Transportation Secretary Tony Tata and Motor Vehicles Commissioner James Forte say they will announce their decision at 4 p.m. today on whether to comply with a Jan. 17 ruling from the state Attorney General's Office that said DMV should issue driver's licenses to young illegal immigrants taking part in a federal program that postpones their deportation.
(2/15/13 update: See story with reader comments: N.C. to give driver's licenses to immigrants in Deferred Action program.)
The issue affects teens and young adults – estimated at 18,000 to 50,000 in North Carolina – who were brought to the United States illegally as children. The Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program provides two-year work permits, and a deferral of deportation, for = young immigrants who meet certain qualifications.
Non-citizens who apply for driver’s licenses must provide documents to prove their “legal presence” in North Carolina, under state law. Former DMV Commissioner Mike Robertson asked Attorney General Roy Cooper in September for legal advice on whether DACA participants meet that requirement.
Yes, Cooper's office replied in a Jan. 17 letter from Grayson Kelley, chief deputy attorney general. DACA work permits show that the federal government has certified that their presence here is legal for two years. It does not change their long-term status as illegal immigrants, Kelley wrote. ... [MORE]