OCTOBER 29, 2013
Oregon taxpayers are successfully fighting back against a law—passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor months ago—to give illegal immigrants driver’s licenses by the start of 2014.
The measure, Senate Bill 833, directs the Department of Transportation to issue special driver cards to applicants who don’t provide proof of legal presence in the United States. The illegal aliens must still pass a driving test and provide “acceptable documents that prove their identity, date of birth, and residency in Oregon for more than a year.” Here’s another interesting line in the actual law: “A Social Security number will also be required if one has been assigned.”
The campaign started around the middle of last year when Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber ordered state police to begin accepting the Mexican Matricula Consular identification cards as valid ID. Shortly afterwards he vowed to pass a measure that would allow illegal aliens to obtain Oregon driver’s licenses, asserting that the undocumented would come “out of the shadows” and “contribute to our economic recovery.” The state legislature overwhelmingly approved the bill in May and the governor quickly signed it.
Under the measure state Department of Motor Vehicle offices can accept foreign identification cards issued by the consulates of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico and South Korea. The card must be “valid” and not expired, according to the new Oregon law, which advises illegal immigrants to “contact your consulate office if you need to renew it.”
This outraged an Oregon group that favors immigration control. At the very least, citizens should be able to vote on the matter. So the group, Oregonians for Immigration Reform, got busy and collected the necessary 58,142 signatures to put a referendum blocking the law onto the November 2014 ballot. This already delays the law’s implementation by almost a year because it was supposed to kick in on January 2014.
The new law granting driver privilege cards to illegal aliens will now be sidelined until after the November 2014 election, the group says on its website. If voters choose to overturn the measure, it will be dropped. If voters approve it, the law will go into effect 30 days after the election. The group cites a recent Rasmussen poll that reveals 68% of U.S. voters oppose giving illegal immigrants driver’s licenses. The survey found that just 22% favor allowing illegal aliens to get licenses in their home state.
A dozen states—not including Oregon—have laws that allow illegal aliens to obtain a driver’s license or special driving privilege card, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Among those that recently passed measures are California and Illinois. States—such as Arizona and Nebraska—that refuse to give illegal aliens licenses have been dragged into costly legal battles to preserve their laws.
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