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Published: Saturday, 4/6/2013

Immigrants allowed Ohio driver’s licenses


The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles is to begin issuing temporary driver licenses to immigrants who qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Ohio is the 38th state to issue driver’s licenses to deferred-action grantees. It is the only state to say licenses only will be granted after the applicant’s immigration documents have been confirmed through a federal database.

All bureaus of motor vehicle offices in Ohio are required to begin issuing the licenses immediately to qualified candidates. The policy change was announced March 29.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals provides temporary work authorization and temporary legal presence for people who came to the United States before their 16th birthdays.

Mark Heller, managing attorney for Advocates for Basic Equality’s Migrant and Farmworker and Immigration Program, said, “I think it’s consistent with federal law and what almost every other state has done. The people who have been granted DACA status can now go to school and work, which often requires transportation.”

Other advocates have said issuing the driver licenses will make roads safer because recipients will have to pass driver-safety tests and be required to purchase car insurance.

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