Letters and Op-Eds

By:
David Olen Cross
The Bulletin
2013-11-17

Senate Bill 833, passed by the Oregon Legislature and signed into law on May 1 by Gov. John Kitzhaber will undermine Senate Bill 1080, legislation passed in 2008 that requires legal presence in the state to obtain an Oregon driver’s license.

Ever since the passage of SB 1080, the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles has been required by Oregon law (House Bill 3624) to provide an annual report on the number of persons driving without licenses or insurance.

In a report filed on Jan. 1 by DMV Administrator Tom McClellan, he stated: “Four years after implementing a legal presence requirement in Oregon, changes in driver licensing requirements have not had a major impact on the rate of unlicensed and uninsured driving."

Translation: There is no current documentation available since the passage of SB 1080 that more people legally or not legally present in the state are driving unlicensed and uninsured.

Oregonians should realize by now there was no justification for the Legislature and governor to make SB 833 state law this year, allowing those without documentation to obtain access to a pseudo-driver’s license — called a driver card.

Looking back to 2012: When Oregonians for Immigration Reform, opponents to the issuance of driver’s licenses to the undocumented, found out about proposed legislation that would change the legal presence requirement, OFIR asked to participate in what was called the “Governor’s Driver License Task Force."

After repeated requests to the governor’s office asking to participate or attend Driver License Task Force meetings, according to OFIR, its leadership was told by the governor’s state capital office staff “that staff knew nothing about the existence of a Driver License Task Force."

Not believing the Driver License Task Force didn’t exist, OFIR leadership filed two public information requests addressed to the governor’s office requesting the names of Task Force members and meeting minutes.

The governor’s legal counsel denied both public information requests. An appeal was filed and that appeal was rejected by the attorney general’s office. Exclusion of public input continued even after SB 833 was introduced during the regular 2013 state legislative session.

To avoid scrutiny or critiques of the legislation, pro-SB 833 legislators dominated, with their own testimony, most of the time they made available for public oral testimony on the legislation. Before hearing from citizens who had signed up to speak in opposition, the Senate committee chair invited lengthy oral testimony from an alleged undocumented mother accompanied by her small child, a political tactic known as “baby waving."

It gets worse yet; to avoid further public scrutiny of SB 833, the senators and representatives controlling the legislative process moved the legislation from the Senate directly to the House floor for a debate and vote — side-stepping the normal procedure of hearings in both chambers.

To open up the democratic process to citizens shunned by the pro-SB 833 cabal in the governor’s office and state Legislature, State Reps. Kim Thatcher and Sal Esquivel, along with Richard LaMountain, vice president of OFIR, stepped forward and placed their names on Oregon referendum 301. The referendum campaign being successful would stop SB 833 from becoming state law on Jan. 1.

With guidance from OFIR and the Protect Oregon Driver Licenses Committee, Oregonians across the state worked together and gathered 70,973 referendum signatures that were turned into the state elections office by the Oct. 4 deadline.

On Oct. 18, after the first statistical check by state election officials of 1,000 referendum petition signees, election officials validated the signatures of 58,291 registered Oregon voters, more than the minimum number of signatures the referendum campaign needed to put SB 833 before the state’s voters in November 2014.

The 70,973 registered Oregon voters who signed the referendum 301 petition did their homework. These Oregonians understand there simply are no data to back up proponents’ claims that making SB 833 a state law will make Oregon’s roads any safer.

— David Olen Cross, of Salem, writes on immigration issues and foreign national crime

By:
Jim Ludwick
News-Register
2013-11-15

Senate Bill 833 would grant official driver privilege cards to illegal aliens.

The referendum to overturn this law was mobilized by Oregonians for Immigration Reform and the Protect Oregon Driver Licenses (PODL) Committee. On Oct. 18, the Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s office announced that the referendum qualified and would be placed on the November 2014 ballot.

Earlier this year, Gov. John Kitzhaber gave a speech on the steps of the state Capitol announcing he was forming “a diverse work group … to come together around changes in our driver’s license laws, allowing people to come out of the shadows and contribute to our state’s economic recovery. Oregonians need to be able to drive back and forth to their jobs.”

While I disagree with the governor that illegal aliens are “Oregonians,” I do agree that by giving them driver privilege cards, they will be able to drive back and forth to jobs. Jobs that, of course, they cannot legally hold, for employers who can’t legally hire them and using Social Security numbers stolen from American citizens. The governor ignores the fact that an estimated 120,000 illegal aliens are stealing jobs from citizens. He ignores the estimated 160,000 Oregon citizens out of work and Oregon’s U-6 unemployment rate — including part-time employees and marginally attached workers — of 16.9 percent. He can’t connect the dots between unemployment and easy availability of illegal labor to employers.

When we heard the governor’s May Day speech, we contacted his Citizens Representative Office and asked to become part of the “diverse work group” being formed. There followed a long, frustrating saga of requests, refusals and lies from the governor’s office and staff, and four Freedom of Information filings — all fruitless. As time went by, we discovered the governor’s work group had actually been meeting in secret for more than a year, with input only from those who stood to profit from the plans, either politically or personally.

The public interest was completely shut out. While citizens were barred from the secret meetings, officials from the Mexican Consular office were invited to participate.

SB 833 was quickly rammed through the Oregon Legislature without the usual hearings process, causing citizens to start a challenge to the bill almost immediately.

The required number of valid signatures for a referendum was 58,142. We collected more than 75,000 in a little more than three months, from towns and counties all over Oregon. In the first validation test by the Secretary of State, a 1,000-signature sample is taken, and 9.44 percent of the 1,000 are automatically deducted without examination on the assumption of at least 9.44 percent inaccuracy. However, after the first screening, the PODL referendum still had enough valid signatures to qualify — a rarity among initiatives. Our quick success was due to widespread indignation over SB 833.

As a result, Oregon voters will have the opportunity to decide the issue. There should be in-depth discussions allowing voters a chance to think about the issue and learn the true, serious ramifications and consequences of the bill. To this end, OFIR and the PODL Committee plan to expand their website in coming weeks and will be available to speak to civic groups.

Proponents of giving driver cards to illegal aliens claim it will make our roads safer. They have no data to back up these claims. The history of convictions among illegal aliens for drunk driving and drug gang involvement shows otherwise.

Granting official Oregon driver privilege cards to illegal aliens is not only dangerous, it undermines the rule of law on which our nation was founded. SB 833 should be voted down.

Jim Ludwick is communications director for Oregonians for Immigration Reform and the Protect Oregon Driver Licenses Committee. For more information, visit www.protectoregondl.org.

NOTE:  This article was printed in the weekly Viewpoints section of the News-Register beside an article by Ron Louie, retired Hillsboro police chief. Louie's article was headed YES and presented arguments in favor of SB 833.

By:
Robert Bennett
Mail Tribune
2013-11-14

Before the government shutdown, as Harry Reid refused to negotiate, the media blamed Republicans for the closure. But that proved to be the perfect "briar patch" to be thrown into once the shortcomings of Obamacare became known to the public. The Obamacare debut was so bad the Obama-media-complex couldn't hide it and anti-Republican polls reversed themselves and voters realized the world would be a better place if Ted Cruz had been able to defund it.

Only President Obama didn't seem to get it and now he intends to promote another piece of massively complex legislation, Comprehensive Immigration Reform. But the public won't be fooled twice. Now they know this president will happily grant waivers to his political friends and he'll pick and choose which parts of a law he will — or will not — enforce. They know too, most illegal aliens in America are poorly educated, so they'll probably vote Democrat, creating even more Reids and Obamas.

In short, the president has blown his cover. He was able to keep enough folks in the dark to push through Obamacare, but his chances of doing that with immigration reform are pretty much zilch to none.

And that's a very good thing.

 

By:
Gary Rider
democratherald.com
2013-11-09

Politics can work. Mainly at the local or state level.

Oregonians for Immigration Reform stepped up to challenge the driver card bill passed by the left-leaning governor and state representatives. They collected signatures and now it will be a ballot measure next November.

All this bill really does is buy votes for liberals. It does not guarantee safer drivers as it claims. It lines the pockets of insurance companies and most of all, it endorses illegal activity.

Don’t we have enough of that with this president?

Gary Rider, Albany

 

By:
Jerry Ritter
The Bulletin
2013-11-08

Once again the media have wrongly and unfairly characterized Oregonians for Immigration Reform as an “anti-immigrant group."

OFIR is not anti-immigrant. We oppose illegal immigration. OFIR has clearly stated that it favors levels of legal immigration that are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.

We are opposed to making it easier for unscrupulous businesses to hire workers who are in the country illegally instead of American workers. We are opposed to our governor and legislators laying out the welcome mat for these workers and thumbing their noses at our nation’s laws by aiding and abetting people who have violated the law. Kudos to OFIR, Rep. Kim Thatcher, Rep. Sal Esquivel and the hundreds of volunteers who have forced a referendum on the ill-advised Senate Bill 833.

Jerry Ritter

Springfield

 

By:
Elizabeth Van Staaveren
OregonLive.com
2013-11-08

In a sign of the times, tiny apartments of less than 200 square feet are to be built in Portland. They will have shared kitchens.

To those familiar with population trends, this isn’t surprising. Tight living quarters may be in the future for all but the richest elite - envision crowds of people milling around on the streets day and night, like those in the sci-fi movies, Soylent Green and Blade Runner.

Ballooning population increases of recent years are apparent, and thoughtful people wonder: Will growth never stop? Will Oregon and the U.S. become one unbroken sprawl of high-rise apartments from east to west, where a dwelling unit of 200 square feet might even be a luxury?

Read the full letter here.

 

By:
David Olen Cross
OregonLive.com
2013-11-01

Senate Bill 833, passed by the Oregon Legislature and signed into law on May 1 by Gov. John Kitzhaber, will undermine Senate Bill 1080, legislation passed in 2008 that requires legal presence in the state to obtain an Oregon driver’s license.

Ever since the passage SB 1080, the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles has been required by Oregon law (House Bill 3624) to provide an annual report on the number persons driving without licenses or insurance.

Read the full commentary about SB 833 - click on read the original letter

By:
Gary Rider
StatesmanJournal.com
2013-10-29

I am pleased that Oregonians for Immigration Reform stepped up to the plate. You see, the only place you can achieve political results is at the city or state level.

My view of the driver card issue is based on the fact that we have a Democrat in Salem along with a Democratic Legislature. So, follow the money:

1. Revenue for the state.

2. Vote buyer for the Democrats.

3. This will not make safe drivers.

4. Insurance companies are drooling at the mouth.

There are many points of view, but the main one is this: This is condoning illegal behavior. How do you overrule that fact?

We already have a president who does not follow the Constitution. Come on. Enough.

Gary Rider

Albany

 

By:
David Cross
StatesmanJournal.com
2013-10-26

Senate Bill 833, passed by the Oregon Legislature and signed into law on May 1 by Gov. John Kitzhaber, will undermine Senate Bill 1080, legislation passed in 2008 that requires legal presence in the state to obtain an Oregon driver’s license.

There was no justification for the Legislature and governor to make SB 833 state law this year allowing those without documentation to obtain access to a pseudo-driver’s license — called a driver card.

Looking back to 2012, when opponents to the issuance of driver’s licenses to the undocumented found out about proposed legislation that would change the legal-presence requirement, they asked to participate in what was then called the Governor’s Driver License Task Force. They were completely shut out.

Exclusion of public input continued even after SB 833 was introduced during the regular 2013 legislative session.

To avoid scrutiny or critiques of the legislation, pro-SB 833 legislators dominated with their own testimony during most of the time they made available for public oral testimony on the legislation. Before hearing from citizens who had signed up to speak in opposition, the Senate committee chair invited lengthy oral testimony from an alleged undocumented mother accompanied by her small child, a political ploy known as “baby waving.”

It gets worse; to avoid further public scrutiny of SB 833 that might reveal possible flaws in the legislation, the senators and representatives controlling the legislative process used a tactic of moving the legislation from the Senate directly to the House floor for a debate and vote, sidestepping the normal procedure of hearings in both chambers.

To open up the democratic process to citizens shunned by the pro-SB 833 cabal in the governor’s office and Legislature, state Reps. Kim Thatcher and Sal Esquivel, along with Richard F. LaMountain, vice president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform, stepped forward and placed their names on Oregon referendum 301. The referendum campaign’s being successful would stop SB 833 from becoming state law on Jan. 1, 2014, and instead would place the legislative decision before Oregon voters in November 2014.

With guidance from OFIR and the Protect Oregon Driver Licenses Committee, in a nonpartisan effort, Oregonians worked together and gathered in just more than four months 70,973 referendum signatures that were turned into the state elections office by the Oct. 4 deadline.

On Oct. 18, after the first statistical check by state election officials of 1,000 referendum petition signees, election officials validated the signatures of 58,291 registered Oregon voters, more than the minimum number of signatures the referendum campaign needed.

The 70,973 registered Oregon voters who signed the referendum did their homework. These Oregonians understand there is simply no data to back up proponents’ claims that making SB 833 a state law will make Oregon’s roads any safer.

The Bulletin
2013-10-23

Oregon voters who think illegal immigrants should not get driver’s cards will have the chance to overrule their legislators next year. We hope they’ll do just that.

The opportunity comes from Oregon’s initiative process.

The Legislature passed Senate Bill 833 earlier this year, allowing those in the state illegally to get driver’s cards. It was scheduled to go into effect in January.

But last week, Secretary of State Kate Brown announced that opponents had collected enough signatures to put Referendum No. 301 on the November 2014 ballot. If the majority of voters vote no, SB 833 will be overturned. In the meantime, its provisions are on hold.

To get a driver’s card under SB 833, a person must meet all the requirements for a driver’s license except proof of legal residency. The cards are supposed to carry a distinguishing label to prevent their use to try to prove a person is in the nation legally.

Advocates of the law say it will encourage illegal residents to learn the rules of the road, get insurance and drive legally, thereby helping them get to and from work and participate fully in the economy.

Unfortunately, granting the driver’s cards will also further confuse the issue of legal and illegal residence. Depending on how prominently the cards declare their difference from regular licenses, they could be used inappropriately.

The state should not be in the business of creating loopholes for those who break the law by being in the nation illegally. Solving the immigration issue is a federal responsibility and shouldn’t be handled piecemeal by the states.

Oregon’s initiative law has sometimes created governing challenges, as demonstrated by the state’s complex tax structure. But whatever the outcome of the vote in this case, it’s a good use of the initiative process. It gives voters a check on their elected representatives and the chance to exercise some direct democracy.
 

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