North Carolina Scraps Pink-Striped License Idea
Faced by increasing criticism, Transportation Department officials in North Carolina are scrapping their plans to introduce special pink-striped driver’s licenses which were set to be given to certain immigrants who were in the U.S. illegally.
Many critics of the proposed special licenses likened the design to a scarlet letter to draw attention to the driver’s illegal status.
But authorities in the state say that they will now issue illegal immigrants driver’s licenses that look like regular licenses in every way except for the wording “Legal presence/no lawful status” and “limited term” added to the face of the license in bold capital letters.
These special “no lawful status” licenses are set to begin being issued before the end of the month to young adults brought into this country by their parents without legal authorization and who are participating in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program established by the federal government.
The state learned that such licenses are easier and more efficient to produce if they’re similar to the traditional licenses issued to other drivers, said spokesman Mike Charbonneau at the state Transportation Department.
“My understanding is that when we’re looking at that design, at the end of the day, we had to make sure we were following the letter of the law in the most efficient way possible,” Charbonneau said.
According to FOX News, the American Civil Liberties Union was among the many human rights groups who had criticized the proposed pink-stripe design as being discriminatory and bound to create possible problems for holders of such a designated license.
Jewish leaders also fought the color-coded license idea, saying it was much too reminiscent of the yellow stars that Nazis forced Jews to wear in the 1940s.
“Our efforts do not end when major discrimination turns into minor discrimination; it ends when we are 100 percent positive that discriminatory policies will not go into effect in our state,” said Rabbi Eric Solomon of Raleigh’s Beth Meyer Synagogue.
According to ABC News, in place of the proposed pink-striped design, the license is to look like the regular license issued to citizens save for words added in bold red letters: “”LEGAL PRESENCE / NO LAWFUL STATUS” and “LIMITED TERM.”
The controversial original proposal also had included the phrase “NO LAWFUL STATUS.”
The state will begin issuing licenses Monday to young adults brought to the U.S. as children without legal authorization. Under an Obama administration program, they now qualify for work permits, reports FOX News.
Like the federal work permits, the state licenses will expire in two years.
More than 16,500 teens and young adults in North Carolina have received the deferred-action federal work permits. Immigrants and civil rights lawyers initially cheered Tata’s announcement that they would qualify for state driver’s licenses, starting Monday.
What do you think of the Pink Striped License plate plan? Was it a good idea?
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