Immigrants granted deferred action qualify for driver's licenses in NC

Published: Aug. 23, 2012 at 10:27 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 22, 2012 at 10:27 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The question of whether or not states should give driver's licenses to some undocumented immigrants is at the heart of the latest immigration debate.

"They let you get registration under your name, they let you get insurance under your name, they let you get all that stuff, but they don't let you get a license," said Luis Serrano, an undocumented immigrant.

In Arizona, Governor Jan Brewer ordered officials not to issue licenses to immigrants granted "deferred action."

"They're not entitled to driver's licenses, unless they're here lawfully and they're not entitled to that unless they are here legally and lawfully, " said Brewer.

Under the new program, qualifying immigrants under age 30 can apply for a two-year work permit.

But it's up to each state to decide if they can receive driver's licenses.

Governors in Texas, Arizona and Nebraska are against it.

Georgia and California are allowing it.

At the Latin-American coalition in Charlotte, staff members are slammed with calls from participants asking if they can get their driver's license.

In North Carolina, deferred action participants can get their driver's license as long as they have all of the required documents.

"Nothing has changed, there's a form I-797 which is the notice of action form from the federal government, we have already been accepting that form, one of several forms that a non-U.S. citizen has to have that shows they're legally in the united states, " said Steve Abbott, a spokesperson with the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

The license is only valid for two years.