The children of illegal immigrants who were brought to America by their parents are finding it difficult to get a drivers license in Ohio. While some branches of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles will issue licenses, others won't.
"These are young people who were brought here through no actions of their own. They're abiding by the desires of their parents so they shouldn't be penalized," said Sen. Charleta Tavares, a Columbus Democrat.
Those applying for licenses are covered under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
The proposed legislation will allow those approved for the DACA program to obtain a temporary instructor’s permit, driver’s license, or motorcycle operator’s license. It will also require Ohio deputy registrars to train employees who work with the public regarding the DACA program. Commercial drivers licenses are not included in the legislation.
"Their inability to get a driver's permit or license interrupts their education and employment opportunities. This legislation will ensure compliance with federal policies, uniformity of our BMV practices throughout Ohio and consistency for our youth," Tavares said.
Jose Mendez was brought to America at age 7. He graduated with honors from Cleveland's Lincoln West High School in 2010, but when he tried to get a temporary driving permit at his local BMV he was denied.
“I’m here to ask the Department of Public Safety and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to stop the double standard,” said Mendez. “I have all of the documents required like everyone else, but I have been scrutinized by the BMV and embarrassed by the license clerks. Even though I had all of the proper documents, the BMV refused to accept them. Adding insult to injury, the office manager yelled across the room that I should just go back home and that I didn’t belong here.”
Started on June 15, 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program grants lawful presence for two years for immigrants who came to the United States as children and provides eligibility for employment authorization. The program is not permanent and does not grant lawful status.