The licenses, which bear a bright colored stripe, officially deemed fuchsia by the state, across the top, bearing the words "no lawful status" in red across the bottom, The Charlotte Observer said Monday. McCrory defended criticism the licenses are discriminatory, saying it was important to distinguish identification granted to American citizens and those granted immunity from deportation by the Obama administration last year.
Obama signed an executive order barring deportation of those brought to America illegally when they were younger than 16, are 30 or younger now, and who have graduated high school and attended college or served in the military.
"I thought it was a very sound resolution based upon on federal and [the North Carolina] attorney general's ruling," McCrory said.
Immigration advocate Armando Bellmas of the Latin American Coalition in Charlotte said the pink licenses imply a "second class" of drivers in the state.
"The way these licenses have been issued is a direct attack on the immigrant community in North Carolina," he said in a statement.
More than 15,000 illegal immigrants have applied for a driver's license. The state estimated 18,000 people are eligible.