CHARLOTTE, N.C. According to the latest census, there are more than a half million undocumented immigrants living and working in North Carolina. Right now, they're not allowed to get a driver s license, but a local group is hoping to change that soon.
Maudia Melendez works with Jesus Ministry and is an advocate for immigrants, but after living in North Carolina for 25 years she's also an advocate for the state, which is why she is behind the Drivers Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants project.
We need to have something that benefits everybody, said Melendez. We're going to know who is driving out there, who has a license.
Melendez says her group plans to petition for thousands of signatures in North Carolina and present reasons in favor. She says with an estimated more than 500 million undocumented immigrants who live and work in the state, charging them $50 for a license plus other costs would generate nearly $100 million.
But not everyone is on board. NewsChannel 36 spoke with a representative for Americans for Legal Immigration who says giving undocumented immigrants licenses is promoting illegal immigration, and some Americans agree.
I don't think if you're undocumented or in that illegal status that you should be allowed those privileges, said Al White.
Politics aside, AAA Carolinas says the more drivers with licenses the better for other drivers.
Unlicensed drivers also means uninsured drivers, so if you get in an accident with one of these folks, you're held accountable for the financial considerations of that accident, said Tom Sullivan with AAA Carolinas.
Melendez says they'll argue their case as far up as they need to go.
It's not so much about the immigrants, it s about also us looking for this state, she added.