FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 8, 2013 Contact: Nick Torres (419) 302-0511 Attorneys, DREAMers, Community Members

Sign Petition to Registrar, Attorney General Hundreds Urge Transparency, Fairness COLUMBUS, OH — Just days after circulation began, over 200 people have signed an open letter calling on Registrar Mike Rankin and Attorney General Mike DeWine to put Ohio’s driver’s license policy in line with federal USCIS guidelines for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). “It has come to the attention of the undersigned Ohio attorneys and community members that several individuals who have been granted deferred action have recently been refused driver's licenses, and in some cases, have had their state and federally-issued documents confiscated without explanation by BMV personnel,” the letter reads. In at least one case, an Ohio BMV office seized a young man’s Social Security Card without any reason provided. “I was scared,“ said Edilson Ortiz of Cincinnati. “It wasn’t until I called the police that the BMV office finally gave it back,” he said. “These young people have been granted the possibility of a bright future in this great country, and their ability to attend school, learn English and join the armed forces is severely restricted by our outdated state policies,” said Columbus attorney Joseph L. Mas. The letter argues that the recipients of DACA meet all the eligibility requirements under Ohio Revised Code and Administrative Code. “The fact that a DACA grantee is specifically authorized by DHS to be in the United States and considered to be “lawfully present” is plainly a “recognizable legal status” inasmuch as USCIS has authorized DACA grantees to be present in the United States for the duration of their deferment, and has provided them with legal documents that comply with the requirements of O.A.C. § 4501:1-1-21,” the letter states. Since President Obama announced the program on June 15, 2011, over 150,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children have benefitted from work permits and Social Security Numbers. Unofficial estimates from USCIS put the number of recipients around 1,500 for Ohio. “The undersigned appreciate the fact that prior to its abrupt and unexplained policy change, Ohio had been issuing licenses to DACA grantees, and simply request that the Registrar explicitly clarify that DACA grantees are eligible to receive driver’s licenses in Ohio,” the letter concludes.
DREAMActivist Ohio is a multicultural network of groups across Ohio, building a movement to help pass the DREAM Act and other pro-migrant policies.