Letter from Nolan Stevens, J.D. Public Policy Officer, OCHLA:
I’m writing to once again update you regarding the present reckoning of Ohio law with recipients of the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative. OCHLA met, along with other Hispanic community leaders, with Attorney General Mike DeWine two weeks ago.
One of the issues we brought up was the inconsistency and confusion surrounding the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and its policy on granting driver’s licenses and permits to recipients of DACA. He indicated that there was very little his office could do in the absence of a formal request for an opinion from the BMV.
The Attorney General has issued a letter, addressed to me, indicating that he believes the law requires the Ohio BMV to grant licenses to DACA recipients. He indicated during our meeting that we could distribute the letter to those in our community that have been granted deferred action but have been unable to get a driver’s license. It’s important to note that the BMV is under no obligation, at present, to adopt the Attorney General’s position in the letter. But it may help convince license branch officials to issue these licenses.
I have attached the letter to this email. I ask that youdistribute this to your networks statewide. It’s imperative that it reaches those that can use it.
Amendments to the transportation budget that would have specifically clarified DACA recipients as eligible for driver’s licenses were tabled (defeated) in both the House and Senate. Those amendments were offered by Representative Alicia Reece and Senate Minority Whip Nina Turner. Senate Minority Leader Eric Kearney and Senator Charleta Tavares have also introduced legislation (Senate Bill 62) that would require the BMV to grant these licenses.
It appears as though legislation is unnecessary, however, and the issue may be resolved administratively. We are still awaiting an official announcement on the policy from either Governor Kasich’s office, the Department of Public Safety or the bureau of Motor Vehicles. In the attached letter, Mr. DeWine implores the community to call or write our legislators and the Governor. I will echo that – the more pressure the community is able to provide, the more likely it is they’ll announce a favorable policy, and the more likely they’ll do it soon.
Thank you in advance for helping to distribute this letter. If you have questions or concerns, or would like help contacting your elected officials, please contact me.
Nolan Stevens, J.D.
Public Policy Officer
Ohio Latino Affairs Commission ~ Advise.Connect.Build.
Riffe Center ~ 18th Floor
77 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43215-6108
Office: (614) 466-8333
Direct: (614) 728-8364
Cell: (614) 266-0415
Fax: (614) 995-0896