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N.C. Attorney General to DMV: Young immigrants qualify for licenses

dmv-DACA [1]The North Carolina Attorney General’s Office informed the Division of Motor Vehicles Thursday that immigrants who have been granted work permits under the federal program known as DACA meet all requirements for North Carolina driver’s licenses, and should therefore be issued licenses by the DMV.

Recently the DMV stopped granting licenses to young immigrants who had been granted the two-year work permits under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, seeking a legal opinion from the state attorney general.

In a three-page letter, Chief Deputy Attorney General Grayson Kelly wrote DACA recipients are “lawfully present” in the United States and meet all the requirements for receiving licenses:

Kelley_Daca [2]





The January 17th opinion won quick praise from the NC Justice Center [3] and the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation [4].

“We’re pleased that the Attorney General’s office has chosen to follow the law,” said Kate Woomer-Deters, an attorney with the NC Justice Center’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. “Allowing young immigrants access to driver’s licenses is the right thing to do, and we commend the state for coming to that conclusion.”

“In light of this clear opinion, the DMV should do the right thing and reinstate its policy of granting licenses to all qualified drivers who have received deferred action,” said Raul Pinto, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation. “There is no reason – legal or otherwise – why the DMV should prevent immigrants authorized to live and work in the United States from driving and further contributing to our state and society.”

To read the full letter from the Attorney General’s office, click here [5].