After months of deliberation, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles on March 29 said it will grant driver’s licenses to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, which means the children of unauthorized immigrants now qualify for Ohio driver’s licenses.
DACA is an executive order signed by President Barack Obama that allows the children of unauthorized immigrants to remain in the United States legally. Immigration advocates argued the program qualified DACA recipients for driver’s licenses, and the BMV apparently agreed.
The decision was reached after months of review, which began shortly after CityBeat originally reported on the issue through the story of Ever Portillo (“Not Legal Enough,” issue of Feb.
After a follow-up report confirmed the BMV was reviewing the issue, immigration advocates received a letter from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine showing his support. In the letter, DeWine wrote, “With these documents and any other documents normally required by the BMV, an individual can provide the BMV with the information necessary to receive a driver’s license.”
Shortly after CityBeat published the information on DeWine’s letter, the Ohio Department of Public Safety, which oversees the BMV, emailed CityBeat stating that DeWine’s stance would be taken under consideration.
Brian Hoffman, an attorney who has been heavily involved in the issue, praised the BMV’s decision in an email to CityBeat and immigrant advocates. But he cautioned, “Given the earlier problems, it is not clear how long it will take for all deputy registrars to be made aware of this new guidance, or whether all of them are familiar with and have access to the necessary USCIS (U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services) databases to comply with the extra security steps Ohio is requiring.”