The ACLU of North Carolina on Thursday criticized the plan by the state's Department of Transportation to issue special driver's licenses to legal immigrants who are not U.S. citizens.

An article published Thursday in the Winston-Salem Journal delved into the DOT story.

"This is different treatment for people who have all their documents in order and it singles them out for their immigration status, something that can generate confusion and racial profiling," ACLU attorney Raul Pinto told Efe on Thursday.

"North Carolina should not be making it harder for aspiring citizens to integrate and contribute to our communities by branding them with a second-class driver's license," he said.

DOT spokesperson Greer Beaty, however, told Efe on Thursday that the initiative is part of a plan that has been under development since 2012 with the aim of redesigning all the driver's licenses issued by the state.

"The new distinction for people who are not U.S. citizens will begin with the implementation of the licenses for those protected by Deferred Action on March 25," she said.

The licenses for North Carolina Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals beneficiaries will be pink and the rectangular cards will be read vertically rather than horizontally.

Beaty told the newspaper that the differences in the licenses for immigrants seek to "safeguard" the rights of U.S. citizens. EFE