About 50 young people gathered on a frigid morning outside the offices of the state Department of Transportation in downtown Raleigh today to protest the Department’s obstruction and foot-dragging in the issuance of driver’s licenses to young people who have obtained the right to be lawfully present in the United States under the federal government’s Deferred Action program (DACA).
With chants of “out on the streets and into our cars,” the young people demanded immediate action by the Department to heed a recent opinion from the state’s Attorney General that the issuance of licenses to such applicants is both legal and required.
The demonstrators, which included participants in their ranks from as far away as Asheville, called the Department’s inaction “discrimination” and demanded that its leaders “stop bullying immigrant youth.”
One young woman from Sanford, a 21-year mother who came to the U.S. at two years of age and who graduated from high school in 2009 with a grade point average above 4.0, explained that she was unable to work and frequently found herself begging rides to attend doctor appointments with her child because she could not obtain a license.
Others told similar stories of being brought to the U.S. as small children and of growing up with the feeling of being fully American, but now facing the impossible situation of being unable to live a normal life despite having “played by the rules” (and, in many cases, succeeded remarkably well) in every other important area of their lives
Perhaps the most poignant moment in the event however (and, hopefully, most persuasive to anyone who harbors any doubts about the validity of the demonstrators’ demands or their status as genuine North Carolinians), came when a young man named Jose Rico was addressing to the crowd and urging them to speak out. On multiple occasions, Rico prefaced his statements with the un-selfconscious words “come on y’all!”
He was, in short, despite a modest Spansish accent, a young North Carolinian speaking to a group of his fellow Tar Heels. Let’s hope the McCrory-Pope administration wakes up to this reality in short order.