Immigrants march for North Carolina driver's licenses

Protestors marched to the Governor's Mansion demanding McCrory & lawmakers take action on immigration reform.
March 23, 2014 7:50:31 AM PDT
Several hundred protestors marched to the Governor's Mansion Saturday afternoon demanding Governor Pat McCrory and state lawmakers take action on immigration reform.

The march stopped at the Governor's Mansion and the legislative building in the newest push for more protection under state law.

The "March of Licenses" is an effort to encourage the state to issue driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants.

Hundreds of immigrants and their supporters marched in hopes of being able to drive in North Carolina.

They started on Fayetteville Street outside of some banks -- symbolizing that immigrants are financial contributors in this state. The group then went to the General Assembly and the Governor's Mansion, before ending at the Capitol.

An organizer says fear drove these people to pound the pavement.

"Whenever they have a call from the school or their child is sick, they're scared to get on the road to go pick up their child because if a police officer stops them that's another ticket and depending on what county you live in, that might even lead to deportation," said Sergio Sanchez, "March for Licenses" organizer.

A bill giving all undocumented immigrants the right to get a driver's license never made it through the General Assembly.

Right now in the state, immigrants brought here illegally as children can get one of these cards at the DMV. Their parents though are at a loss and left with the challenge of how to get around making a living for the family.

"Sometimes I have to work out of state so I have to try a lot," said Jose Rosel.

A recently released study by the state Department of Public Safety concluded that giving driving permits to immigrants in the state illegally should lead to safer driving, although there's no established statistical basis to verify that conclusion.

The study also listed the downsides to issuing the licenses, including more resources needed for the Division of Motor Vehicles and the influx of applicants, many of whom may not pass the exam.

"Law enforcement has a problem identifying who is behind the wheel but also in the communities. What we're trying to do is weed out the bad people who are living amongst the good people and the only way you're going to do that is if you identify everybody and put them in a database," Sanchez said.

There is no legislation being considered on this issue right now. The group is hoping their voices were heard, and the march gets the ball rolling and helps them get behind the wheel legally.


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