MEDIA RELEASE: Statement from the NC Justice Center on potential immigrant driving permit legislation

RALEIGH (April 4, 2013) — North Carolina lawmakers should drive policies that make roads safer for all, without steering us towards Arizona-style discrimination.

We understand the desperate need to legally drive that people in our communities have and would support a measure that provides the same type of access to licenses as the rest of the population enjoys.

As evidenced by the senate bill introduced earlier this week, we believe there would be wide, bi-partisan support for such a proposal. We hope Rep. Warren, Rep. Jordan, and others involved seek a solution that is focused on making North Carolina's roads safer by allowing qualified North Carolina drivers, regardless of immigration status, to pay insurance, pass driving exams, and use the road safely for daily needs.

The Justice Center must study the final version of the bill before it can come to a conclusion to support it or not. However, we understand that the current proposal is not intended to make driving permits available for all otherwise-qualified residents of North Carolina of driving age because it imposes strict residency restrictions, is expensive, and has other requirements. At the same time, we understand the bill would harshly punish those who are unable to get the permit — giving law enforcement much more authority to investigate those suspected of being in the country without permission, impounding and selling the cars people accused of driving with revoked licenses are driving, and limiting other constitutional rights of due process for all of us.

When and if the bill is introduced, the Justice Center will be looking to see whether it gives license to discriminate or licenses to drive. Hopefully, it will propose more good than permanent harm for all our state's people — including its immigrants.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Jeff Shaw, Director of Communications,, 503.551.3615 (cell).