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RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) -
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation says a new design for driver's licenses the N.C. Department of Transportation unveiled Thursday for young immigrants receiving work permits through the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) is a step in the right direction, but that concerns about the licenses remain.
"This new look is a huge step in the right direction," said Raul Pinto, staff attorney for the ACLU of North Carolina. "By eliminating the bright pink stripe and adding the words ‘legal presence,' this new design should help reduce the chances that young immigrants receiving deferred action will face discrimination or harassment when they show their driver's license. However, we still question the necessity of including distinguishing language such as ‘no lawful status' on the licenses and will be watching closely to see how these changes are implemented."
The ACLU-NC and many others had previously voiced concerns that specially marked licenses for DACA recipients would create possible avenues for harassment, discrimination, and stigmatization.
The original design of the licenses released by state officials included a bright pink stripe and a vertical design.
The federal DACA program blocks deportation for young immigrants who came to the U.S. before they turned 16, are not older than 31, have graduated high school or attended college, or served in the military. DACA recipients are "legally present" in the U.S. and are eligible to obtain all DMV-required documentation, including Social Security numbers and employment authorization.