The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge has applauded the decision announced by North Carolina Transportation Secretary Tony Tata that will provide driver’s licenses to approximately 18,000 young undocumented citizens who are part of a federal government deferral program allowing them to remain in the U.S. for a period of two years.
Secretary Tata’s decision follows a ruling issued January 17, 2013, by Attorney General Roy Cooper that said, given the fact that the federal government has issued a “legal residence” permit, there is no reason to deprive the deferred recipients of obtaining a driver’s license, should they present valid documentation on deferred status and meet all other statutory requirements.
The Department of Motor Vehicles will begin issuing the permits on March 25.
In expressing support of the decision, Bishop Burbidge called it an important step for a large group of young men and women who were brought here as children and know North Carolina as their home.
“Having a driver’s license will allow them to obtain transportation in order to travel to work or to attend college” Bishop Burbidge said. “I am also grateful to our Catholic Charities regional offices, which have provided more than 70 workshops throughout the Diocese assisting more than 2,500 people applied for the deferred program. To date, more than 1,100 young people who attended the workshops have been granted deferred status.”
In addition to driver’s licenses, the President’s Deferred Action Program also allows recipients the right to obtain social security numbers, allowing them to work legally in the United States.