On Monday, March 27, CAIR-Columbus and attorney Inna Simakovsky were recognized by Columbus City Council for their outstanding legal work representing a group of immigrants who were faced with losing their commercial drivers licenses. Jennifer Nimer and Simakovsky held a legal clinic open to the public on New Year’s Day to provide free appeals for anyone who walked through the door. Overall they filed over 45 appeals, which ultimately led the Ohio BMV to reverse its policy and not revoke the CDL licenses.
Click here to view video of of the resolution being presented at the City Council meeting and to hear the remarks made by City Council.
The issue began in mid-December when the BMV sent letters to 560 immigrants statewide informing them that their CDL licenses would be revoked within 30 days if the they could not provide proof of a green card or US citizenship – causing widespread panic among immigrant commercial truck drivers who had pending green card applications. Ohio law previously only required proof of “legal presence” which would include proof of a work authorization or proof of filing of various types of immigration applications.
CAIR-Columbus became involved when they began getting calls from Muslim immigrants who were in a panic about how they would support their families if they lost their CDL.
“We had clients calling asking if they should move to another state so they would be able to continue working,” said Nimer. “Several of our clients had pending green card applications which have been unreasonably delayed by USCIS, and we were already in the process of preparing a lawsuit for those delays, but we had to drop what we were doing to try to quickly resolve the CDL issue just so they would be able to continue to put food on the table for their families while we work to resolve their application delays.”
Nimer and Simakovsky were presented with a City Council Resolution at Monday’s City Council meeting, and members of the Council thanked them for their hard work protecting the rights of immigrants in Ohio