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The Latin American Coalition and United 4 The Dream held a rally against the North Carolina DMV's plan to issue distinct pink licenses to non-citizens in North Carolina, starting with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.
"We want normal license for them, for us - for everyone," Latin American Coalition Armando Bellmas said. "They are not immigration enforcement agents. They are Department of Motor Vehicle. They give us permission to drive - not give us a declaration of legal status."
Bellmas and about 20 other people showed up on Trade and Tryon alerting people the pink licenses were to take place on March 24th. The rally was to protest a new North Carolina driver's license set to be issued to some illegal immigrants that has a bright pink stripe and the bold words "NO LAWFUL STATUS."
"These young people will have to walk into a Harris Teeter and show a license for a bottle or wine," Bellmas said. "Showing they are different. The cashier doesn't need to know that."
The license has raised concerns about whether the design will brand those who show it and put the immigrants in harm's way.
"If I show up with one of these licenses," Bellmas said. "They're going to discriminate, a bias person may not know what a pink license is. That opens the door."
United 4 The Dream said the rally was to inform the public and encourage those passing by to take their photograph in a life-size pink driver's licenses, asking the question "Does this driver's license make me look illegal?"
The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles announced recently they would begin issuing the licenses March 25, following a lengthy legal review. But the protestors hope law makers will step in and change the new license.
State officials say the pink license will offer a balance between protecting North Carolinians and giving people who are illegal the right to drive. Some think the new license is a step in the right direction.
"Those people who get upset about this," Duke Professor of Public Policy and Economics Jacob Vigdor said. "Whatever they want to call it - a Scarlet letter - need to stop and think we are actually doing something for these people that most of the other states decide not to do, and that is allow them to drive legally in the state of NC."
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.