A middle-of-the-road ruling

January 17, 2013 

Finally, some good sense and good law. Not only did the new administration of Gov. Pat McCrory and Department of Transportation Secretary Tony Tata not want illegal immigrants with special work permits to get driver’s licenses in North Carolina, officials also wanted to revoke the licenses of those who had already received them. Attorney General Roy Cooper now has issued an authoritative opinion on the issue: Let them drive. In fact, he says state law, which dictates that licenses are fine for those “lawfully present” in the state, “requires that such licenses be issued.”

Let’s hope it ends here. Too much time has been wasted already on something that never should have been controversial.

Basically, under an order from the Obama administration (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), illegal immigrants who arrived in the United States as children and have been living here and going to school or working or serving in the military can have special work permits for two years. (They must go through an application process.) This is perfectly reasonable, considering that these younger people made no decision to come to the U.S. illegally.

Some states have allowed driver’s licenses to be issued to those with permits, on the solid reasoning that the Obama administration has given them legal status for two years. Without licenses, they’d obviously find it difficult to find work or go to school.

The McCrory policy was harsh indeed, unfair to these young people and not good for their employers, either.

Cooper just makes good sense and, in a letter to the DMV, makes it clear that the state has no choice but to issue the licenses. These people are here legally.

This should be the end of it for the governor and the DOT.

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