Immigrants get licenses under DACA program - WNCN: News, Weather

Immigrants get licenses under DACA program

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Stephanie Perez (right) gets NC license Stephanie Perez (right) gets NC license
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Several people in the Latino community showed up at the Department of Motor Vehicles office on Spring Forest Road Monday to show their support for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that made it possible for them to apply for a driver's license.

Monday was the first day North Carolina completed the issuances under the program.

One line on the ID is still a sticking point for many Latinos. But the fear of getting pulled over is in past.

Stephanie Perez, 19, is now a legal North Carolina driver after getting her license Monday at a different DMV office, on Avent Ferry Road in Raleigh.

She said the deferred action for immigration youth changed her life. 

"My plan before this program was to finish high school and go to Mexico and continue my career over there," Perez said. "But since this program, I decided to finish school, go to college."

The deferred action program is geared toward young illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

Perez moved from Mexico City when she was 1 year old. And like thousands of other young illegal immigrants in North Carolina, she can get a job – and now a driver's license.

"I will get a job as soon as I get my license, because I can't drive to my job without a license," she said.

Her license will look like a normal ID, but with "legal presence no lawful status" in small print. That's a notation many Latino groups say is a violation of privacy.

The DMV says it is ready for, and expects, an influx of applications. The DMV announced after 5 p.m. that it had processed 314 issuances = statewide to applicants qualified under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program

 "They have to take the same test as anyone else," DMV spokeswoman Margaret Howell said. "If they are first-time driver, they have to take the driving test as well as the written knowledge test."

Melanie Sanders

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