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Latino Daily News

Thursday January 10, 2013

North Carolina Haults Issuance of Driver’s Licenses for DREAMers

North Carolina Haults Issuance of Driver’s Licenses for DREAMers

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The North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles temporarily suspended issuing driver’s licenses to the undocumented young people who have received a reprieve from deportation under the federal Deferred Action program.

The program is aimed at the people meant to benefit from the long-stalled DREAM Act, which provides a path to legalization for certain undocumented people who were brought to the United States as children.

DMV is not processing driver’s licenses for the Deferred Action beneficiaries “until (U.S.) Citizenship and Immigration Services defines what documents are acceptable as proof of legal residence in the country,” spokesperson Margarett Howell told Efe Wednesday.

When consulted by Efe, however, Homeland Security Department spokesperson Steve Blando said “the states, and not the federal government, decide whom to authorize driver’s licenses for.”

“All this confusion and change of policy in the North Carolina DMV is occurring when the new administration of the department by incoming Republican Gov. Pat McCrory is beginning,” said Jose Rico, a member of the NC DREAM Team.

It is calculated that of the 51,000 DREAMers in North Carolina who could benefit from Deferred Action, just 13,000 have applied.

“Here they’re passing the ball among the departments and we’re going to investigate more in depth about what’s happening with the licenses and the students with Deferred Action,” said Viridiana Martinez, the founder of the NC DREAM Team.

In August, the DMV’s Howell told McClatchy Newspapers that people who have qualified for Deferred Action would be eligible for driver’s licenses.

But the rule change in North Carolina is still not clear and organizations like the ACLU have begun monitoring the situation.

Four states - Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska and Arizona - have decided not to issue driver’s licenses to Deferred Action beneficiaries.