Since June 2012 many Ohio residents have been applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an executive order enacted by Present Barack Obama that allows those who arrived in the United States as children to have a reprieve from deportation and obtain a work permit for a period of two years. Once the DACA application is approved, the applicant is issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that is valid for a period of two years. The recipient can then take his/her EAD to the local Social Security Administration office and obtain a Social Security number so that he or she may work and pay taxes. Additionally, in Ohio, a DACA recipient was allowed to obtain a driver’s license at any BMV location within the state. The Ohio BMV website
http://www.bmv.ohio.gov/acceptable_id_documents.stm provides a list of acceptable documents that can be presented in order to obtain a driver’s license. Among these acceptable documents are USCIS Documents, Social Security Card, and Employer Identification Card.
Until recently, approximately 200 DACA recipients in the state of Ohio received Driver’s Licenses by providing the BMV with the documents stated above. In January 2013 some BMV locations began denying DACA recipients Driver’s Licenses even though they had all the required proof. In the last month, all Ohio BMV locations decided to stop issuing driver’s licenses to DACA recipients. Ohio’s Administrative Code states that applicants for a driver’s license must have legal status in the United States. So the question is: Are DACA recipients considered to have legal status in the United States? Originally it was unclear whether DACA confers legal status, but recently USCIS clarified that DACA holders do have lawful presence in the United States for the two year period that they are granted deferred action.