Legislation Proposed to Standardize Licenses For Legal Immigrants

Mar 4, 2013

Some Democratic Ohio lawmakers are proposing a bill they say will make sure all of Ohio’s bureau of motor vehicles offices follow federal law when it comes to issuing driver’s licenses to eligible immigrants. Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles has details.  

Democratic State Senator Eric Kearney says federal law allows B M V’s to issue driver’s licenses to approved participants in the federal program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.  Yet he says that’s not happening consistently.

Kearney – Some B M V offices will grant licenses while others will not.  This legislation would clarify that the Ohio B M V should comply with federal guidelines and institute policies that guarantee that more insured drivers are on our roads.

Jose Mendez of Cleveland, a participant in the federal program, and the holder of a state identification card, says he was treated poorly and denied a driver’s license by his local B M V office.

Mendez – They went in the back. The manager talked to someone in Columbus and that’s when she came back.  She held up my documents and would not give them back until I called my lawyer for them.  At that moment, she told me that I didn’t belong here, that my id was not valid, that I should get a refund for it and basically made me feel really discriminated against.

Democrats say they expect bi-partisan support for this bill.