Illegal immigrants in Ohio may soon be able to get a driver’s license. A bill proposed on Monday would allow children brought to the Buckeye State illegally by their parents to apply for a license if passed. There are approximately 1,500 illegal immigrant children living in Ohio.
A total of 34 states now permit children of illegal aliens to become eligible for a driver’s license, 10tv News reports. A representative for the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) recently stated that the agency is currently discussing the issue and reviewing policies.
The 190 Ohio BMV agencies are presently allowed to make such a determination on their own. The proposed bill would create a uniform law across the Buckeye State’s 88 counties.
Democratic Ohio State Senator Charleta Tavares does not think that the Ohio BMV review goes far enough to address the issue. Senator Tavares had this to say about the illegal immigrants driver’s license debate:
“These area children, 7, 8, 9, 10 years old who had no way of making a decision for themselves. I do believe it [pending bill] will pass this session. I don’t think we want to be the laughing stock. I don’t think we want to be the last one in. We are working to assist the youth who are falling through the cracks and who are in limbo through no fault of their own.”
Senator Tavares also believes that the inability for the children of illegal immigrants in Ohio to get a driver’s license “interrupts” their employment and educational opportunities. She also feels that passing the proposed bill will keep the state in compliance with new federal policies.
Ohio Senate Democratic Leader Eric Kearney and Tavares are the co-sponsors of the drivers licenses for illegal immigrants bill. The lawmakers reportedly want all individuals who have been approved for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) federal program to be able to drive in Ohio, according to the Ohio Senate website.
The DACA program allows illegal aliens who came to America as children to become eligible for legal employment status. The young people who qualify for the program must have had a “lawful presence” in the country for at least two years. The federal DACA program is not permanent not does it grant lawful residency status.
Senator Kearney had this to say about sponsoring the driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants bill:
“It has come to our attention that individuals approved by the DACA program and living in Ohio are encountering issues obtaining driver permits and licenses from deputy registrars throughout the state. Some BMV offices will grant licenses to these individuals while others will not.”
How do you feel about allowing illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses?