If this is in fact going to be the policy, we're going to fight it, there's no way this can stand up,” said Rosenbluth.
States such as Michigan and Arizona have adopted similar policies. Both states were sued by local ACLU chapters.