OCTOBER 27, 2009
Officials in a Midwest state knowingly ignored tens of thousands of fraudulent vehicle registrations for more than a year at the request of influential Latino business owners who intercepted a crackdown because the offenders are illegal immigrants.
It was only after a local newspaper exposed Ohio’s abhorrent disregard for the law that its Bureau of Motor Vehicles quietly began cancelling thousands of registrations filed by illegal aliens throughout the state. The agency recently sent out nearly 50,000 letters to vehicle owners informing them that their registrations will be revoked unless they prove legal U.S. residency, as state law requires, by December 8.
Ohio officials have known for more than a year that about 47,000 vehicles have been registered without listing a driver’s license, legal identification card or valid Social Security number as required by law. That means illegal immigrants hired legal U.S. residents known as “runners” to register their vehicles. Runners collect fees and use falsified power-of-attorney forms to register vehicles for illegal aliens.
For years state officials simply looked the other way as the scam boomed, even after the implementation of tougher regulations that require so-called runners to provide the driver’s license or state ID numbers of persons for whom they register vehicles. Ohio’s former Public Safety Director postponed enforcing the stricter regulations after meeting last year with dozens of concerned Latino business owners and runners who requested an indefinite delay.
When the media exposed the preposterous secret deal, the state’s new Public Safety Director ordered that the law finally be enforced to shut off the flow of license plates to illegal immigrants, stating in a memo that she was unconvinced “that everything that could be done is being done" to prevent fraud.
The powerful chairman of a renowned Ohio Latino advocacy group (Ohio Hispanic Coalition) claims the state is illegally intruding into immigration issues, which are a federal responsibility. He added that enforcing this particular policy will inevitably make it more difficult for undocumented workers to support their families.
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