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Discrimination issue for North Carolina immigrants and others

North Carolina has become home to many undocumented residents. Each person's story is unique, some brought to the United States as infants, others attempting to flee conditions of extreme poverty, violence and danger. Many immigrants have succeeded in building successful lives for themselves and their families, yet continue to live in fear of deportation or struggle with issues of discrimination in private and business sectors.

Some believe they've been treated unfairly due to their immigration statuses. In another state, an assembly bill that is part of a program designed to allow applicants who are unable to submit satisfactory proof of legal presence in the United States to apply for driver's licenses. However, a group of African immigrants have lamented that they have been forced to go through a secondary review in the application process because of their countries of origin. This has caused extended delays in their applications to obtain licenses to drive.

According to Department of Motor Vehicle Officials in California, where the suspected discrimination has been taking place, there is a list of accepted passports; certain countries are not on it. The officials claim the issue is not one of geography or ethnic background; rather, it has more to do with security. One resident said that his application has been delayed for months on end and that it is causing many complications and much stress for his family. He and others are questioning why more than half the countries from their places of origin are not on the accepted passport list.

The immigrants contacted an advocacy network to ask for help and express their frustration. They say they have taken the appropriate steps and followed all instructions in the application process but are being delayed simply because they are African. Immigrants in North Carolina might be facing similar issues of possible discrimination as they attempt to participate in community life and contribute to the marketplace. Contacting a local immigration advocacy program or an immigration and naturalization attorney for guidance in such matters is a viable option.

Source: newamericamedia.org, "African Immigrants Express Frustration Over Driver's License Hurdles", Elena Shore, Oct. 27, 2015

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