state legislation

New Mexico House Votes to Repeal Illegal Alien Driver's License Law

On Friday, the New Mexico House of Representatives passed House Bill ("H.B.") 32, which repeals New Mexico's 2003 law that grants driver's licenses to illegal aliens. Currently, ten states grant driving privileges to illegal aliens. (CBS, Feb. 13, 2015) However, New Mexico is one of only two states that grant regular driver's licenses, as opposed to "driving privilege cards," to illegal aliens, in violation of the federal REAL ID Act. Washington is the second.

Originally, H.B. 32 was drafted to allow illegal aliens in the state to receive "driving privilege cards" in lieu of driver's licenses, in order to come into compliance with the federal law. (H.B. 32 Introduced Version) Last Wednesday, however, the House Judiciary Committee voted to amend H.B. 32 to create just one driver's license for both citizens and legal aliens, and to rescind driving privileges for illegal aliens all together. (H.B. 32 Amendment) Under the revision, illegal aliens with New Mexico driver's licenses will simply see them expire. (Id.)

The movement to repeal illegal alien driver's licenses in New Mexico has seen wide support amongst state officials and constituents. A 2014 Albuquerque Journal poll revealed that 75 percent of New Mexicans support repealing the state's current driver's license law. (Albuquerque Journal, Feb. 11, 2015) Greg Fouratt, the Secretary of the Department of Public Safety, explained his support for repealing the current law, stating "New Mexico driver's licenses have become a commodity for criminal rings across the country." (Id.) Rep. Paul Pacheco, the sponsor of H.B. 32, stated, "This bill is attempting to secure New Mexico's driver's licenses and bring us into compliance with the (federal) Real ID Act." (CBS, Feb. 13, 2015)

Proponents of the bill argue that granting driver's licenses to illegal aliens resulted in an increase in fraud and human trafficking to the state. (Albuquerque Journal, Feb. 11, 2015) Indeed, New Mexico has experienced high instances of fraud as a result of granting driver's licenses to illegal aliens. During an audit between August 2010 and April 2011, investigators found that as much as 75 percent of foreign national license applications were phonies. (KRQE) Between that same period, investigators also uncovered 37 percent of foreign national requests for appointments came from out-of-state, most from Arizona, Georgia, and Texas. (Fox News, Jan. 25, 2012)

H.B. 32 will next be sent to the Senate for consideration. The full Senate must vote on the bill before it can be sent to the governor for signature. Governor Susana Martinez has been pushing for repeal of the current driver's license law since she took office in 2010, and is likely to sign the bill if it makes it to her desk. (Albuquerque Journal, Feb. 11, 2015) Read more about New Mexico House Votes to Repeal Illegal Alien Driver's License Law

No worries - just walk in and make yourself at home!

Alert date: 
January 9, 2015
Alert body: 

Next week all Legislators will be at the Capitol building and conducting meetings Monday (12th), Tuesday (13th) and Wednesday (14th) and new Legislators will be sworn in, too.  They're gearing up for the upcoming 2015 Legislative session beginning February 2, 2015.

OFIR encourages you to visit your Capitol Building if you have not yet done so.  Walk the halls, sit in on a posted hearing, drop by your Legislators office and introduce yourself.  If they are newly elected, welcome them!

Always be respectful to everyone in the Capitol building.  Often Legislators are hurrying to meetings and don't have the time to chat.  Say hello to their office staff.

The Capitol building is yours and the people inside work for you.  You should feel comfortable in the building you own!

Remember to bring quarters for the meter.  Meters are strictly enforced!

Get involved, speak up and get busy!

If not you - then who?

If not now - when?

I'll see you at the Capitol!

Cynthia Kendoll - OFIR President

 

Thousands pack California DMV offices as undocumented immigrants get first licenses

STANTON, Calif. (AP) — ....Thousands of people crammed into DMV offices and waited in hours-long lines to apply for a license as California became the 10th state to authorize immigrants in the country illegally to drive.

The DMV expects to field 1.4 million applications in the first three years of a program aimed at boosting road safety and making immigrants' lives easier...

Only four DMV offices were taking walk-in applicants. Hundreds of immigrants donning scarves and gloves and clutching driver handbooks braved near-freezing temperatures in the Orange County city of Stanton to try to get a place in line before dawn...

Immigrant advocates have cheered the licenses as a way to integrate immigrants who must drive to work and shuttle children to school, though the cards will include a distinctive marking and are not considered valid federal identification. Critics have questioned state officials' ability to verify the identity of foreign applicants, citing security concerns.

Applicants must submit proof of identity and state residency and pass a written test to get a driving permit. Those who don't possess foreign government-issued identification on a list of approved documents can be interviewed by a DMV investigator to see if they qualify.

Immigrants must come back at a later date and pass a road test to get the license, which will be marked with the words "federal limits apply." Those who have licenses from other states are not required to take the road test again, Gonzalez said....

Some immigrants who waited in line for hours Friday failed the required written test and vowed to make an appointment to return on another date to try again. About half of new driver's license applicants fail the written exam, Gonzalez said....


  Read more about Thousands pack California DMV offices as undocumented immigrants get first licenses

CA Illegal Immigrant at DMV: ‘Nobody’s Passing’ Written Test

Many illegal immigrants at a Northern California DMV reportedly were failing the written exam when applying for driver’s licenses on Friday.

Under the AB 60 law that Governor Jerry Brown (D) signed in 2013 and took effect at the start of 2015, illegal immigrants were able to apply for driver’s licenses on Friday. And nearly 1.4 illegal immigrants are expected to apply for licenses in California in the next three years.

At a DMV in south Sacramento, Veronica Oropeza, a 28-year-old illegal immigrant who has reportedly been driving without a license for six years, reportedly failed her written exam twice.

“Nobody’s passing,” she told the Sacramento Bee in Spanish.

As the Bee noted, “those who passed the written exam were given a driver’s permit and required to return another day to take the road test.”

When Nevada allowed illegal immigrants to apply for licenses last year, 71% of illegal immigrants in the state reportedly failed the written exam...

Oropeza had “already spent more than three hours at the DMV,” and “she couldn’t stay to take the exam a third time, she said, because she had to get to work.”


  Read more about CA Illegal Immigrant at DMV: ‘Nobody’s Passing’ Written Test

Idaho sees rise in unauthorized immigrants

SPOKANE, Wash. — Idaho was among seven states, most concentrated in the eastern U.S., where the number of unauthorized immigrants increased between 2009 and 2012, according to a report released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center.

The report found unauthorized immigrants decreased in 14 states, including Oregon, in that time period. The number stayed relatively stable in the remaining states, including Washington.

Nationally, the number of unauthorized immigrants remained stable at 11.2 million between 2009 and 2012, the report found....

The report showed the long-term growth in unauthorized immigrants in each state.

Idaho grew from 10,000 unauthorized immigrants in 1990 to 50,000 in 2012; Oregon grew from 25,000 in 1990 to 120,000 in 2012; and Washington grew from 40,000 in 1990 to 230,000 in 2012.
  Read more about Idaho sees rise in unauthorized immigrants

Judge tosses lawsuit over driver’s licenses for Dreamers in Nebraska

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the state of Nebraska for denying driver’s licenses to Dreamers who have received temporary authorization to stay and work in the United States.

The plaintiff suing the state is Mayra Saldana, a 24-year-old Dreamer born in Mexico who has been residing in Nebraska since she was 2 years old. Last years, she was authorized by the U.S. government to remain in the U.S. for a renewable two-year period under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. She was also granted a work permit and a Social Security number.

The latest government statistics show 2,250 Dreamers living in Nebraska have been approved for the DACA program. A total of 521,815 Dreamers have been approved nationwide.

Saldana sued the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles Director Rhonda Lahm in June after the agency denied her a driver’s license even though she had a Social Security number and was authorized to live and work in the U.S. She argued that the DMV policy denying her a driver’s license violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

But on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp ruled that the state had not violated Saldana’s equal-protection rights in denying her a driver’s license.

Smith Camp wrote in her ruling that there was “uncontroverted evidence” that the Nebraska DMV was following the state’s statute and issuing driver’s licenses and state identification cards only to people with a lawful status, as determined by the federal government and verified through the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program.

“Saldana is not similarly situated to persons having lawful status in the United States with respect to her qualification for a Nebraska driver’s license, and Lahm has not denied Saldana equal protection of the law,” Smith Camp wrote.

The Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, who defended the state’s denial of driver’s licenses to Dreamers who’ve been approved for the DACA program, praised Wednesday’s ruling.

“We’re pleased the court dismissed the case and recognized illegal immigrants don’t qualify for Nebraska driver’s licenses,” Bruning said Wednesday. “Today’s ruling validates the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicle’s denial of applications from those without lawful status.”

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund represented Saldana in the lawsuit. Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF’s president and general counsel, once referred to the Nebraska DMV’s policy denying driver’s licenses to DACA recipients as a “blatantly discriminatory policy.”

Alonzo Rivas, an attorney for MALDEF in Chicago, is not ready to give up on the case. He is considering other options in response to the judge’s ruling on Wednesday, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

Nebraska and Arizona are the only two states denying driver’s licenses to Dreamers who’ve been approved for the DACA program. Like in Nebraska, Dreamers in Arizona also filed a lawsuit last year, challenging the state for denying driver’s licenses to DACA recipients. That case is still pending in court.


  Read more about Judge tosses lawsuit over driver’s licenses for Dreamers in Nebraska

Driver's licenses for illegal immigrants an issue in three states

In Colorado, Oregon, and California, the granting of driver's licenses to illegal aliens has generated controversy and raised national security concerns that have gone largely unreported.

Colorado: Over two months ago, an ID company, MorphoTrust, erroneously issued 524 standard Colorado driver's licenses to illegal aliens. Under federal law, driver's licenses issued to illegal aliens are required to have a marking that indicates they are not to be used for federal purposes, but these did not. MorphoTrust — which produces IDs for 42 states — has been trying to get the licenses back by offering $100 gift cards to those who return them. I was able to confirm through a Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) official that 189 licenses had remained unaccounted for, but the latest update is that 43 licenses are outstanding.

The federal REAL ID Act — which put a number of recommendations from the 9/11 Commission into effect — standardizes state driver's licenses and seeks to prevent illegal aliens from boarding airplanes, entering government buildings or accessing nuclear power plants. But illegal immigration advocates have pushed some states to offer special driver's licenses just for illegal aliens that are not REAL ID compliant. The movement is part of the effort to blur the distinction between law-abiding residents and foreigners who believe they are above the law.

The Colorado DMV tells me that they have gone door to door as part of the retrieval effort, which is commendable, but the question of what happens if all cards cannot be located looms large. Some have argued the error might allow the recipients to register to vote and/or get additional licenses in other states. If people wishing to do harm to Americans have any of these licenses, they are not going to give them up willingly.

Oregon: After Oregon legislators moved forward with a plan to grant driver's licenses to illegal aliens, a group opposed to the proposal gathered enough signatures to put the issue up to a public vote. Polling suggests that nearly two-thirds of Oregon voters oppose the plan. This, despite the fact that supporters have spent over 11 times as much money as opponents.

A big controversy erupted when the fact-checking group PolitiFact decided to look into claims made by radio host Lars Larson that the proposed licenses would allow illegal aliens to board airplanes. PolitiFact determined that Larson is correct after speaking with a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) official. The problem is that language on the ballot actually states that Measure 88 would not allow illegal aliens to board planes. This language was written by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has not posted an explanation or apology on its website (and it remains unclear whether the error was by accident or by design).

The TSA official has not explained exactly why the licenses would allow illegal aliens to board planes, but a couple of factors are likely at play. First, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has repeatedly given compliance deadline extensions to at least 21 states and territories, extensions that were supposed to have expired on Oct. 10, 2014. But states can reapply for the extensions (Massachusetts, Kentucky and Montana recently received extensions). Oregon also had an extension, but it is unclear whether the state has received yet another one. Second, DHS has dragged its feet on enforcing the REAL ID Act and under their current plans, noncompliant IDs will prevent people from boarding airplanes "no sooner than 2016."

The REAL ID Act law was enacted in 2005 and supposed to take effect in 2008.

It should also be noted that the proposed measure would instruct the Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division to accept foreign consular IDs as proof of an illegal alien's identity. These consular IDs are completely unverifiable by U.S. officials and have been considered a national security threat by the FBI.

California: One open-border group helped create driver's licenses so dangerous to national security that DHS stopped their design from going forward. The REAL ID Act allows states some freedom in how they differentiate between a regular driver's license and ones reserved for illegal immigrants that are not valid for federal purposes. Advocates of illegal immigration have been demanding that states make the licenses given to illegal aliens look almost identical to the licenses given to legal residents, even though it makes a security officer's job more difficult.

California's plan was to make the driver's license for illegal aliens look identical, save for one tiny difference: the small, 6-point-font text on the card that reads "DL" (meaning "Driver’s License") would simply be switched to read "DP" (meaning "Driving Privilege"). The difference is nearly imperceptible as my mock-up illustrates. That California would conclude the interests of illegal aliens are so important that it's worth increasing the chances the TSA would miss the denotation is troubling. All four passenger jets involved in the 9/11 attack were bound for California and many Californians lost their lives that day.

Just recently, DHS approved a more distinctive version of the driver's license that reportedly will have the words "FEDERAL LIMITS APPLY" written on the front. Some states orient the IDs vertically, which really helps to differentiate from regular licenses. Pro-illegal immigration groups oppose these measures because they fear illegal aliens will be treated differently than those who are here legally. Of course, illegal aliens are supposed to be treated differently — they're to be deported in accordance with federal law.

Unfortunately, many activist groups and politicians have concluded that helping illegal aliens hide their lawlessness is more important than preventing another 9/11. Congress should consider tightening up the REAL ID standards. If problems like this continue, it wouldn't be surprising if voters in many states initiated referenda or legislation aimed at stopping the issuance of driver's licenses to people in the country illegally.

Feere is the legal policy analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies.

  Read more about Driver's licenses for illegal immigrants an issue in three states

Redmond Patriots to welcome OFIR President

Alert date: 
August 10, 2014
Alert body: 
For all our OFIR and PODL friends in the Bend and Redmond area - please plan to attend the upcoming Redmond Patriots meeting.  OFIR President and Authorized Agent of the Protect Oregon Driver Licenses citizens veto referendum Cynthia Kendoll will be the featured speaker of the evening.

Date: Monday, August 11  Time: 6pm

Location: Highland Baptist Church, 3100 SW Highland Ave., Redmond OR            
 

 

In political sea change, immigrants in the US illegally can get driver's licenses in Colorado

DENVER — Colorado will begin issuing driver's licenses and identification cards to immigrants Friday regardless of their legal status, underscoring a sea change in a state that less than a decade ago passed strict immigration enforcement laws.

Now, thousands of immigrants are waiting to get cards they hope will add a degree of legitimacy to their residency...

Last year, Colorado was among eight states that passed laws allowing identification documents for people in the country illegally. Two of those states, Illinois and Nevada, have already started issuing the documents. California plans to start in January....

"It's going to help us so that, for example, we're not put in the hands of immigration officials, so police don't view us as if we were criminals," she said in an interview in Spanish. "I think it's going to give us a valid identification to show police."...

The documents must be renewed every three years, and the cards will be marked to say they can't be used for voting or to obtain federal benefits.

In Oregon, one of the eight states that passed a driver's license legislation last year, opponents collected enough signatures to put the law on hold and ask voters in November whether it should be implemented.

  Read more about In political sea change, immigrants in the US illegally can get driver's licenses in Colorado

Vote NO in NOvember to stop this from happening in Oregon

Colorado passed a driver card bill last year, similar to the one passed in Oregon.  Unfortunately, the option of a citizen's veto referendum was taken away from the citizens of Colorado with the issuance of a 'public safety clause', similar to the over-used emergency clause here in Oregon.

Fortunately, Protect Oregon Driver Licenses filed a veto referendum and citizen activists from across the state of Oregon worked diligently to gather over 77,000 signatures so that the issue of granting driver cards to illegal aliens could be placed on the ballot allowing voters to decide if they want Oregon to go down this path.

Read about what's happening in Colorado and then remember to Vote NO in NOvember!

 


  Read more about Vote NO in NOvember to stop this from happening in Oregon

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