Ohio Bill Denies Driver's Licenses to Immigrants

Tuesday, 21 May 2013 01:39 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Ohio Republican lawmakers want to deny driver's licenses to immigrants who have temporary amnesty from the federal government.

The bill, which was to have been discussed in committee Tuesday, would reverse a state Bureau of Motor Vehicles policy requiring administrators to allow temporary licenses to undocumented immigrants, following complaints that some of the BMV's private contractors were refusing them, reports the Columbus Dispatch.

State Rep. Matt Lynch, sponsor of the bill, said allowing immigrants to have licenses encourages illegal immigration, and that the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals law, which protects some undocumented immigrants, is an example of federal officials bullying Ohio lawmakers.

At first, legal analysts were confused whether the federal law required states to offer driver's licenses, and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said the BMV probably would have to comply.

The bill specifices that those covered by federal amnesty are ineligible for licenses. Lynch said it's unclear whether the BMV would repeal licenses already issued.

All but five states grant licenses to immigrants covered under the federal amnesty. Ohio already has issued more than 700 licenses to immigrants.

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