Republican Gov. Pat McCrory's administration plans to issue driver licenses with a bright pink stripe and the words "NO LAWFUL STATUS" to young adults participating in the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The Obama administration initiative grants valid federal work permits to qualified applicants brought to the United States without legal authorization when they were children.
The Division of Motor Vehicles is set to begin issuing the pink licenses March 25.
Supporters of the pink stripe say it's a clear way of identifying people, but immigration advocates and groups like the ACLU have come out in opposition. Even some people of faith - including a few in the Jewish community - say the license proposal is hurtful and reminds them of one particularly shameful time in history.
"Not a great analogy but you know, the Germans did it with the Jews and homosexuals in terms of the pink triangles and the Stars of David, to label folks and think of them as other, when we all, I think, have more in common than differences," offered the Rev. John Saxon with the Unitarian Universalist Church.
But supporters of the pink stripe say there must be a way to tell who is in the country legally with full rights.
Governor McCrory has said he supports the marked licenses because they would prevent undocumented immigrants from voting or trying to access certain government services.
The requirements for the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program say applicants must have come to the U.S. before they turned 16, be younger than 30, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, be in school or have graduated from high school or a GED program, or have served in the military.
Nationwide, the program affects an estimated 800,000 immigrants who are now protected from deportation. They also were allowed to apply for a two-year renewable work permit.