ballot measure 88

Oregon 2014 Ballot Measure 88 will give driver cards to illegal aliens. Vote NO on Ballot Measure 88.

Oregon Voters Oppose Driver's Licenses for Illegals

According to a recent survey, voters in Oregon appear poised to roll back legislation that would have given the state's illegal immigrants the opportunity to obtain "driver cards" (a form driver's license permitted by federal law but not acceptable for federal purposes, such as boarding an airplane). Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber (D), signed the bill into law in May 2013, but a group called Oregonians for Immigration Reform of McMinnville (a town in the heart of the Willamette Valley wine country) gathered more than 70,000 signatures in just a few months to freeze the law pending a referendum to be held on Election Day this year.

The survey, conducted for Oregon Public Broadcasting, revealed that Oregon voters disapprove of Ballot Measure 88, which would permit Oregon DMVs to issue driver's licenses to residents with no proof of legal residence, by nearly 2-1. (60 percent against; 31 percent in favor)

The poll is noteworthy for a few reasons. Oregon is a blue state. President Obama carried it by 12 points in 2012. The bill sailed through the Oregon legislature last year with bipartisan support — the vote was 47-7 in the House and 20-7 in the Senate. And many nearby states — California, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico — already grant some form of driver's licenses to illegal immigrants who qualify for them. But Oregonians, concerned that the measure would attract more illegal immigrants to the state, have said "not so fast". (Oregon has approximately 160,000 to 170,000 illegal immigrants, or about 4 percent of the state's total population.)

The Register Guard, a daily newspaper in Eugene, ran a lengthy story about the campaign on Saturday, along with a chart detailing spending to date. While neither side is particularly well funded, it's interesting to note that the "yes" camp (those who favor the driver's licences) has outraised and outspent the naysayers by more than 10-1. (The "yes" side raised $421,000 and has spent $273,000; the "no" side raised just $37,000 and has spent $26,000.) Nearly all of the top donors for the "yes" campaign are labor unions.

The disconnect between what politicians and labor unions apparently want and what the public thinks is a good idea is startling, and it shows how out of step elected leaders and union officials are with their constituents. Voters are deeply skeptical of measures providing any sort of benefits to illegal immigrants for good reason. In the United States, where a huge majority of citizens do not own a passport, a driver's license provides de-facto legitimacy and enables migrants to, as NumbersUSA neatly summarized, "rent apartments and cars, open bank accounts, cash checks, enter secure buildings, buy guns, and board commercial aircraft, among other things."

It also sends a mixed signal to illegal immigrants, many of whom aren't fluent English speakers and don't understand all of the nuances of our political system. If the state takes their photo and hands them an official looking card, that gives them a feeling of legitimacy and no doubt confirms their impression that the United States isn't serious about enforcing immigration law.

Oregon allowed applicants to obtain driver's licenses without proof of legal status prior to changing the law in 2008. So why change it back again now? I've read all the arguments for and against Ballot Measure 88, and I've yet to see anyone demonstrate that changing the law to deny illegal immigrants driver's licenses in 2008 has had any detrimental effect on public safety.

In fact, if you look at Oregon's annual "Traffic Crash Summaries", put out by the Oregon Department of Transportation, it appears as though traffic fatalities have declined since 2008. From 2003 to 2007, traffic deaths ranged from 455-512; whereas from 2008 to 2012, the figures ranged from 317 to 416. And this is during a time when the state's population increased substantially.

The truth is that there is no effective way to make sure that illegal immigrants maintain auto insurance, which is costly and generally a low priority for people who are barely scraping by. Oregon voters have an opportunity to send a resounding message, not just to their own politicians, but also to elected representatives all over the country.

Where candidates stand on immigration

Alert date: 
October 27, 2014
Alert body: 

OFIR has now added to the website a section on candidates in the Nov. 4 general election.  Please visit it to see the latest information on candidates’ positions on benefits to illegal aliens, use of E-Verify, and related issues. Click here:  http://www.oregonir.org/immigration-topics/2014-general-election.

Protect Oregon Driver Licenses - Cynthia Kendoll On The Long Road To No On 88

VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow writes:

I was very impressed by this recent presentation to the Social Contract Magazine’s Writers Workshop conference by Oregon’s Cynthia Kendoll on the struggle to block state legislation giving driver’s licenses to illegals. Just as in Montana in 2012, an immigration patriot initiative seems likely to prevail overwhelmingly, while GOP statewide candidates run away—and are defeated.

The presentation begins:

Good morning everyone. Thank you to K.C. [McAlpin, US Inc. Executive Director] for inviting me here today to tell our Oregon story. It’s been a wild ride!

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After the terrorist attacks of 2001, the 9/11 Commission gave very specific suggestions about what to do next. One of the most important items was to secure our driver’s licenses.

It took Oregon, which seemed determined to drag its feet, until 2008 to comply. But in 2008, our state legislature passed a secure driver’s license bill that required proof of legal presence in the United States. At the same time, it passed a companion bill requiring that uninsured motorists be tracked.

Unfortunately, since 2008, the state government has been working to undo that legislation

Our organization [Oregonians for Immigration Reform] works to motivate and educate citizens. When I took over as President, I felt that there was a very tight-knit board that did everything. We had a lot of members, but they were not really participating as I felt they could be. So we tried to make our organization consist of thousands of individual activists instead of one organization with a bunch of members. We did a billboard campaign and we were just amazed. We would put up a billboard and then we would go to the legislature and listen to the phones ring. It really makes you feel like your money is well spent when phones are ringing off the hook!

We focused on what our state government was trying to do. Just to give you an idea, on May Day 2012, our Bureau of Labor and Industries Commissioner read a letter from our Governor, John Kitzhaber, on the steps of the Capitol to a huge crowd. In the letter he said that the Governor was hoping to find a way to restore driving privileges to those “Oregonians” (i.e. illegal aliens) who did not qualify for a regular Oregon driver’s license. He was going to form a work group to investigate how he could go about doing that. [Gov. Kitzhaber promises action on immigrant driver's license issue, By Ryan Kost, Oregonian.com, May 1, 2012]

I left the steps of the Capitol and ran into the Capitol building, to the legislative services office, and said, “I want to volunteer to be on that work group.” The woman laughed at me and said, “Oh good grief, it will be weeks before they put that together. We’ll keep you posted.”

Nothing happened, so every three days I would check back and ask if they had started the group. All of our board members were calling and asking to be in this group to make sure that all voices are heard. Finally the lady got really annoyed and said: “We’re going to have letters prepared. We have selected the group, we have letters prepared, and they will be in the mail today for everybody, whether you are in the group or not.”

I went home and waited for five days. I didn’t get a letter. So I went back and, just by chance, there was an intern at the front desk and I said: “I would like to know about the Governor’s workgroup that’s looking into the driver’s licenses for people that are not here legally.”

And she said: “What about it?”

I said: “I would like a seat at that table.”

She said: “Well that group has been meeting for over a year.”

Well, that’s how they wanted to play it. Time to regroup.

We asked for information about the committee, we asked who was on the committee, we asked questions, and went to every department, including the Governor’s’ office, the Office of Equity and Inclusion, and the Department of Motor Vehicles. Everybody rejected us and turned us away.

We filed Freedom of Information requests, four of them. Every one of them was turned down.

We went to the newspapers and a reporter at The Statesman Journal filed a Freedom of Information request and he was turned down. That really made him mad, so Governor Kitzhaber had to deal with a front page story exposing his secret work group.

David Cross, a phenomenal sleuth who does all of our crime reporting on foreign nationals, combs all the papers to find if someone submitted a letter to the editor, just happened to be combing the Internet and he ran across the minutes for these meetings. They were just laden with goodies—comments like: “The only way we’ll pass such a bill is if we can make this a safety issue. So we need to find a way to get law enforcement involved. We need to find a way to get insurance companies involved.” [Why opponents of driver-card legislation went to the ballot, By David Olen Cross, Oregonian.com, October 31, 2013]

So clearly they knew that people were going to buck this. I heard a rumor that they were going to try to include motor voter registration in this driver’s license bill, but somebody said: “That will wake the citizens up, so we better not put that in yet. We’ll do it incrementally.”

It tells you all you need to know about their mindset.

But a bill reversing the ban was introduced on April 2, 2013, had one hearing that was front-loaded with supporters, passed to the House Ways & Means Committee, and then to the House floor. They raced it through in under a month so that the Governor could sign it on May Day.

The night before the May Day rally, I got a call from Craig Keller and he said: “I have read the entire law and there is no emergency clause. Do you know what that means?”

I said: “Not really.”

He said: “Well that means that you can file a citizen’s referendum and challenge this law.”

I had heard the word “referendum,” but had no clue what was involved. But Craig said: “This is what you have to do. They are having this huge rally tomorrow and you need to take advantage of that media. They are going to have huge media coverage because this is huge for Oregon. Every newspaper, radio, TV station will be there. You’ll never get that kind of media attention again for an announcement that we are going to do a referendum. So write a press release and go there.”

So I did. I went there and had all my press releases clutched to my chest, waiting for the Governor to sign that bill. I didn’t want anyone to have an inkling we were going to do this. As soon as the Governor signed the bill, I started handing out press releases and all the sudden all of the press was following me: “Can we talk to you? What’s this about a referendum?”

The front page story was: “Governor signs driver’s card bill”—and then, right after that, an article about our group filing a referendum. [Gov. John Kitzhaber signs driver cards bill at May Day rally as opponents pursue referendum, OregonLive.com, By Yuxing Zheng, May 01, 2013]

For a quick review, a bill is passed by the legislature but if the citizens don’t like it, we have a constitutional right to a citizen’s veto referendum. This requires us to collect half of the number of signatures that it took to elect the Governor. That number was 58,142. We collected 77,000 signatures.

After that, you are assigned a ballot measure number. Of course, they took their sweet time about giving us that, which makes it very difficult because you want to put your ballot measure number on all your publicity materials.

Then there is Election Day, which is November 4.

There was far more work involved than I expected. Every single day it was something more, something now, something needs to be filed, registered, etc. Just to get this thing moving, there were so many steps to take.

I had heard absolutely horrendous horror stories about our Secretary of State’s office. So I went to them and said: “Listen. I’m a citizen, I’m a volunteer, I have no clue what I need to do, but I do know that I don’t want to make any mistakes. So, please help me.”

I was very respectful to them, and they were incredibly respectful to me. I had all their answers to my questions in writing so I had them to refer back to. Everyone kept asking me how I got them to be like. I said that if you treat them nicely, and don’t go in with an attitude, maybe they might not be so mean to you.

The biggest problem that we had to take care of right off the bat was getting the signature sheets and the bill printed. For every signature sheet, there had to be an 11-page copy of the bill. So I had cases upon cases of printer ink in my house. We had packet stuffing parties to get them all produced.

One of the very first things I did was call Fred Elbel and say we needed a website. He got on it right away. He warned me about what I was getting into and said: “It will be seven days a week, it will be every single day, every hour; it will be all you do until this is done.”

Now every time we talk, his sage soothing words are. “Told ‘ya.”

In Oregon, we can do online signature gathering on a single signer sheet. You log on to our website, you see the bill, you see a single signer sheet, you can print it out, sign it, and mail it in. That is really great because you can do it from the comfort of your own home, mail it in and never come in contact with the signature gatherer. We collected over 10,000 signatures online. That was twice the number of any other referendum in Oregon history.

One of the great pivot points was when the Oregon Republican Party endorsed our referendum. They told all of the county chairs to activate all their Precinct Committee Persons (PCPs) to support us. That was huge. We were getting packet requests from all over the state for signature gathering packets. I prepared over 800 packets and shuffled on down to the mailbox. They all weighed different because some people wanted 10 signature sheets, some wanted five, and some wanted extra copies of the bill and our literature.

We tried to get into as many events, fairs, gun shows; anywhere we could be to collect signatures. We just booked everything. We encouraged people to write Letters to the Editor to get the word out.

We worked very hard to take advantage of earned media. Jim Ludwick, one of the founding members and a past president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform, and I travelled the state for 18 months speaking everywhere we could. We spoke at meetings ranging from five people to 250 people, everything from Americans for Prosperity to 9-12 Project Clubs, Republican gatherings, Kiwanis Clubs and Rotary Clubs. You name it, we’ve been there.

Then comes all the signature sheets. Somebody has to open them, verify them, and make sure that mistakes were not made. We collected 77,000 signatures, but we self-purged 5,000 of them that were duplicates, dating problems, etc., and turned in 72,000. It was a full court press to gather these signatures. We just had to keep going as fast as we possibly could.

I would like to establish a day where we salute volunteers. I have the most phenomenal volunteers in my state. One day I was feeling completely overwhelmed, I had so many packet orders and so much to do and speaking engagements to go to, and there came this little, meek knock at the door. This woman, her name is Diane Johnson, came to the door and said: “I bet you need help today. Just tell me what you need me to do.” I love that; she did that several times.

Now there are some serious, hard costs involved in doing something like this. I am a penny-pincher, nickel-stretcher, you name it. I was very fortunate that U.S. Inc. very generously helped us out. We couldn’t have done it without them. We’re not a fundraising organization; that isn’t what we do. We do have generous members, but a lot of them are on a fixed income, so expecting them to give a lot of money is not realistic.

[California gubernatorial candidate] Tim Donnelly spoke at this conference last year. Several people told me that I needed to talk with him because he did a huge referendum in California. So I called him several times and he never called back. I thought: “Well, he is a busy man since he is running for Governor.” One day I was coming home with a big load of groceries and the phone rang and he said, “This is Tim Donnelly. You don’t have an answering machine, young lady. Do you know how many times I have tried to call you? Get paper, get a pen. I’m going to talk. You’re going to listen.”

Then for about half an hour, he just spewed advice about how to win the referendum. It was phenomenal advice.

One of the things he suggested we utilize was “drive-through democracy.” You pick a popular location, you advertise, and then you take advantage of the media. We had a gentleman who had a van and went to nursing homes and brought the residents through to sign the referendum.

oregon2drive

We put up a billboard for the fair in 2013 that said: “Come see us at the fair and sign our referendum at the fair.” That billboard is still up.

oregon3billboard

We even rented an outdoor booth at the Oregon State Fair. We were just absolutely swarmed with people coming to sign. Of course, last year’s fair had extremely warm weather and a hurricane that came through—not fun when you’re in an outside booth filled with papers. I had my foot on the table trying to hold the clipboards down. It was quite exciting.

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But we made it. We qualified to be on the ballot. I’m telling you, every jaw in the Capitol building dropped because nobody thought that we would do it.

Jim and I were watching as they were verifying the signatures. There were about a dozen people opposed to our efforts who were also watching and verifying. They would lean into the election officials real hard and write all of these challenge things down. Jim and I thought: “Isn’t it ironic that people who are here illegally are watching people who are trying to make sure that legal registered voters signed the forms properly, all so we can overturn a law that rewards people here illegally?” The irony there was just thick.

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Once we were verified, we thought we had clear sailing. Then a short session of the legislature came up.

We had a great ballot title. But the opposition evidently polled that title and said to themselves: “We’re going to lose. We’re going to lose big. We have to do something.”

So they got the bright idea to re-write the title in order to improve the odds of keeping the law. It passed the House and went over to the Senate. Fortunately, these tactics galvanized the major newspapers and radio stations to take our side. They said: “Get out of the citizens’ business, quit tinkering with the title.”

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Jim and I lived at the Senate for about five days, going from office to office saying: “You don’t want this on your record, do you?” The bill died in the Senate. So we prevailed.

Once we had our ballot title, we looked at our opponents to figure out what they were saying that we could counter. Newspapers kept saying that they had the support of law enforcement. I didn’t believe that, so I challenged the newspapers to say who. It turns out that it was just Ron Louie, the retired police chief of Hillsboro, a completely out-of-control city in regards to illegal immigration, and Police Chief Mike Reese of Portland, a Sanctuary City. That’s it—that’s their law enforcement support.

So I thought: “We can do better than that.” The day I was trying to figure out how to do this, I got a phone call from Sheriff Tom Bergin of Clatsop County. He said that he wanted to help us. He told me to hold off because he thought he could get a few more Sheriffs in.

Later, he called me again and told me that he had 9 people on board. Nine sheriffs! After that, he had 22! I thought “22, that’s great!” and asked him “Can I post something now?” And he said, no, not yet. He was going to a conference of the Oregon’s Sheriff’s Association and he thought he might be able to get a few more.

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Then he called me again and said he had 28 now, giving us a supermajority. Also, we now had the endorsement of the Sheriffs of Oregon PAC. That was just huge.

We have gone on to collect a wonderful group of endorsers. We have Michael Cutler, Border Patrol Union Vice President Derek Hernandez, two Oregon senators and two representatives, Maria Espinoza, D.A. King, and a lot more local law enforcement.

And people keep coming out of the woodwork. I was just on the phone trying to get our booth for the 2014 Oregon State Fair, trying to find out how we could get a booth that faced east so we wouldn’t have a storm move in, like last year. Then a donor called and said: “I want you to have the most kickass booth that you can have, and it’s on me.” So, we got an indoor booth, a banner, and a stop sign. It was really nice to be inside.

I worked very hard to get legislators and candidates to work in our booth because I wanted them to hear from the people walking by. We also got the bright idea to provide these fans in the shape of our trademark stop sign. So we made up these fans. I had 2,500 of them made and I have 12 left, they’re outside if you want one. They were a huge success.

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A gentleman told me I could put our lawn signs, five of them, on his frontage. So I did, but I came by a couple days later and my signs were tossed back in the blackberry bushes and this little paper sign opposing us was stapled up. We put them back, only for the same thing to happen—twice more. Then the homeowner got mad and he took the lawn sign and stapled it to the side of his garage. Our supporters’ dedication and courage is always inspiring.

A quick story here. Eddie Garcia, who now lives in La Grande, Oregon, had our ads running on his radio station. There’s a little newspaper in La Grande called Tidbits, and there was a Mexican restaurant who advertised in that paper, which was also carrying ads for Eddie’s radio show. So the Mexican restaurateur told the paper “If you don’t stop publishing ads for Eddy’s radio show, I’m going to pull my ad.” So the paper kicked the restaurant ads out and called us and said, “We’ll put your ad in our paper and you don’t have to pay for it.”

I love these stories.

We had a huge, standing-room-only meeting on September 27, 2014. Our group isn’t really a rally group, but we had a huge meeting and we got this brilliant idea. We had a captive audience; we got the lawn signs; we have Mission Street/Highway 22, which is a big, popular street, and I said: “Nobody leaves this place until you spend 15 minutes on the line.” And we did.

It was great, and we had great pictures in the paper.

In contrast to our more organic approach, our opposition, which has $423,000 (we have about a 1/10 of that), has professionally-produced signs and they stand on the corners of very busy intersections and chant. Their chant is usually something like “Stop the hate! Vote yes on 88.”

I’ve received plenty of reports that people think this is obnoxious, they don’t like to be yelled at while they are in their cars.

And news is always breaking in our favor. For example, we have been saying all along that driver’s cards will probably be used to get on a plane. This was always denied by the other side. However, we called TSA and they confirmed that driver’s cards can be used to board a plane. We got great TV news coverage after we had proven this.

Now we’re starting a full court press on radio ads. We’d love the help of any of you who can help us to the finish line. It can come in the form of advice, ideas, suggestions, or cold hard cash!

Measure 88 is really critical. Oregon is the only state that has been successful getting this issue to the ballot. Other states have tried and not gotten as far. We’re also the only state in the entire country to have an immigration issue on the ballot this fall. So all eyes are on us. We want to send a message so loud and clear.

Vote No on 88!

Cynthia Kendoll [Email her] is the President of Oregonians For Immigration Reform.

Oregon referendum's story told in Wahsington DC

Being invited to speak at the Social Contract's - Writer's Workshop was quite an honor for someone like me.

On October 12, I was in Washington D.C. to share the story of how a fearless group of grassroots activists turned this blue state we call home, on it's ear. 

Filing the Citizen's Veto Referendum was just the beginning.  Follow along with my presentation as we remember all the twists and turns we have encountered on our trip to getting SB833 on the ballot.  Against all odds, we did it!

Remember to Vote - and to Vote NO on Ballot Measure 88!

 

 

 

Russian radio to interview NO on 88 campaign

Alert date: 
October 22, 2014
Alert body: 

Sunday, October 26 from 3:00pm - 4:00pm Protect Oregon Driver Licenses Authorized Agent - Cynthia Kendoll will be a guest on AM1010 KOOR http://russianradio7.com/  

Ballot Measure 88 will be the topic of discussion - please tune in!

Salem City Club debate

Alert date: 
October 22, 2014
Alert body: 

Salem City Club Luncheon

Willamette Heritage Center at the Mill

Ballot Measure 88

                  Debate: Should Oregon Voters Approve Alternative Driver Cards for Those Who Cannot Prove

Legal Presence in the United States?

Cynthia Kendoll - Authorized Agent for Protect Oregon Driver Licenses will be representing the NO on 88 position.

Representing YES on 88 will be Matt Swanson of SEIU

Doors Open at 11:15

Noon - Friday, October 24, 2014

Register by
Wednesday at Noon on the week of the program

More information.

 

 

Temple Beth Israel hosts Ballot Measure discussion

Alert date: 
October 22, 2014
Alert body: 
Protect Oregon Driver Licenses has been invited to participate in a Ballot Measure review this Thursday evening, October 23 at 7:00pm - 8:30pm in Eugene.

Temple Beth Israel will be hosting the event which will be at 1175 E. 29th Avenue in Eugene. The event is free and everyone is welcome to attend. Before you fill out your ballot, join the conversation and learn more about three of the ballot measures. Ballot Measure's 88 (driver cards), 90 (top 2 primary) and 92 (GMO labeling) will be discussed.

Cynthia Kendoll - Authorized Agent for the Protect Oregon Driver Licenses campaign will be encouraging a NO vote on ballot measure 88. 

Tune in Sunday, October 19 to Oregon Voters' Digest

Alert date: 
October 15, 2014
Alert body: 

Oregon Voters' Digest will host Jim Ludwick and Cynthia Kendoll from the Protect Oregon Driver Licenses - No on 88 campaign.

Tune in to learn the latest about the campaign to overturn a bill granting driver cards to those who can't prove they are legally present in the United States.

Recent revelations are revealing holes in the oppositions campaign mantra - including the statement that driver cards can't be used to board an airplane.  The TSA released a comment stating that driver cards are an acceptable form of identification to baord and airplane.

Tune in:  Bruce Broussard’s Oregon Voters’ Digest, Sunday, October 19, 2014, 4:00PM, Comcast Channel 11.

TSA Will Accept Illegal Aliens Driver's Privilege Card as ID to Board Aircrafts

Just released by FAIR - Legislative Update:  Last week, the Transportation Security Administration ("TSA") confirmed, contrary to claims made by illegal alien lobby organizations, that it will allow illegal aliens to board commercial airlines by presenting an Oregon driver's privilege card. (Politifact Oregon Oct. 7, 2014) Oregon's driving privilege cards will be given to illegal aliens, or any applicant who cannot prove that he or she has lawful presence in the United States, and is set for considered by Oregon voters on November 4th under Ballot Measure 88. (Id.)

The controversy arose when Lars Larson, a talk show radio host based in Portland, made public letters he received from TSA stating the agency would accept Oregon's driver's privilege card for identification at the airport. (Id.) This admission is important because the language that appears on the ballot for Measure 88, referred to as its ballot title, says: "The driver card may not be used as identification for air travel, to enter a federal building, to register to vote or to obtain any government benefit requiring proof of citizenship or lawful presence in United States." (Measure 88) Causa Oregon, a local illegal alien lobbying group, insists on this point. (Politifact Oregon, Oct. 7, 2014) "Ballot Measure 88 clearly states that it will be issued only to grant driving privileges, and prohibits use of the driver cards for anything other than the listed purposes," said spokesman Erik Sorensen in an email to Politifact Oregon. (Id.)

Politifact Oregon contacted TSA to investigate Lars Larson's claims. (Id.) Nico Melendez, a Western Region TSA spokesman in California, responded, "State-issued driver cards would be acceptable forms of identification for our document-checkers at the airport. At this point, the understanding is that a card like this would be an acceptable form of identification." (Id.) He further commented, "What we are doing is verifying that the person who shows the card is the person who is traveling. It's not an immigration check." (Id.)

TSA's admittance that it will accept illegal aliens' driving privilege cards as a valid form of identification to board an aircraft is especially disturbing considering rece nt national security threats.Unlike legal immigrants, illegal aliens are not subject to stringent background checks or face-to-face interviews to determine the existence of any public safety or national security threat they might pose. Illegal aliens usually do not have valid U.S. identification or work authorization documents. Therefore, they depend on foreign or forged documents to travel on commercial airlines.

Although REAL ID Act was passed to solve this problem, it has yet to be implemented by the federal government. The REAL ID Act was passed in 2005 in response to the terrorist attacks to the United States on September 11, 2001 when the 9/11 Commission found that the 19 terrorists involved in the attack carried among them over 30 state driver's licenses and identification cards. (9/11 Commission Report) The Act prohibits federal agencies from accepting driving privilege cards issued to illegal aliens for federal identification purposes. (REAL ID ACT of 2005) The Obama administration repeatedly pushed back implementation of REAL ID, and currently purports its implementation deadline for these provisions to be January 2016. (Department of Homeland Security FAQ on REAL ID)

ACLU created error in driver card ballot measure

The driver cards at issue in Ballot Measure 88 will likely be accepted by the federal Transportation Security Administration to fly on a plane, contrary to what the measure's title says.

The cards would allow illegal immigrants or other Oregon residents who can't prove citizenship to legally drive a car and hold insurance in their names, and the measure, referred from a 2013 law, has been presented as very limited.

The summary approved by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and the Oregon Supreme Court outlines its narrowness in great specificity:

"The driver card may not be used as identification for air travel, to enter a federal building, to register to vote or to obtain any government benefit requiring proof of citizenship or lawful presence in United States," it says.

Much of that statement is apparently wrong. What's more, it did not come from the Oregon Legislature, Secretary of State, the court, or Rosenblum's office.

It came from the ACLU of Oregon, whose attorney wrote the statement to represent the ACLU's interpretation of the law during the public comment period allowed by the Secretary of State.

Originally, the summary said the measure "specifies ways in which this driver card may be used as identification." It said nothing about ways the card may not be used.

That list came from lawyer Greg Chaimov of Davis Wright Tremaine on behalf of the ACLU.

"The intention there is to say there is an entire universe of things we can list that the driver card is not intended to be used for," said ACLU Legislative Director Becky Straus.

"The purpose of highlighting those specific things is to reinforce the limited purpose of the driver card" and show it was not meant to be equivalent to a driver's license, she said.

The original bill and the text of Measure 88 never explained prohibited uses of the cards, but they do list the six allowable uses under state law:

• to provide evidence of driving privileges

• to identify the person as an organ donor

• to identify the person as an emancipated minor

• to identify the person as a veteran

• to provide a driver license number

• to provide a license number to aid law enforcement in finding a missing person

Air travel or entering a federal building are never mentioned anywhere in the bill or the measure. Both are governed by federal laws, which the Oregon Legislature has no authority to address.

In fact, the Oregon DMV acknowledged this dynamic in its list of frequently asked questions about the cards.

The DMV deferred to the TSA to decide whether the cards could be acceptable ID in an airport. It also deferred to individual banks and businesses as to whether the cards can be used as ID for checking accounts or alcohol purchases.

It also notes that nowhere on the card will it say it is "not for ID purposes."

One thing is very clear: The cards cannot be allowed to vote. Secretary of State spokesman Tony Green said only citizens are allowed to vote, and the cards do not require proof of citizenship.

Any non-citizen who registers to vote is committing a Class C felony, Green said.

For its part, the TSA has said it will accept the cards as identification for people wishing to board a plane.

Nico Melendez, a Western Region TSA spokesman in California, after checking with Oregon officials and administration attorneys, told the Oregonian: "State-issued driver cards would be acceptable forms of identification for our document-checkers at the airport. At this point, the understanding is that a card like this would be an acceptable form of identification."

"What we are doing is verifying that the person who shows the card is the person who is traveling," Melendez said. "It's not an immigration check."

A Department of Homeland Security official said the TSA will continue to accept all state-issued IDs "at least until 2016." The federal Real ID act goes fully into effect that year, and an ID from non-compliant states will not be considered acceptable.

Oregon is one of 21 states who do not comply with the law but have an extension. If the state never complies with the act, any state-issued ID will eventually be invalid under federal law, including driver licenses held by citizens.

The TSA website gives a list of acceptable identification, and it does not specifically list driver cards. However, proof of citizenship is not required for TSA-accepted ID.

For example, it lists a "permanent resident card" as acceptable, and a permanent resident is not necessarily a citizen. The driver cards at issue in Measure 88 would require proof of residence for at least one year as well.

The ACLU understands that Oregon cannot dictate what the TSA does or does not do, Straus said. The statement was rewritten to reflect "what the legislature intended," she said.

Besides, Straus said, it is largely irrelevant whether the cards are allowed as TSA identification. The DMV is requiring either a passport or a photo ID from a consulate to get one of the cards, she said, and those documents themselves would pass the TSA standard.

"Do you show your passport to the DMV or do you show it to TSA — it seems to be the same effect," she said.

The ballots voters receive this month will include the incorrect statement about air travel, Green said.

"The Oregon Supreme Court, after hearing from proponents and opponents, certified that the ballot summary accurately reflects the text of the measure," he said. "Whether federal agencies choose to comply with the law — should voters approve it — is beyond the scope of the ballot summary review process."

hhoffman@statesmanjournal.com, (503) 399-6719 or follow at twitter.com/HannahKHoffman

Other states with driver cards

Washington

California

Nevada

Utah

Colorado

New Mexico

Illinois

Vermont

Connecticut

Maryland

Washington, D.C.

Puerto Rico

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