Federal Court Deals Blow to Ohio Laws Barring Driver’s Licenses to Children of Suspected Illegal Aliens


Up to 4,000 illegal aliens and refugees in Ohio without green cards may qualify for driver’s licenses thanks to a federal court striking down two state laws.

U.S. District Court Judge Edmund Sargus, for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in Columbus, overturned two State of Ohio policies blocking up to 4,000 illegal aliens — mostly teens — from receiving driver’s licenses, Yahoo News reported.

Civil rights organizations that challenged the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles said their policies were discriminatory because they denied licenses or identification cards to people who are legally living in the U.S.

The lawsuit was filed in 2018 and wanted changes to the license and ID application policies, WOSU said. At issue was a policy mandating a parent cosign the application.

The bureau said it had enacted the policies to comply with federal laws regarding people being in the United States legally as well as having authority from the state to enforce automobile laws, the Plain Dealer reported. The court’s ruling will affect enforcement related to teens whose immigrant parents are suspected to be illegal aliens and refugees who have lived in the U.S. for more than two years but do not have a green card.

Sargus made the lawsuit class-action so people who are not already involved may join, meaning the Bureau of Motor Vehicles will not be able to enact the policies when those people, the Plain Dealer said.

The Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center (IJPC) said it is one of the organizations that filed the lawsuit, and it issued a press release celebrating the court decision.

“We take for granted how much power a driver’s license grants you, to be able to move freely and go about your life,” shared Allison Reynolds-Berry, executive director of IJPC.

Advocates also received a ruling on a related lawsuit filed on behalf of three other plaintiffs, including Community Refugee and Immigration Services, a refugee resettlement agency in Columbus.

That related ruling overturned the policy that denied licenses to lawfully admitted refugees if those refugees have not adjusted their status to lawful permanent residence within two years of their arrival in the U.S., IJPC said.

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.
Photo “Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles” by Ohio BMV.




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