Sunday, March 03, 2013

"Might as well just brand them."

So said a friend on hearing that North Carolina proposed to issue "NO LAWFUL STATUS" drivers' licenses to Dreamers who took advantage of the administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Dreamers are young immigrants who grew up in the United States after having arrived with undocumented parents as kids. They went to our schools; played our sports; sometimes didn't even know they were not like everyone else until they tried to go to college or otherwise interacted with government bureaucracies.

We are losing their talents and energy when we kick them out of the country. That's both cruel and dumb. So last spring, DACA was introduced as a stopgap measure until a Congress tied in knots by Republican obstruction can pass comprehensive immigration reform. This program saves families -- it only makes sense: in every way but the legal one Dreamers are young citizens.

But North Carolina Republicans have other ideas. Stigmatize those kids!
Gov. Pat McCrory says he signed off on the controversial “pink licenses” that will be issued to some young illegal immigrants who were granted protection from deportation for two years. The new North Carolina governor said he thought it was important that the driver’s licenses for immigrants clearly distinguish “between legal presence versus legal status.”

…Critics of the new license design, such as Armando Bellmas of the Latin American Coalition in Charlotte, charged that the proposed license design was “discriminatory” and created a class of “inferior citizens.”

“The way these licenses have been issued is a direct attack on the immigrant community in North Carolina,” he said in a statement.

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