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Hello! My name is Alejandra. I live in Liberty, NC. I’m 18 years old and I am undocumented.
I was brought to this country when I was only 13 months old. I’ve been here basically all my life and now I have the chance to help my family! My mom has been driving without a driver’s license since 2007. In these past six years, she hasn’t been able to go out anywhere without being afraid of getting pulled over. She’s gotten pulled over twice already. But what can she do? She has to work in order for us to eat and she can’t be looking for a ride all the time. Everyone has their own life and we can’t always be looking for people to take us places.
This is why I can’t wait to get my pink license! I don’t like the idea that everyone who I show my driver’s license to will know my immigration status. The truth is I’m tired though. I’m tired of hiding that I am undocumented. My immigration status does not determine my worth. As of March 25th, I too will drive without fear! I wont be scared when a cop pulls up behind me on my my way to work, afraid he’ll check my plate to find that I’ve been previously pulled over for no driver’s license . More importantly, I’ll be able to drive my mom where she needs to go. Pink stripe or no pink stripe, I’m ready for my driver’s license!
I’m undocumented: my parents brought me, my brother, and my sister to the United States when I was only 7 years old. We were looking for a better life. I remember when we first got here I was very excited about learning a new language but more than anything to see my father again.
The excitement only lasted a couple of years though because around when I turned 10, we stopped going out. You know, the things all families do: dine out or go to the mall or take trips to the beach. It was all because my father’s driver’s license had expired and we couldn’t risk driving around because he could get pulled over at any time. My mother lost her job and wasn’t able to get a new one because she doesn’t have a social security number – she’s also undocumented. Soon my brother and sister graduated from high school, but they couldn’t keep on with their education because they were undocumented as well.
Little by little, I realized what having “no lawful status” means. My plans, my dreams of joining the army or becoming a psychologist were fading away because I knew there was no way of moving forward with my life and going to college is going to be almost impossible. It seemed as if, as soon as I got out of high school, I would be stuck flipping burgers for the rest of my illegal life. I used this as an excuse for not doing well in school. In fact, going to school became pointless for me and I’m pretty sure for many others like me too. We don’t drop out because we don’t want to be in school. We give up because we don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
This is my last year of high school and I thank God for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Now after high school, just like my other friends with papers, I will have the luxury of several job options. I look forward to attending college or joining the Navy and obtaining a driver’s license. My senior year has been totally different from what I expected it to be: I have joined the JROTC program at Enloe High! I have better grades in my classes because I now look forward to a better future.
There is, however, one part of the licenses we’re going to be issued that I don’t really like. The North Carolina DMV has decided to mark the licenses of DACA beneficiaries with a pink stripe on top and other unnecessary labels that make our licenses look different from the rest. I think this difference will only create situations that will often lead to ethnic prejudice every time we need to show our licenses. It’s possible that the authorities will use our distinctive license against us.
Although my license will be looking different from those of my friends, I am still very thankful that I’ll be able to drive legally in North Carolina, and not only me but my siblings too. This license will make the state of North Carolina safer by letting us drive legally and authorized. To me the color and “No Lawful Status” label added to the license won’t stop me from getting one; they could even make our licenses triangle shaped, rainbow colored or any other thing to mark a difference between us and those with papers. As long as I can drive, work, go to college and accomplish my goals legally in this state, that is what matters.
Ungrateful? No. I’d say I’m realistic. I have decided I will not be getting a pink license. This decision has not only surprised my friends but also my family. I understand that by not getting one not only will it affect me but also them. The truth is I have been discriminated against for the past thirteen years that I’ve lived in this country. I’m sick and tired of it. On March 25th, I plan to come out publicly about my immigration status because I refuse to be further discriminated, but more importantly because I refuse to continue to live in the shadows and afraid. I will continue to drive without a license and I will do so without fear.
I thank my friends, family, teammates and all of those who supported us the dreamers back in January when we were fighting to get our license. I was one of those who were at the rallies, demanding equal rights. I never thought that we would be issued licences that brand us and single us out in red letters: “No Lawful Status”. Why not “Legal Presence” instead? After all, we do hold legal presence.
I’ve been in this country for thirteen years. I’ve missed my grandparents’ birthdays and their funerals. I’ve missed Mexico too. I’ve been asked before why I don’t just go back. I don’t go back because I’m not giving up. I have dreams and goals I want to achieve. Also, my family is here. But living in the US has not been easy. Fourth grade was hard – I got bullied because I speak English with an accent. In middle school, the problem was my skin color. And in high school.. well that’s when I realized what it means to be illegal. It was during junior and senior year that I understood everything perfectly. Not only was my skin color the problem, but also my immigration status. Senior year, while everyone was filling out their college applications, a classmate who was also illegal and I were the only ones not doing it. Not because we didn’t want to but because we couldn’t. I will never forget what I felt during that time.
We all have decisions to make and I know that at the end of the day a license is a license, and boy do I need it. But.. no, thank you. I have decided not to get a pink license because I refuse to allow anyone else to single me out, bully me, or make me feel less human and less of a person because of my immigration status. This will not keep me from driving, however. I will be driving without fear!
As part of the NC Dream Team, I believe in the power of organizing. I believe in the power of my community to stand up and fight back. Whether you have to get a pink license or you choose not to, I encourage you to DROP THE FEAR. What matters is that we drop the fear of ICE or the police and acknowledge the power we have as a community to fight back. On March 25th, I am driving without fear. Will you be there? Will you drop the fear?
Where: DMV on 2431 Spring Forest Road, North Raleigh, NC, 27615
Time: 3 pm
Cinthia Marroquin and Jose Rico will be speaking shortly at a press conference held by sponsors of House Bill 184, a bill proposal led by Democrat house members at our state’s legislature that asks for DACA licenses that look like everyone elses, without the pink stripe and without the red label “No Lawful Status”.
As undocumented youth tired of the friendly but weightless rhetoric of Washington, D.C.’s Democratic leadership that preaches immigration reform but continues to deport and separate our families, we hope our state’s local Democratic leadership is not too late to stand on the side of NC’s immigrant community. In 2005, when Democrats controlled the legislature they kept a proposal for in-state tuition for undocumented students from passing. It’s been 8 years since then. What we call for today is bipartisan leadership to move North Carolina forward. Both Democrats and Republicans have a stake in this matter.
February 14, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Deferred Action Beneficiaries Respond to NCDOT Secretary Anthony Tata’s Announcement
Raleigh, NC—February 14, 2013 North Carolina immigrant youth welcome the announcement from NCDOT Secretary Anthony Tata to re-issue drivers licenses to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries. The announcement is a belated victory for undocumented youth throughout North Carolina who have been organizing to publicly demand that Anthony Tata execute his responsibilities as Secretary of Transportation without discriminatory and predatory practices.
While the announcement is a positive one, immigrant youth and North Carolina’s Hispanic community must remain vigilant of these types of political tactics that marginalize communities and add to the anti immigrant rhetoric that has become a staple of local politicians. Mayra Aguilar, a DACA beneficiary and young mother organized her community to rally outside the Department of Transportation. She states, “ the decision to deny such drivers licenses has clearly been politically motivated from the beginning and moving forward we expect better from the leadership of this state and their treatment of the Hispanic population”.
Of note in the announcement is that licenses issued to DACA beneficiaries will have a clearly marked label to indicate the card holder does not have lawful status. This is of concern for practical and economic reasons but especially for the prevailing anti immigrant tones. Today, a group of DACA beneficiaries were not allowed to be at the press conference and had to wait outside. These youth sought accountability from Anthony Tata and he ignored them on his way out.
This kind of continued treatment towards the Hispanic community is unfair.
“We will have zero tolerance to being used as political pawns when it comes to the safety of our communities” says Cinthia Marroquin, a DACA beneficiary and lead organizer for the NC DREAM Team. “We know this is politics as usual… moving forward, the NC DREAM Team welcomes a better reception from the leadership of this state and especially from our Governor, Pat McCrory who can show true leadership to move NC forward”.
The NC DREAM Team is committed to organizing the immigrant community. Both Democrats and Republicans in the state have a responsibility and stake in this matter.
The NC DREAM Team is an organization composed of undocumented immigrant youth and allies. We are dedicated to the creation of a sustainable, community-led immigrant rights movement in North Carolina. We aim to help undocumented youth recognize our individual and collective power to activate our communities. We also aim to create awareness of the broader struggle for social justice. We do not shy away from purposeful direct action and civil disobedience in the pursuit of a more just future for our immigrant community.
We are meeting with DOT Secretary Tata right now. He has the power to reissue our drivers licenses and has already gotten clarification from Attorney General Cooper on the matter. Why is he holding our licenses hostage? Let him know you stand with immigrant youth!
Call NC Secretary of Transportation Tony Tata RIGHT NOW: 919-707-2800 or 919-707-2834
Sample Script: “Hi, I’m calling to support driver licenses for DACA immigrant youth like Mayra Aguilar who is meeting with Secretary Tata today. Mayra is a young mother and needs to be able to drive without fear. She needs a drivers license and Secretary Tata has a responsibility to keep all of North Carolina safe with licensed and insured drivers. We must put safety over hate politics.”
Let us know what they tell you!
Yesterday we rallied outside the NC Department of Transportation to demand DACA eligible immigrant youth be able to get their driver’s licenses issued. We were there to tel the head of this department, Tony Tata, that we know he has the power to change the NC DMV’s predatory policy and he must do so immediately.
We personally spoke to Tony Tata’s secretary to set up an appointment with him in person. They said they would call to confirm but as of now this has not happened. Meanwhile the anti-immigrant forces and usual bullies are out in full force. They are counting on our silence! Here is what they are saying:
Help us outnumber their calls and emails!
These anti-immigrants are telling Tony Tata and the DMV that they should be against hard working immigrant youth like you and your friends. They are demanding that Tony Tata and the DMV go against USCIS and the NC Attorney Generals’ explicit clarification that DACA holders are in fact eligible for a driver’s license!
We must not sit back now. Make your own 5 calls and send 5 emails. Then ask 5 friends and family members to do the same!
You can use this script and contact information directly on the DOT website:
1. Call Tony Tata: 919-707-2800
Sample Script: “Hi, I’m calling to support driver licenses for DACA immigrant youth. They are legally present in North Carolina as USCIS and the NC Attorney General have made clear. I want a safe North Carolina with licensed and insured drivers. We must put safety over hate politics.”
2. Click here to leave him a comment at the Department of Transportation website. Tell him that DACA youth have been given authorization to legally work, let them drive!
We are gaining momentum! The North Carolina NAACP has issued a statement supporting immigrant youth. Keep calling and signing the petition so that Anthony Tata, Pat McCrory, and all of these politicians know that they must act immediately. But we have to keep calling until we have a solution!
Make A Call:
Eric Boyette (NC DMV Commissioner) – (919) 861-3015
Tony Tata (NC Dept of Transportation Secretary) – (919) 707-2800
Sample script: “Hi, I am calling to ask that the NC DMV adhere to the statement made by Attorney General Cooper saying DACA holders have a right to obtain driver licenses by NC state law. I ask that this official statement be reflected in the DMV’s requirements for driver licenses immediately. Thank you!”
NC NAACP Issues Statement in Response to the NC DOT’s Unwillingness to Comply with NC Attorney General’s Ruling on Licenses for Young People Under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Executive Order
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
22 January 2013
For More Information: Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, President, 919-394-8137
Mrs. Amina J. Turner, Executive Director, 919-682-4700
Atty. Jamie Phillips, Public Policy Coordinator, 919-682-4700
For Media Assistance: Rob Stephens, Field Secretary, 336-577-9335
The NC NAACP is asking Governor Pat McCrory to instruct his Secretary of Transportation Anthony Tata to obey the federal rules, as upheld by N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper, and issue driver licenses to young immigrants who are in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, the NC NAACP President, is challenging the Governor to divorce himself from the petulant and adolescent comments of Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. Forest is quoted as saying, “We are a sovereign state and need to stand up and push back when the Feds encroach on our ability to protect our citizens and enforce our laws.”
Barber said, “North Carolina needs to focus on unifying and lifting up all people, especially our children. Lt. Gov. Forest’s statement divides and scapegoats. Does Gov. McCrory agree that North Carolina should act in direct violation of the U.S. Government’s laws and rules, as interpreted by the N.C. top law enforcement official? Forest’s outburst may get some applause at the tea party rallies he attends, but if this is a sign about how Gov. McCrory intends to govern all the people of North Carolina–not just the extremists, then the people of North Carolina need to know now. Both the Governor and the Lt. Governor swore on the Bible to uphold the U.S. Constitution and laws. And 145 years ago, the N.C. Constitution declared ‘Every citizen of this State owes paramount allegiance to the Constitution and government of the United States, and no law or ordinance of the State in contravention or subversion thereof can have any binding force.’“
The United States government has established a process that defers deportation of immigrants who came to this country illegally as children. This process, called DACA, provides these young people with the opportunity to obtain a NC driver license. Lt. Gov. Forest recently said, they should “not be afforded the privileges reserved for US citizens,” and accused President Obama of ignoring the law. “
“We urge Governor McCrory and his administration to comply with the U.S. laws. Make it clear in the beginning of your administration that tea party rhetoric has no place in your administration. The NC NAACP believes the issue of how we treat our young Latino sister and brothers will play an important part in defining the new McCrory Administration. Will you support the Attorney General, who says you should instruct the Division of Motor Vehicles to resume its sensible practice of issuing licenses to DACA young people? Are will you force them to go further into the shadows, waiting for the comprehensive immigration reforms that the great majority of federal legislators now are talking about?”
Hon. Pat McCrory
Governor of North Carolina
116 W. Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 26702
RE: Your Position on DACA Issue
Dear Governor McCrory,
The NC NAACP respectfully requests that you support the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a federal law created by Executive Order of the President of the United States. This request comes from the root of what keeps this country great. Our Constitution, created by Lincoln Republicans and African Americans of this State, 145 years ago clearly reads, “Every citizen of this State owes paramount allegiance to the Constitution and government of the United States, and no law or ordinance of the State in contravention or subversion therof can have any binding force.”
We pray that you do not agree with those who would use antiquated language such as “sovereign state” and who would imply a state may ignore and reject a federal law set in place by the President of the United States. We pray you reject nullification language and efforts by your Lt. Governor and those in the extreme pockets of your party. We pray that you and your administration comply with U.S. laws and declare that tea party rhetoric has no place in your administration. We pray you follow the lead of your Attorney General and instruct the Division of Motor Vehicles to resume its issuing of licenses to young people covered by DACA. The NAACP will stand in every way with our Latino and Immigrant Brothers and Sisters. We must move forward as a state not backwards!
All of this we ask and pray with respect and hope.
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II
President, NC State Conference of the NAACP
cc: NAACP Members, Partners, and Friends
On Tuesday, January 22, immigrant youth from all over NC will march to the NC Department of Transportation building to demand they overturn the ban on driver licenses for DACA holders. Click here for details. If you can’t make it tomorrow, you can help by signing the petition and making calls to NC DMV commissioner Eric Boyette. A sample script is included in the petition so you can leave the commissioner a clear message that you stand with immigrant youth. He has the power to fix this and should do so immediately. Having licensed drivers makes our roads safer and, in turn, our state. Immigrant youth who have been granted deferred action have been given a permit to work, let them drive!
Meet Jackie Aguilar, a dreamer from Raleigh and one of the organizers of today’s event. She’s protesting not just for herself, but for her friends as well.
“Many of my friends were already approved for DACA. We were given a permit to work, let us drive!” – Jackie
DREAMer Jackie Aguilar, Class of ’08
My name is Jackie. I’m a dreamer who grew up in Raleigh since I was 8 years old. I graduated from William G. Enloe High School in 2008 with honors. Even though I have had a difficult life after high school and struggled through a society that doesn’t accept me, I still hold aspirations of getting a degree and a job I deserve. To me, nothing is more important than an education and I have always demonstrated that to my younger siblings. I try to be the best for them. Getting a driver license will make my life easier. It will allow me the ability to drive to school and to work without fear of getting pulled over and arrested for driving without a license. Here in Raleigh, people are deported when they’re arrested for driving without a license. I helped organize Tuesday’s rally because, as Attorney General Cooper already clarified, DACA holders are entitled to a driver license. To the NC DMV: Stop holding our licenses hostage. We have been given a permit to work, let us drive! If you stand with us, sign the petition demanding we get our license back. You can help by making calls to NC DMV commissioner Eric Boyette too. Thank you!
La marcha sigue en pie! Nos vemos mañana, Martes, afuera de las oficinas del Departamento de Transportacion. Mas detalles:
Cuando: Martes, 22 de Enero a las 9am
Donde: 1 S. Wilmington St. Raleigh, NC
*Bring your banners, caps and gowns, and matracas.
**Parking: Street parking or on-site parking decks at 120 S. Wilmington St. and also 115 S. Wilmington St. ($2/hour).
Para mas informacion, favor de contactar a:
Jacki Aguilar: 919-395-8458
Jose Rico: 919-802-0508
After weeks of going back and forth on the recent change in policy by the DMV to not grant drivers licenses to immigrant youth that benefit from President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), it has become evident that the NC Department of Transportation does not intend to change back its policy. They will continue to hold our drivers licenses hostage.
Only weeks ago, the DMV stated that they would stop issuing drivers licenses until they heard from the opinion of Attorney General Roy Cooper. Late last week, Cooper issued a statement explaining that DACA beneficiaries not only hold legal presence, but that the state is required to issue us driver licenses:
“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 person who present valid documentation demonstrating deferment and meet all other statutory requirements, requires that such licenses be issued.”
Following Attorney General Cooper’s clarification, US Citizen & Immigration Services (USCIS) also issued a formal statement in regards to driver licenses for DACA recipients:
“Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. For purposes of future inadmissibility based upon unlawful presence, an individual whose case has been deferred is not considered to be unlawfully present during the period in which deferred action is in effect. An individual who has received deferred action is authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to be present in the United States, and is therefore considered by DHS to be lawfully present during the period deferred action is in effect.”
According to recent USCIS data, as of this month there are 14,777 immigrant youth that were given deferred action in the state of North Carolina.
However, it has become apparent to us that our state’s Department of Transportation does not care much for these clarifications. They continue to discriminate DACA youth and have given no sign of changing back the DMV policy that keeps us from obtaining a driver license. They have also found an ally in their bullying of immigrant youth with Lt. Governor Dan Forest.
A recent statement given by NC Lt. Governor Dan Forest expresses:
“A person entering the United States illegally should not be afforded the privileges reserved for US citizens..”
This is yet another attack on us. You and I have a choice to make: Will we remain silent or fight back?
Here’s what we need to do:
1. Sign the petition and make calls:
2. Come to the protest organized by local immigrant youth TOMORROW:
When: Tuesday, January 22 @ 9am
Where: 1 S Wilmington St. Raleigh, NC
*Bring your banners, caps and gowns, and matracas.
**Parking: Street parking or on-site parking decks at 120 S. Wilmington St. and also 115 S. Wilmington St. ($2/hour).
For more info on the protest please contact:
Jacki Aguilar: 919-395-8458
Jose Rico: 919-802-0508
See you there!