N.C. yanks immigrants' driver's licenses

Jan. 16, 2013 at 2:39 PM
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CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 16 (UPI) -- North Carolina revoked young illegal immigrants' driver's licenses pending a ruling on whether the federally protected immigrants may drive under state law.

The state's Department of Motor Vehicles in Raleigh said it would stop issuing driver's licenses to an estimated 180,000 young men and women -- who got reprieves from deportation under the Obama administration program last year to help a generation of illegal immigrants who grew up in the United States -- until state Attorney General Roy Cooper issues his opinion, The Charlotte Observer reported Wednesday.

The Observer said there has been confusion on whether the state confers legal status and driving privileges on the participants in the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The participants are those who arrived in the United States before the age of 16, are currently younger than 30 and have had no trouble with the law, the newspaper said.

Some of the North Carolina participants immediately applied for driver's licenses and some were granted driving privileges.

Marge Howell, a DMV spokeswoman, said Tuesday an internal review of the DMV's records revealed 13 licenses unintentionally had been issued to participants in the federal program before federal database updates were finished.

"To maintain consistency of policy, the DMV mailed notification to these applicants on Jan. 11 letting them know their licenses were issued in error, therefore their driving privileges have been canceled," she said.

Immigration lawyers said they believed more than 13 licenses were issued, but did not have a firm number.

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