- The Progressive Pulse - http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org -

Going to Maricopa in my mind

Our great state is poised to become the only state in the union [1] – 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? [2]

Under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, more than 15,000 North Carolinians are newly eligible [3] for driver’s licenses. The license designed for DACA drivers and approved by new Transportation Secretary Tony Tata [4] 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 [5] 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 [6] 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 [7] had come and gone, but signs that might be omens say we’re going to Maricopa and out of our minds.