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An example of the North Carolina license (AP).
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A new North Carolina driver's license set to be issued to some illegal immigrants has a bright pink stripe and the bold words "NO LAWFUL STATUS," raising concerns about whether the design will brand those who show it.

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles announced last week they would begin issuing the licenses March 25 following a lengthy legal review. The Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program grants valid federal work permits to qualified applicants brought to the U.S. as children without legal authorization.

Some Republican lawmakers in the state have balked at the idea, filing a bill Thursday to bar the DMV from granting the licenses until at least June.

Cinthia Marroquin, a 22-year-old Raleigh resident awaiting approval for a DACA permit, said the longer thelicense issue is delayed, the longer it will take for her to get a job and drive herself to work. Even if she is able to get one, she is worried about presenting a license declaring she has "NO LAWFUL STATUS" at a police roadblock or while writing a check at the grocery store.

"A lot of us are just scared," said Marroquin, who came to the U.S. from Mexico when she was 15. "We just want to be able to get a job and drive to work. Having that license is just going to show everybody you're here illegally, just buying a beer or writing a check. You don't know how people might react."

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina also takes issue with the designation.

"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," said ACLU attorney Raul Pinto. "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."

Almost from the moment President Barack Obama announced the program in June, states across the country grappled with how and whether to issue driver's licenses to those granted legal presence.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has said it is up to officials in each state to make their own determination about what to do. Many states, such as Oregon and Georgia, have announced that they will grant driving privileges to those eligible.

In Arizona, where Republican Gov. Jan Brewer has pledged that DACA youths will not get driver's licenses, the state's DMV still lists federal work permits among the documents making people eligible for one.

The issue is especially politically charged in North Carolina, where current state law ordains a driver's license will be issued to anyone who holds valid federal documentation of their "legal presence" in the United States.

The office of the state's Democratic attorney general in an opinion last month said that under federal law, DACA participants have a "legal presence," even if they do not have "lawful status." Therefore, state law requires that DACA participants be granted licenses. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory's administration agreed, announcing last week the DMV would begin issuing the licenses.

That has upset many conservatives in McCrory's own party, including Rep. Mark Brody (R-Union). He is one of four freshmen legislators who introduced a bill Thursday to bar DMV from issuing licenses to DACA participants before June 15, potentially giving time to craft a permanent change to state law.

Brody said he believes strongly that the DACA program violated the U.S. Constitution because it was implemented without congressional approval. Obama said last year he was forced to take executive action by the decades-long failure of Congress to consider meaningful immigration reform.

"We need a time out," said Brody, a construction contractor. "We don't need to have the federal government dictating to us how we are supposed to issue licenses in this state. We do it, and that's a privilege we have under our Constitution."

Among the concerns raised by Brody and other bill sponsors is that illegal immigrants might use their newlicenses to access social programs or register to vote, despite the bright pink markings. An extensive 2011 review of the state's 6.4 million registered voters by the N.C. Board of Elections found 12 instances were a non-citizen successfully cast a ballot.

Jose Rico, a 23-year-old Raleigh resident from Mexico who has already been issued DACA work permit, said he plans to be in line at the DMV on March 25 to get a license, even if it's pink. He will be extremely disappointed if state legislators pass a bill delaying or a denying his ability to do so.

"I don't know what's wrong with these people, why they're so afraid of people like me," said Rico, who has lived in the U.S. since he was 13. "It's so frustrating. I passed a federal background check, done everything right by the book. I'm paying taxes. I mean, we're just kids trying to go to school."

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Months Ago
      Forget that it is pink or whatever color. WHY? Why does this country continuously allow people to come and STAY in this country illegally? Someone is lining their pockets, that's why. Many answer that it is because they come here to have as many children as they possibly can so they can't leave. Their children automatically become American citizens. Too fricken' bad! Send them back, children in tow. They don't stimulate the economy. Most of them end up sending most of their money back to the countries they came from-to their families. Why do you think most of them ride bicycles or walk. They certainly make enough after a while to at least buy a used car. But they don't. One guy I spoke with said he was here to make money to send to his father in Mexico to help him start a business...IN MEXICO! They are using and abusing America. All of their healthcare is free. They use ER's for colds. They get help from the American government for everything. And, THAT comes out of your pocket and mine.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't like being branded as the stupid taxpayer that pays for these people to have babies and get welfare. Go home, fix your country, and make it a place that I want to sneak into.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Illegals should have no privileges at all. Send them back.
      Chuck Crow
      • 2 Years Ago
      North Carolina elected a govenor who will do what is necessary to help the people of his state, even when the needs are not politically easy to do.
      • 2 Years Ago
      What is an illegal doing with a driver's permit? If you know that that person is here illegally why isn't he/she being deported? Too many deaths have occured by drunk illegals out on our streets. I know this for a fact because my aunt, uncle, and cousin were killed by a drunk illegal immigrant that fled to Mexico as soon as he made bail. Don't give them the same rights that a "legal" immigrant has Earned.
      • 2 Years Ago
      They ARE ILLEGAL,,,,,, Whats the problem??
      • 2 Years Ago
      your illegal, you shouldn't be getting anything but out of the country, permenantly!!!
      • 2 Years Ago
      Instead of a drivers license, they should get a one way ticket out of the country.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Reading all of the previous comments, I realize I am going to get a lot of nasty comments on this but it has to be said. Suppose you were brought here when you were a baby by illegal parents. You grew up here and do not know anything about your parent's home country, or possibly even their language. You didn't bring yourself here. You didn't commit a crime. Do you think you should be alowed to stay in the only home you know or be forced to go somewhere you have never been because of something your parents did that was out of your control? Let me encourage you, before you answer this, imagine your parents are American but they took you to Norway. Should they let you stay in Norway or send you to America where you have no family, no home, no way of supporting yourself and and perhaps cannot even speak the language?
      • 2 Years Ago
      After Obama took office, did he request the Congress to take action? For a decade the Congress sat on it. Is Obama trying to lead by retroactive executive action? Perhaps just another excuse for Obama to play dictator? I wondering when the Congress will stand up against this skinny bully?
      • 2 Years Ago
      Next they'll have seperate restroomds.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Let me get this right? Someone comes into USA and stays beyond their legal terms or just sneaks in. Why are we letting others dictate to us on what kind of perks they should receive. Immigration is a great thing but when it is done illegally it destroys the whole concept.
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