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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -
United 4 the Dream (U4TD) rallied Wednesday to demand the Department of Motor Vehicles reinstate driving privileges to Deferred Action recipients.
The rally took place at the NCDMV located at 8446 North Tryon Street on Tuesday, January 22, from 9 to 11 a.m.
Licenses had been issued until January 15, when the DMV asked for clarification of eligibility from the North Carolina attorney general's office. The attorney general's office weighed in late last week to clarify that DACA recipients are entitled to a license under North Carolina law, but the DMV has not made a decision yet.
"This is mean-spirited politics. There is no reason for our state to deny driver's licenses to people that the federal government says are fine to be here. It doesn't make any sense to, on the one hand, say they can work, and, other the hand, say but you can't drive there," said Elver Barrios, youth leader with United 4 the DREAM.
Under the new Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals(DACA) program, immigrants brought to the country illegally as children under age 31 qualify for a two-year work permit. But whether or not they qualify for a license is up to each state.
Barrios says he needs a license to get to work.
"It's important I own a business and I need to be able to move, to drive, that's the only way I can work," said Barrios.
But opponents say granting the group driver's licenses encourages illegal immigration.
"We have certain citizenship and immigration laws in place and you just can't sweep those laws under the rug and say well, we want to follow all the laws, except for this one," said NC Representative Kelly Hastings of Cleveland County.
WBTV sent numerous phone calls and emails to the DMV requesting answers before it finally issued this statement Tuesday:
"It took four months for the Attorney General to offer his opinion; it will take the DMV a few days to review that ruling and all its potential implications. We will notify the public once our review is complete."