Summary from the Charlotte Observer:
North Carolina is preparing to issue a distinctive driver’s license to young illegal immigrants who have been granted federal protection from deportation for two years. A mockup of the license, provided by the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles, displays the words “No Lawful Status” in stark, red letters, along with “Limited Term” on the side of the license. In case the message isn’t clear enough, the “State of North Carolina” bar across the top is a bold, bright pink.
Critics of the license say it will stigmatize immigrants who’ve been granted “deferred action” status by the Obama administration – meaning their presence in the U.S. is temporary but legal. People who see the license – such as bartenders or grocer checkout clerks – might not know the difference between lawful status and legal presence, and that misunderstanding might lead to unnecessary trouble.
Invite members of your congregation to place a small piece of pink tape on their licenses as a sign of solidarity with those who are being unfairly singled out. You can mention it during your worship service and then have a simple information table wherever people gather after the service. You may want to email your congregation ahead of time to give them more information about the action. Also, you can use this sample press release if you are interested in telling local media about your congregation’s response.
Several congregations have already taken part in this with great enthusiasm. You can read more about it here:
- Clergy, others protest distinctive license for deferred-deportation drivers (Raleigh News & Observer)
- Religious leaders protest license markings (Durham Herald-Sun)
If you take part in the “Pink Tape Protest,” be sure to let us know so that we can help highlight the statewide response from faith communities and congregations. Thank you.
You can look for the pink tape at local office supply stores. One local congregation consulted an attorney and found that there is no statue prohibiting something being stuck on to one’s driver’s license. We have been advised that the license should remain legible — don’t cover up your name, address, description, photo, etc. What we will be suggesting is to use a piece of fuchsia or pink tape along an edge such part of the tape is visible on the front side and part on the back side, the tape is visible but not blocking any relevant information.
Sign the Pledge
- NEW U.S. immigrants decry “scarlet letter” drivers licenses in North Carolina (Reuters)
- Letter to the Editor: On Pink Licenses (Raleigh News & Observer)
- N.C. driver’s license for all non-citizens unique among states (Winston-Salem Journal)
- State House bill would make pink DACA licenses look like everyone else’s (Winston-Salem Journal)
- North Carolina to Give Some Immigrants Driver’s Licenses, With a Pink Stripe (NY Times)
- NEW NC’s immigrant driver’s license plan sparks protests (USA Today)
- Scarlet Letter licenses? Give me one, too. (NC Policy Watch)
- Not so pretty in pink (NC Policy Watch)
- Special licenses for immigrants draw protests in North Carolina (LA Times)
- Pink driver’s licenses: What’s the benefit? (Charlotte Observer)
- New N.C. driver’s licenses will flag non-U.S. citizens (Winston-Salem Journal)
- DMV will issue driver’s licenses to some illegal immigrants (WRAL)
- August 15, 2012 – US Department of Homeland Security begins accepting applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Through January 2013 they received about 15,000 applications from North Carolina.
- Fall 2012 – NC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) begins issuing drivers licenses to DACA recipients.
- January 10, 2013 – NC DMV stops issuing drivers licenses to DACA recipients altogether.
- January 17, 2013 – NC DMV receives a letter from NC Attorney General’s office clarifying the state’s position on the legality of issuing drivers licenses for DACA recipients.
- Conclusion: “It is therefore our opinion that individuals who have been granted deferred action under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy directive are lawfully present in the United States during the period of deferment. 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 licenses be issued.”
- February 14, 2013 – NC DMV announced that it would begin issuing licenses to DACA recipients on March 25, 2013. The licenses will include a pink bar across the top and the words “NO LAWFUL STATUS” in a prominent location. Immigrant rights organizations and faith-based congregations immediately began protesting.
- February 28, 2013 – NC House Democrats introduce a bill that would require the DACA licenses to appear the same as everyone else’s.
- March 2-3, 2013 – Triangle-area congregations began the “Pink Tape Protest” to raise awareness about this action. They received major media coverage in two local newspapers.
Got questions? Ideas? Leave us a comment below. Thanks.
-Chris Liu-Beers, Program Associate