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Immigrants Line Up For DACA Licenses

Monday was the first day immigrants who were granted deferred action status were eligible to receive their licenses in North Carolina. These are immigrants who were brought to the country as kids by their parents.

The design of the North Carolina driver licenses generated controversy last month when they were first unveiled because of the bold pink color that easily set them apart from other licenses. A new design was announced a few days ago.  

Credit Tasnim Shamma
Sergio Montesdeoca, an immigrant with deferred status, signs paperwork for his driver's license at the Department of Motor Vehicles office on North Tryon and Harris Boulevard.

We spoke to a few immigrants standing in line today at the DMV office on North Tryon and Harris Boulevard to get their thoughts.

"I was excited you know because I've been wanting to drive since I was 16," says Pedro Caram. "So now I get to get out of the house more."

Caram, 18, was born in Brazil and brought to the U.S. when he was five years old. He says he needs to drive in order to start working and go to college because public transportation in Charlotte is not reliable. Transportation is also an issue for Yvette Wallace, 27, born in Sierra Leone. 

"I'm a single parent. I have two kids and they're babies, I have to drive to drop them off," Wallace says. "I have a son that goes to school, he has to be at school at 7:30. I can't be begging for a ride all the time. You want to travel to like New Jersey, New York. I think [the licenses] are a good idea."

Sergio Montesdeoca, 19, was born in Ecuador and came to the U.S. when he was six years old. He is a sophomore at Johnson C. Smith University, studying computer engineering. 

"It puts a ease in my mind because I still have to drive to school, so I mean, now I feel safer. I mean, finally they get this through," Montesdeoca says. "Ever since I was little, I saw my brother drive and I was like, Oh I can't wait till I drive. And then when I got to high school I knew I couldn't, so then I didn't. And now finally I got the license and then a month later they canceled it. So I was like 'Oh my god what's all this nonsense?' And now I’m just happy. Elated."  

Twenty-two year old Angel Pauling, a Charlotte native, was waiting in line to get her learner's permit. 

"I think they should worry about people who are here first," Pauling says. "But I think it's nice because they're trying to do something productive. Some of them may want to drive around and try get back and forth from school."