Letters and Op-Eds

Robert Bennett
Mail Tribune

To drive down the wages of hardworking Oregonians, the Democratic controlled Legislature passed Senate Bill 833 in October of 2013 to issue driver cards to illegal aliens. Governor Kitzhaber gleefully signed the bill and it was scheduled to take effect in 2014.

But Oregonians For Immigration Reform (OFIR) launched a campaign to save the Oregon worker. They sponsored a ballot initiative, Ballot Measure 88. It will appear on the ballot in November. A NO vote on the measure strikes down this odious law. Implementation has been put on hold until a decision has been rendered by the voters.

To find out more about the original legislation or the ballot measure, access the OFIR website at: www.oregonir.org/. This is an opportunity for rank-and-file citizen to stand up for the Oregon worker and restore sanity to both the workplace and the streets and highways of Oregon.


Endorsements staff
Daily Courier

Choosing to break the law or ignore the law in the name of safety may make sense under certain circumstances. Ballot Measure 88 is not among those rare circumstances.

The measure would direct the Oregon DMV to issue driver's licenses to people even if they are unable to show they are legal residents of the United States. It is on the ballot because a bill that would have done this was approved by the Oregon Senate in 2013. Even before the House of Representatives could take action on the bill, however, a referendum petition effort quickly gathered the necessary signatures to send the issue to the ballot.

Supporters of the measure contend this is a safety issue, and that immigrants in the country illegally will drive more safely if they have the opportunity to get a driver's license. People in the country illegally are going to drive anyway, supporters argue, so we might as well do our best to protect everyone else on the road.

While there may be something to this argument, it's not good enough to have voters give an official stamp of approval to those who have broken the law by entering the United States illegally.

Furthermore, the bill's supporters in the Legislature knew very well that rank-and-file voters would not stand for this. Once opponents of Senate Bill 833 gathered enough signatures to send the proposal to the ballot, supporters tried to change the wording of the ballot title so that it included no reference to illegal immigrants. They tried to have the title read, "Establishes limited purpose, duration driver card for individuals who prove Oregon residency, meeting driving requirements." Fortunately, the Oregon Supreme Court upheld the original ballot title wording, so that when you receive your ballot later this month, Measure 88 will read, "Provides Oregon resident driver card without requiring proof of legal presence in the United States."

Straightforward, easy to understand. That's the way ballot measures should be.

People without licenses drive all the time, and a majority of them are not illegal immigrants — they lost their licenses due to multiple drunken driving convictions or other road-related crimes such as reckless driving. But the answer is not to write new laws that create a way around existing laws. The answer is to adequately enforce the laws that are already on the books.

Vote no on Measure 88.

Charles Boyd
The Bulletin

Those who advocate giving driver cards to individuals who live in Oregon illegally ignore the broader issues associated with illegal immigration.

The U.S. population is 317 million and will increase to over 400 million by 2050. Seventy percent of the increase will be due to both legal and illegal immigration, according to Support U.S. Population Stabilization. We allow about a million individuals to come here legally each year. The environmental impact of this rapidly increasing population is significant.

The U.S. is already experiencing water shortages in various parts of the country. California, Arizona and Nevada are rationing water in many areas, and the water in the great Ogallala Aquifer, important to agriculture in the Midwest, is being “mined.” We are at risk of degrading the environment in our constant quest for more energy to keep up with the growing population. Witness the continuing controversy over fracking and the rapid spread of windmill generators in scenic environments. This is to say nothing of concerns about terrorists and drug cartels who wish to cross our porous borders.

There are many in the world who need help, but we cannot take them all in. It is estimated that about 70,000 will have entered illegally this year from Central America alone. The U.S. cannot continue to be a safety valve for the population excesses of other countries. Millions of taxpayer dollars are being spent to provide care for the immigrants, including payment for legal fees to guarantee due process.

The backlog of cases is so great that many are released into society with the hope that they will show up for a hearing. Most will probably be allowed to stay, which will draw thousands more next year.

The magnet that draws many of them is the promise of amnesty provided by the immigration bill passed by the Senate and the 2012 Obama presidential administrative amnesty action taken for young illegals already in the U.S. Ronald Regan supported amnesty for millions in 1986, but promised border security never materialized, and millions more have crossed the border illegally, or overstayed their visas. Sen. Ron Wyden, Sen. Jeff Merkley and President Obama champion the middle class but ignore the fact that more tax money to help immigrants places additional burdens on that middle class. We have thousands of homeless and unemployed citizens who could use that money.

We cannot continue to enable the millions who break into our country illegally. It weakens our rule of law and demeans the meaning of citizenship. Pew Research estimates there are over 160,000 individuals living in the state of Oregon illegally. This November, Oregon citizens will have an opportunity to vote whether illegal residents should be issued a driver card. This concept has been pushed by Gov. John Kitzhaber and many Democrats in the Legislature. Those who are in this country illegally should be denied this privilege as it facilitates their ability to take jobs, providing unnecessary competition for over 100,000 Oregon citizens who are unemployed. The flood of immigrants also results in lower wages and places stress on medical facilities and schools, which may already be overcrowded. Providing driver cards does not guarantee additional safety on the road and only serves to attract more illegal immigrants to the state.

If you were in the U.S. illegally, which states would you move to, those that would provide you a driver card, or those states that support the rule of law?

Cynthia Kendoll
Statesman Journal

Legislators know and polling proves that citizens do not support the idea of legitimizing the presence of people here illegally.

None of the 10 states that offer driver cards or licenses to illegal immigrants has ever given voters a choice on the matter.

Oregon is the only state with the opportunity to vote on whether to grant state-issued ID (in the form of driver cards) to people illegally in our country.

We're fortunate to have the opportunity to vote no on Measure 88 for many reasons.

• Contrary to our opponents' claims, car insurance is not required to get a driver card. Car insurance goes with the car – not the driver card.

• Contrary to our opponents' claims, driver card applicants are not likely to purchase car insurance. Illegal immigrants can purchase car insurance now and most often choose not to. A state-issued ID will not change that.

• Most concerning of all (and in direct refutation of claims by our opponents) the TSA has confirmed that an Oregon driver card could be used to board a commercial airliner.

Protect Oregon Driver Licenses and the Sheriffs of Oregon PAC urge a no vote on Ballot Measure 88.


Bob Messinger
Daily Courier

Recent reports of ISIS terrorists coming across the southern border should not be a surprise to anyone.

After all, thousands of people illegally cross the border every day and President Obama seems pleased to see them coming. But when ISIS jihadists first enter the country from Mexico, they'll quickly discover there are only a handful of states that will grant them legal driving privileges.

If Gov. John Kitzhaber and the Democrats in the Oregon Legislature had their way, Oregon would have been one of those states, but an organization called Oregonians For Immigration Reform has stopped them cold. OFIR gathered signatures and put a referendum on the November ballot that will stop the implementation of a law enacted in 2013 to extend driving privileges to illegal aliens in Oregon.

Gov. Kitzhaber and the Democrats must be fuming and gnashing their teeth at the thought of not being able to issue driving cards to ISIS terrorists, but their efforts will be thwarted if Oregon voters stand up and vote no on Measure 88 in November. It's a simple thing the average citizen can do to make Oregon a safer place to live.


Richard F. LaMountain
The Register Guard

In April 2013, when Oregon lawmakers passed Senate Bill 833 granting driver cards to illegal immigrants, “their intent was clear ... to make the state’s roads safer for all Oregonians,” editorialized The Register-Guard in its endorsement of Measure 88 (“Approve driver card measure,” Sept. 14).

What “their intent was not,” the editorial asserted, was “to undermine federal immigration laws or to turn Oregon into a magnet for undocumented workers who would take jobs away from legal residents and siphon public resources.”

Intent — especially that of a 90-member Legislature — is a hard thing to divine. What is “clear,” however, is this: If voters approve Measure 88, what the editorial said lawmakers intended driver cards to do is unlikely to happen, and what it said they did not intend them to do is almost certain to happen.

The editorial claims that Measure 88 “would almost certainly reduce the number of uninsured drivers on the state’s roads.”

Would it? “Liability insurance is not a requirement for ... the proposed driver card that is under Senate Bill 833/Ballot Measure 88,” writes David House of the Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division.

Notes the Federation for American Immigration Reform: “What is mistakenly assumed is that illegal aliens, who generally are low-income, have the cash available to acquire auto insurance... . While a few illegal aliens may be willing and able to buy insurance,” their numbers would not likely be sufficient “to significantly reduce the number of uninsured drivers.”

Before the 2008 passage of Senate Bill 1080, which required Oregon license applicants to prove legal U.S. presence, illegal immigrants were routinely licensed to drive. And yet, according to a January 2013 report by Oregon DMV administrator Tom McClellan, “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.”

So it is dubious to assert, as the editorial did, that public safety is “the prism through which voters should view Measure 88.” Here are the real “prisms” through which voters should view the measure:

The rule of law. “A stable, harmonious society depends on the law’s consistent application to both citizens and non-citizens,” writes Cynthia Kendoll, president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform. “A government that enforces laws on its citizens, but bends laws to accommodate those here illegally, will invite the contempt of both.”

Oregon does not exist in a vacuum. It has responsibilities to the nation of which it is a part. One of those responsibilities is to not take actions that reward lawbreakers and would, as FAIR says, “frustrate .... the purposes and objectives of federal immigration law.”

Jobs. Today in Oregon, according to the state Employment Department, more than 200,000 U.S. citizens and legal residents are either jobless or “involuntary part-time workers.” Concurrently, FAIR has estimated, more than 120,000 illegal immigrants may hold Oregon jobs — jobs that driver cards would better enable them to take and keep.

Overwhelmingly, illegal immigrants take lower-wage jobs in fields such as food services, construction, building maintenance and groundskeeping — jobs occupied disproportionately by young, minority and low-skilled Americans. For many of these Americans, such jobs provide their families’ main support; for others, they provide crucial supplemental income. They offer young people who are new to the job market experience in adult responsibility. Such jobs are likely to offer many of our long-term unemployed a step back into the working world. And far from being “dead-end” jobs, many of them provide the first rung on the ladder to higher-paying supervisory and managerial work.

Oregonians should reject the driver cards that would better enable illegal immigrants to compete with our economically vulnerable fellow citizens for much-needed jobs.

Illegal immigrants’ fiscal burden on Oregonians. “Contrary to the claims of opponents,” asserted the editorial, “undocumented immigrants play a vital role in the state’s economy.”

Do they? In late 2012, FAIR calculated that Oregon’s then-estimated 170,000 illegal immigrants and their 64,000 U.S.-born children used more than $1 billion a year of state and local government services, but paid only $77 million a year in state and local taxes. Their annual cost to each of Oregon’s U.S.-citizen-headed households: $728. More illegal immigrants attracted by driver cards would mean more money extracted from Oregon taxpayers to fund the services those illegal immigrants and their children consume.

To conclude: Driver cards would do little if anything to increase the number of insured drivers. They would, however, undermine the rule of law, better enable illegal immigrants to take jobs from Oregonians, and add to the already-substantial fiscal burden they impose on the state’s taxpayers.

The choice is clear. Reject driver cards for illegal immigrants with a “no” vote on Measure 88.

Richard LaMountain was a chief petitioner for the Measure 88 referendum.

Lee Vasche
The Bulletin

Thank you to The Bulletin for letting us know that Jodie Barram supports Measure 88, the ballot measure that would provide special driver cards to illegal immigrants.

Evidently Barram thinks it is good for Oregon to hand out driver cards to any illegal immigrant who can come up with little more than a utility bill. With this kind of thinking, Barram isn’t qualified to run a lemonade stand, let alone Deschutes County.


Baker City Herald Editorial Board
Baker City Herald

To support Measure 88, which would allow Oregon to give “driver cards” to people who can’t prove they have the legal right to be in the U.S., you have to believe, among other things, that most illegal immigrants in the state don’t drive.

We’ve not seen any compelling evidence that this is true.

Most generally, people don’t defy U.S. immigration laws unless they have a job here. Most people drive to work. Given that nobody denies that thousands of illegal immigrants are working today in Oregon, it’s beyond dispute that many of those workers, and probably most of them, are already driving, license or not.

The argument proffered by Measure 88 proponents, that the issue of driver’s cards is an economic one, that businesses will suffer if the measure fails because their workers won’t be able to get to work, falls far short of compelling.

Measure 88 proponents also contend that giving these workers a government-approved card would encourage them to buy insurance.

But here’s the thing: Drivers are already required by law to maintain valid insurance. Only the supremely naive would blithely assume that people who flout one law — federal immigration — would definitely comply with another — buying driver’s insurance.

It’s hardly a revelation, of course, that America’s enforcement of its immigration laws is less than robust.

But there’s no good reason for Oregon voters to thumb their noses at those laws by rewarding immigrants who refuse to follow the well-worn path leading to full U.S. citizenship and all the rights and privileges — including driving, among the latter — that citizenship confers.

Andre Pinette
The Bulletin

The In My View opinion Sept. 18 by Marilyn Burwell on Measure 88 glosses over some realities regarding auto insurance and driver’s licenses and the hoped-for driver cards. Insurance is not required to obtain a driver’s license, nor would it be for the hoped-for driver cards. Nothing compels a driver wanting a license or card to obtain any insurance, period. But it would be nice if it were a compulsory requirement.

Vehicles are required to be insured, not the driver. Consider all of the uninsured vehicles on the road, the fact that they are there does not increase nor decrease safety on the road. Many vehicles cross state lines both ways; who keeps track? Many carry contraband. Simply put, insurance does not make you safe. Consider how it is practiced that drivers borrow, perhaps steal cars, or how owners lend their cars out to friends and relatives.

Most cars are insured, of course, already. Consider how an individual can acquire a fleet of clunkers and insure them all at a discounted bulk rate with the express purpose of loaning them out for free or a fee. You might call this person an enabler. A driver card will not make anyone safer. Measure 88, it’s not about safety. You know what it’s about; vote no on 88.


Jerry Ritter
The Register Guard

“Immigrant families illegally in U.S. fail to report as ordered,” a Sept. 26 article reported. What a shock!

Did anyone seriously believe the tens of thousands of illegal immigrants who recently flooded across our southern border would later show up to meet with federal immigration agents?

They’re staying, and joining the 11 million illegal immigrants already here. Some will come to Oregon, where Gov. John Kitzhaber is reported to have said they’ll be “welcomed with open arms.”

The governor and Lane County’s Democratic legislators want us to pass Measure 88 on Nov. 4 to help the immigrants by giving them driver cards. So do Oregon employers who hire illegal immigrants to work for low wages.

The state Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division found “no major difference” in the number of unlicensed and uninsured drivers prior to 2008 — when illegal immigrants could get driver’s licenses — and the later period when they cannot. Measure 88 would do nothing for “road safety” as claimed.

All Measure 88 would do, if passed, is lure more illegal immigrants to Oregon, where they will continue to take jobs, increase classroom sizes, put further strain on social safety nets and help keep a lid on wages. Vote “no” on Measure 88.