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Governor John Kasich and Registrar Mike Rankin:

I write regarding the lack of any explicitly written and consistently executed policy for BMV staff to issue drivers licenses to recipients of the USCIS program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). I understand that DPS is in the process of reviewing guidance from the federal government as it applies to Ohio law, and has deferred any decision on this policy to Governor Kasich. However, in this case, both federal guidance and Ohio law are clear. On January 18, 2013, USCIS issued updated guidance explaining that states, "[a]n individual who has received deferred action is authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to be present in the United States, and is therefore considered by DHS to be lawfully present during the period deferred action is in effect." (emphasis mine) The Acceptable Documents List issued by BMV is clear that primary and secondary documents must prove LEGAL PRESENCE. Likewise, all relevant provisions of the Ohio Administrative Code, including OAC 4501:1-1-37(A)(4) and 4501:1-1-21(G), discuss eligibility criteria in terms of "lawful presence", and not "lawful status." BMV employees, particularly frontline staff at deputy registrar locations, should be informed that an individuals legal status or immigration status is irrelevant in this case, as Ohio regulations only require that an individual be legally present in the US. There is no reason why BMV cannot continue to issue Ohio driver's licenses to DACA grantees under Ohio regulations as they are currently written. DACA is simply one form of deferred action, which has been used by the Department of Homeland Security, and its predecessor Immigration & Naturalization Service, since 1975. Recipients of deferred action are routinely granted employment authorization, and BMV should not be singling out one category of USCIS Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to refusein this case C33. Further, in a February 13 Memorandum of Instruction, BMV employees were clearly given guidance that the list of acceptable documents for Ohio drivers licenses and IDs has not changed since the DACA program was announced. Valid USCIS documents are clearly listed as acceptable documents; C33 EADs are no exception. Finally, in a February 8th article in the Columbus Dispatch, Attorney General Mike DeWine was quoted as saying, It would appear, at first glance, that these individuals under these categories are entitled to apply. How much more evidence is needed? Please instruct the Ohio BMV to carry out this policy. Our community has been left in the dark long enough.