AG Supports Driver’s Licenses for Children of Illegal Immigrants

DeWine says DACA recipients should be eligible to obtain driver's licenses

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles has been reviewing its driver’s license policy for the children of illegal immigrants for nearly two months now, but if it was up to Attorney General Mike DeWine, those people would already be eligible for driver’s licenses.

In

a letter to the Latino Affairs Commission dated to March 19

, DeWine wrote, “It appears that the BMV would have to accept driver’s license applications from individuals that fall under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative because they can provide all of the information necessary.”

DACA is an executive order signed by President Barack Obama that allows the children of illegal immigrants to qualify for a social security number and work permit. According to DeWine, that should be enough to qualify for an Ohio driver’s license: “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.”

The BMV has been reviewing its driver’s license policy for DACA recipients for nearly two months.

A previous CityBeat report

found the BMV is granting driver’s licenses to some of the children of illegal immigrants, but what qualifies a few and disqualifies others is unclear.

DeWine’s letter is not legally binding, but since it’s coming from the state’s top legal adviser, it could put pressure on the BMV’s legal team as it continues reviewing the Ohio’s driver’s license policy.

“I encourage any citizen who is concerned about a law or policy to contact their legislators and voice that concern,” DeWine wrote. “As Attorney General, I do not have the authority to introduce or vote on legislation.”

CityBeat originally broke the story regarding the BMV policy through the story of Ever Portillo, who was not able to receive a driver’s license despite being a DACA recipient (

“Not Legal Enough,”

issue of Feb. 6).

CityBeat later heard stories and received documents showing what seemed to be

internal confusion and conflict

about the policy at the BMV. Between January and February, there was a noticeable shift in the BMV’s messaging from flat-out barring DACA recipients from obtaining driver’s licenses to reviewing the entire process — a change that might be attributable to the barrage of statewide media coverage on the issue after CityBeat 's coverage.
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