Congress long ago should have taken steps to improve the lives of young people who came to this country with parents who entered illegally. As children, they did not make the choice. They arrived in tow. More, many have lived upstanding lives, working hard in school, making a contribution to their communities.
They deserve no less than citizenship, and the DREAM Act would have set the process in motion. Unfortunately, Congress balked, Republicans, in particular, standing in the way. President Obama took executive action last year to ease the burden on these young people. Now Ohio finally has kept pace, clarifying the policy for allowing them to obtain a temporary driver’s license.
The clarification follows the guidance of Mike DeWine, the state attorney general, and after some deputy registrars at Bureau of Motor Vehicles offices refused to issue licenses, even suggesting applicants should not be in this country. Ohio does take the tougher step of confirming an applicant’s immigration documents via the federal database.
The license is good for two years. What deserves emphasis is the expectation in the president’s directive that the status could be renewed easily, without undue hassle or delay. Ideally, all of this would be addressed, long before the expiration, in a comprehensive immigration reform bill. So many of these young people already have proved most worthy of American citizenship.