Letters and Op-Eds
I just read the story about issuing driver’s licenses to non-U.S. citizens.
I think if immigrants not in the United States legally need a driver’s license so badly, they should become a citizen first, then apply for a license. I don’t understand how it would create safer roads if they get their license. Does having that license in their pocket automatically make them drive better?
What kind of training are they going to get? You can be sure it will be paid for by legal citizens.
Immigration laws need to be enforced first. Then, as immigrants become citizens, they can apply for a driver’s license legally.
I am unable to come to a conclusion on the issue of driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants.
On the one hand, what part of illegal do we wish to reward with legal driving privileges? On the other, requiring a license will at least allow a stab at ensuring driving ability for most everyone on the road.
I do have a suggestion for the Legislature, though. State law requires auto liability insurance. Perhaps it should be written into the law that if an undocumented person is found to be driving without adequate insurance, then that person will be immediately turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation.
Once the word of that enforcement tool gets around, there will probably be a higher proportion of undocumented aliens with insurance than the general driving population.
Civil society is based on the concept of rule of law. But the rule of law means less when laws can be deliberately ignored – when people are given permission to disobey the laws.
Senate Bill 833 is a good example of this, as it essentially rewards illegal behavior.
If passed, SB 833 would create short-term driver privilege cards for undocumented Oregon residents.
There is no doubt that this is a nation of immigrants. For many generations, hard-working people from all over the world have helped make the United States the nation that it is.
But those immigrants went about obtaining their citizenship the right way. My family was among them.
The bottom line is, people who entered this country illegally have broken the law.
By considering laws like SB 833, we are doing a huge disservice to those who would wish to go through the proper processes to obtain citizenship, like millions of Americans have done over the years – not to mention a disservice and the chipping away of the laws of the land.
I understand that people need to drive to work, and that those who immigrate here are doing so to provide better economic opportunities for their families. But SB 833 takes the wrong approach to this issue, and I intend to vote against it when given the chance.
Oregonians deserve better than to have their civil society and its rules of law undermined by poor legislation.
Taxpayer-subsidized in-state college tuition for illegal aliens. Restoration of driver’s licenses for illegal aliens.
What can we next expect from Gov. John Kitzhaber and the Democrats in the Legislature? A decree to begin pledging allegiance to the Mexican or some other foreign flag?
Jerry J. Ritter
Iimmigrants without legal documentation could get Oregon driver’s licenses if legislators approve a bill filed Tuesday.
Senate Bill 833 would create a new four-year, “short-term" license for those who meet all other license requirements except proof of legal residence.
Although the licenses would carry an unspecified “distinguishing feature," there can be little doubt that they would be confused with standard licenses and further hamper efforts to distinguish legal from residents from those here illegally. It’s not the right way to solve the nation’s immigration problem.
Supporters say the change would improve public safety because immigrants who are here illegally could be licensed and insured drivers. The Oregonian reports the bill came from a work group convened by Gov. John Kitzhaber, and is a priority of Latino groups, who argue it would help the state’s economy by allowing Oregon residents to get to work and to participate fully in the economy.
Rep. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer, anticipated this bill when she wrote in the Keizertimes, a community newspaper, last fall. She said similar legislation had been defeated in a previous session, but the governor’s support could increase its chances in 2013.
Thatcher said current law is important in the battle against identity theft and fraud, and that immigrants who are here illegally “are breaking the law by being in the country. Why should we encourage their actions by issuing a state-sanctioned permission slip to stay here?" she wrote.
She worried that agencies would accept the new driver’s licences “as a legitimate form of ID, opening doors to other services, whether it’s bank accounts, welfare benefits, you name it."
Indeed, SB 833 doesn’t do enough to prevent such confusion. It leaves to the Department of Motor Vehicles the task of labeling the licenses. The Oregonian reports one idea is to print “Short Term" in a corner of the new licenses. That’s clearly insufficient.
Immigration reform is a critical national need, but it shouldn’t be handled piecemeal by state legislatures in a way that further confuses legal and illegal. Legislators should once again say no to this idea.
The headline “License To Thrive” on March 27 was sensational and tugged at ones heartstrings because of the plight of the protesters.
The federal law restricting driver licenses for undocumented residents seems responsible and reasonable. The flood of undocumented people into this country, and the subsequent high cost of social services, limit the chances for even a modest sustainable economy and environment.
If there is a question of residency status, then those persons should follow the standard legal avenues to resolve the issues, like everyone else.
It’s selfish to demand certain favors from the governor.
Rep. Kurt Schrader wrote in his March 11 guest opinion, “One hundred years ago, America took all comers to its shores.” He is wrong.
One hundred years ago, the nation had laws like today to protect the country from unwanted immigration and turned back aliens who had communicable diseases, were paupers or were fanatics.
He wrote, “Our byzantine immigration system encourages would-be immigrants to put their livelihoods on the line in order to seek the American dream.” He is talking about aliens who break our immigration laws and says that it is our fault because we don’t let everyone who wants to come in do so legally.
He wrote, “It makes criminals out of business owners and farmers for hiring folks to do work that no one else will do.” You are a criminal only if you deliberately break the law and hire illegal workers willing to be exploited at wages so low they are unattractive to legal workers. Rep. Schrader also ignores that there is a legal visa entry system for an unlimited number of temporary agricultural workers.
And he had the audacity to liken marches by illegal aliens calling for an amnesty to the civil rights marches to end racial discrimination and to suggest that the issue is religious by calling for an “epiphany” by lawmakers.
Rep. Schrader needs to become more informed of the facts before he pontificates, and he should have more compassion for U.S. citizens who are harmed by illegal immigration and be less influenced by illegal residents and those who benefit from depressed wages caused by their presence.
Two articles appeared in the March 5 issue of the Statesman Journal — one dealing with a situation in Oregon and another with a situation in California — yet both articles dealt with the same subject, namely how health insurance authorities related to people who speak languages different than English.
My question is, why relate to such people at all? Why not let people know that they have to speak English in order to get health insurance? Here I thought that we were an English-speaking country.
Clearly all of the (viable anyway) schemes being talked about in Washington, D.C., to provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants contemplate that those people will have to learn English in order to qualify.
Is there any doubt that a person who walked into a DMV in Mexico City and asked to take the test in English would be laughed out of the place? Yet here we bend over backwards to accommodate people who choose not to speak English.
If it is good enough for Washington, D.C. politicians, it should be good enough for us. I just don’t get it.
Peter M. Appleton
House Bill 2787, the so-called “tuition equity” bill, is being shoved down our throats regardless of the desires of the people.
So far, the newspaper polls are running 75 percent to 85 percent against it, but that has no impact on our elected officials who dance to the tune of special interests.
They chose to ignore the basic inherent immorality of the issue in favor of either permitting the ranks of cheap labor to increase (thus further reducing the standard of living for the working poor and lower middle class) or furthering the increase of a massive and rapidly growing voter block, regardless of its legal status.
I can’t believe that the average citizen can’t see that this is all happening to the detrament of all of us but the very wealthy, powerful or politically connected.
As a homeowner, I am really sick of paying for the costs of what promotes benefit to only a limited number of elected officials and business elite.
If they want this type of giveaway, let them pay for it. But oh, no. All I hear from this group is let’s lower taxes on business, but let’s also give away the farm and send the bill to someone else.
Gary John Will
I wasn’t allowed to testify against the in-state tuition bill (HB 2787) at the Feb. 13 legislative hearing, although I arrived early and signed the first sheet. The fix was already in.
No one wants to punish students brought here by law-breaking parents, but citizens should know that illegal immigrants who qualify for in-state college tuition may also achieve protected minority status, giving them an affirmative action advantage for jobs against equally innocent American students.
Employers who can’t think past cheap labor are fueling the planned representational irrelevance of citizens as illegal immigration expands.
When I asked Democratic Rep. Michael Dembrow if he’d sponsor a state e-verify bill to stop drawing illegal labor to Oregon, he dismissed it as a federal issue and walked away. How’s that for compassion?