Hispanics say Ohio BMV policy unfairly targets them

By Tiffany Teasley – bio | email

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Nearly 47,000 Ohio drivers received a letter from the Ohio BMV, asking them to submit proper I.D. by December 8 or have their registration canceled.

"If Hispanic businesses pick up and leave, that's a void not only for that local community but it's that Butler County or Hamilton County, they're going to lose businesses, that's tax money," said Brian Wiles.

Wiles runs the Hispanic newspaper La Jornada Latina, and he says the Ohio BMV's new policy isn't just a registration issue, it's a policy that will negatively impact the livelihood of Latinos in Ohio, and his business.

"What that does for us is it decreases our reader base, and that's one thing we definitely don't want to happen," Wiles said.

Before the new policy took effect, drivers without a Social Security number could still register their vehicle in Ohio through a Power of Attorney, but the new policy requires they provide a State I.D., Driver's License or SSN.

"We firmly believe that this is an immigration issue," said Jason Riveiro, State Director of the League of United Latin American Citizens.

Riveiro says many Latinos here on Visas aren't given Social Security Numbers, and the policy just isn't fair.

"We're all for obeying the laws and obeying the rules, but they have to be very clear and definitive what type of message they're sending, and if you've already set one standard, you can't change that retroactively," Riveiro said.

But the Ohio BMV says they're simply enforcing the rules of the road.

"It's absolutely not targeting anyone in general, in the course of administering the motor vehicle laws, we have a responsibility to make sure that every document that we issue is as safe and reliable as possible, " said Lindsay Komlanc, Spokeswoman of the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

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