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Government and Politics

State BMVs deny some Ohioans driver's licenses
Democrats push for a match with state law

Jo Ingles
In The Region:
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.
Hear Ingles on State BMVs deny some Ohioans driver's licenses

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Democratic State Sen. Eric Kearney says federal law allows state bureaus to issue driver’s licenses to approved participants in a federal program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Yet he says that’s not happening consistently in Ohio.

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

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 BMV office.

"They went in the back," Mendez said. "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 bipartisan support for this bill.

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