FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 19, 2013 Contacts: Jose Mendez (216) 264-6858 Nick Torres (419) 302-0511 DREAM Activist Ohio Applauds Attorney General Mike DeWine for Taking Public Stance on Driver’s Licenses for Deferred Action Recipients
COLUMBUS, OH — In a letter addressed to the Ohio Latino Affairs Commission (attached), Attorney General Mike DeWine clarified Ohio’s policies for issuing driver’s licenses to recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a federal program under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Recipients of deferred action qualify for work permits and Social Security cards. “It appears the BMV would have to accept driver’s license applications from individuals that fall under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative because they can provide all of the information necessary,” the letter reads. For over two months, DACA recipients and community allies around the state have circulated petitions, made hundreds of phone calls to BMV officials, met with legislators, and spoken with news media about their difficulties obtaining driver’s licenses from the Ohio BMV. Since the BMV inconsistencies were first uncovered in January, some DACA recipients have been able to get a driver’s license while others have been turned away even though they presented the same type of federal documentation. DeWine’s letter explains that DHS allow DACA recipients to be present in the US, and that their federal documents meet the qualifications for acceptable documents laid out by BMV. According to the National Immigration Law Center, thirty-seven other states already have uniform policies granting driver’s licenses to DACA recipients. “This whole experience for me shows a breakdown in communications from the top of the administration down to the local staff,” said Jose Mendez of DREAM Activist Ohio. “It’s been almost a year since DACA was first announced. I’m disappointed that the BMV failed to properly educate its deputy registrars on how to handle our cases. I’m so grateful that Attorney General DeWine finally clarified this for them,” Mendez added. In a press conference earlier this month with Ohio Senate Minority Leader Eric Kearney and Senator Charleta Tavares, Mendez explained how he felt discriminated and embarrassed by employees at his local license bureau when they told him he didn’t belong here and threatened to confiscate his work permit and Social Security card. 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.


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