Going to Maricopa in my mind


Our great state is poised to become the only state in the union – we’re still in that, right? – to provide all non-citizen drivers with licenses that clearly mark them as such, even those with green cards and visas. Why would the Department of Transportation want to make business executives and academics and permanent residents carry the cerise signifier? So that those uppity DREAM kids don’t think they’re hot stuff with their new licenses, that’s why. Who picked the magenta mark anyway? Joe Arpaio?

Under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, more than 15,000 North Carolinians are newly eligible for driver’s licenses. The license designed for DACA drivers and approved by new Transportation Secretary Tony Tata includes a bold pink header and the words “LIMITED TERM” and “NO LAWFUL STATUS” in red. This is nonsensical. A driver’s license confers LEGAL STATUS to drive. How, if you have one, can you be accused of having no legal status? If you’re concerned about immigration status (and if you’re not the federal government, you probably shouldn’t be), you can ask for visas and passports and work permits and such. North Carolina has no need to issue such a discriminatory license to her drivers. New licenses issued to other non-citizens will also have the fuchsia front, though presumably DOT will be kind enough to leave off the bit about legal status.

The wording was meant to ‘safeguard the rights of North Carolinians,’ said Greer Beaty, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, who said that she has not received any negative feedback about the design. ‘There are rights that average folks who are citizens have, such as a right to vote. This is a way –– with this, you would know that someone who has the pink bar at the top, they do not have the right to vote.’”

Greer, darling, you don’t need a driver’s license to vote in North Carolina. Why don’t you leave voter registration to the proper authorities?

Lucky for us there’s a bill in the House that will prevent the DACA drivers from getting their licenses at all. Wait, is it really better for them to be unlicensed? I don’t get it. Failing that, however, the new design for non-citizens has our governor’s seal of approval partly because it will prevent the holders from voting. Didn’t I just go over this with Greer? Before even our greased lightning legislature can pass a voter ID bill, there are state authorities – including the second highest one! – using voter ID to discriminate against people. That’s beautiful, isn’t it? I thought color-coded oppression had come and gone, but signs that might be omens say we’re going to Maricopa and out of our minds.

7 Comments

  1. Doug

    February 26, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Unfortunately we are still in the Union…I am sure one day we will wish we were not.

    Why would we not want to designate a non-citizen ID? We designate licenses for younger, provisional drivers, CDL licenses have differences, autos in DC have diplomatic plates for people from other countries, cars from Mexico/Canada coming into the US are different from ours in the US, SC license plates are different from NC. Why would you not have a designation for a non-citizen so it could be verified when say this person tries to sign up to vote, or signs up for some welfare benefits, or is stopped by police? There is no rational reason not to have some kind of signifier.

  2. Jack

    February 26, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    There are rights that average folks who are citizens have, such as a right to vote. This is a way –– with this, you would know that someone who has the pink bar at the top, they do not have the right to vote.

    Dear Greer Beaty:

    You’re talking about a privilege not a right. As I was taught in Driver’s Ed, “Driving is a privilege not a right.”

    If it turns out that I have to show papers at the voting poll to be able to vote then the state is granting me the privilege to vote not the right to vote. Therefore, the state can revoke my privilege to vote any time it pleases whether I have a pink bar or not.

  3. david esmay

    February 26, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Fortunately the Union prevailed, maybe all those who have this romantic vision of the south that never existed can start their own country outside of our borders. They can call it Teabagistan and all it’s residents can sit around all day complementing each other on what great patriots they are.

    99.999% of Americans are thankful every day that we are one country, not two, not fifty.

  4. Jack

    February 26, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    “SC license plates are different from NC.” So what? My hair color is most likely a different color than yours. What’s your point?

    The agreements the U.S. has with other counties concerning license plates and other designations is part of an international effort worked out by both sides with both sides at the table. A license for those with “NO LAWFUL STATUS” is a political statement by the state about a highly charged politicized issue in most of the country.

    The license with pink bars might was well read: “THIS PERSON HAS NO RIGHTS WHAT SO EVER, DO AS YOU WISH.”

    As for who chose pink to be the color of the bar we can only guess at their motive.

  5. Alex

    February 26, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    I have a friend whose wife was killed, and he was permanently disabled by a drunken, illegal immigrant who had no license and no insurance. Certainly, anything we come up with is better than that situation.

  6. david esmay

    February 27, 2013 at 6:49 am

    Yes Alex, we should only be at risk from drunken U.S. citizens and resident aliens without licenses or insurance.

  7. Jack

    February 27, 2013 at 9:16 am

    For that I am sorry. We all have our story to tell.