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DACA drivers' licensesYou just knew there had to be a catch when new North Carolina Transportation Secretary Anthony Tata was dragged kicking and screaming to do the right (and undeniably lawful) thing  for immigrants granted the right to stay in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program last Friday. It would have just been too easy and humane to actually just give folks their licenses and let it go at that. Somehow, something had to be done to appease the anti-immigrant crowd both within and without state government.

So, here’s the stupid and unnecessary idea Tata’s people have cooked up: funny looking licenses. We are not making this up. In a move that would clearly make Arizona’s crazy immigrant-hating Sheriff Joe “pink-underwear-for-inmates” Arpaio smile, DOT will issue issue drivers’ licenses to the immigrants that will look very different from an average adult’s.  Read More

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From the good folks at the ACLU of North Carolina:

RALEIGH –A young immigrant who meets all requirements for a North Carolina driver’s license but has been denied a learner’s permit while officials reconsider the state’s policy will deliver a petition with more than 22,000 signatures to the office of North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory today that urges the governor to support issuing licenses to qualified immigrants who want to drive safely and legally in the state.

More than three weeks after the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office said that young immigrants who qualify under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are “lawfully present” and should be granted driver’s licenses, North Carolina officials have still not announced a decision about the state’s policy. Read More

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Anthony TataHey, we know former Wake schools boss Anthony Tata is both not a lawyer and new in his job as DOT Secretary, but how long does it take to read a three-page letter?

Two weeks ago, the new Transportation secretary said he’d do whatever the law required on the question of issuing driver’s license to young immigrants who’d obtained “deferred action” status under President Obama’s new initiative from last summer. One week ago, the state Attorney General told him what the law says (a fact not really open to dispute) in a three-page letter.  Here’s the conclusion:

“As such, N.C. Gen. Stat. 20-7(s) , which states that DMV shall issue a drivers license of limited duration to persons who present valid documentation demonstrating deferment and meet all other statutory requirements, requires that such license be issued.”

It’s now been a week and Tata is still “reviewing it.” Meanwhile, thousands of good kids suffer for no good reason. Come on, General, decide.

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DACA DOT protestersAbout 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. Read More

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By Mike Meno, Communications Director of the ACLU of North Carolina

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil rights lawsuit against Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson yesterday, charging that under his direction, the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) has systematically and unlawfully targeted Latino residents for investigation, traffic stops, arrests, seizures, and other enforcement actions since at least 2007. The lawsuit asks a federal court to order Sheriff Johnson to refrain from discriminatory policing and for the ACSO to adopt and implement policies that would constitutionally protect and serve all county residents.

The ACLU and other groups have been receiving complaints about Johnson, his deputies, and their treatment of Latinos for years. But some of the alleged examples of Sheriff Johnson’s own prejudice and policing style outlined in yesterday’s lawsuit – which resulted from a two-year investigation and interviews with more than 100 witnesses – are truly shocking.

Among them:

-“In a staff meeting … in January 2007, Defendant Johnson yelled “bring me some Mexicans!” while banging his fists on the table.” Read More