When he was considering what to do about driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants given two-year work permits under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program from President Barack Obama, North Carolina Transportation Secretary Tony Tata was careful to say the confusion about the granting of licenses wasn’t his fault. It all started under the previous governor.
But now, with plans to issue licenses to these younger immigrants, who are going to school and working and trying to better their lives and may hope to gain legal status one day, Tata has ownership of the issue. He agreed to grant licenses for those under the DACA program after state Attorney General Roy Cooper said it was the right thing to do.
That was a hopeful development. But Tata’s Division of Motor Vehicles is turning the license into a badge of shame. It might as well come with a Scarlett Letter. It is fuchsia-colored and brands the holder (who’s going to have it legally, remember) as an exception to the normal license holder in three ways in addition to the color.
The license design says “Limited Term” along the right edge. The words “DEFERRED ACTION” appear as a background graphic in the lower center of the license. The “No Lawful Status” label is across the bottom.
While we might expect demagoguery in politics and popular culture, we should not see it on official documents issued by the government. ..
There’s some irony here, of course, in that the secretary has time to allow his staff to engage in this foolishness while he names an $85,000-a-year deputy commissioner as head of enforcing the state’s car inspection and registration laws who, as it turns out, had an inspection and registration problem with his own car. …
Unfortunately, there’s more news on the license front. And it’s almost as embarrassing as the design.
Four freshman Republican state House members have introduced a bill that would put a delay on the issuance of the DACA licenses. So they’d go against an opinion from the state Attorney General’s Office, against a decision from the transportation secretary of a Republican governor, and ultimately against a program, a perfectly reasonable and legal program, established by the president of the United States. …