The Register Guard

Letter date: 
Saturday, January 3, 2015
Letter publisher: 
The Register Guard
Letter author: 
Jim Ludwick
Letter body: 

In a Dec. 23 guest viewpoint, Lorenzo Oloño bemoaned the rejection of Measure 88 in the November election. Measure 88 was defeated because the vast majority of voters understood the implications of giving an official state-issued driver card to individuals who could not prove they are legally in the country.

Nearly 1 million Oregonians voted “no” on Measure 88 — almost double the number of “yes” votes. Thirty-five of Oregon’s 36 counties voted it down. In 18 counties, the vote was more than 80 percent against it. Measure 88 lost in all five of Oregon’s congressional districts. A majority of Oregon Democrats, Republicans and independents voted against issuing driver cards to illegal aliens.

The Yes on Measure 88 campaign raised $611,000, outspending opponents roughly 10 to 1. One group, Latino Victory Project, with support from a Hollywood TV star, gave a $50,000 donation to the pro-driver-card measure.

Measure 88 was debated in public forums, in newspapers, on the radio, in the Voters’ Pamphlet and on TV. Voters had a good understanding of the issue and a clear choice.

Proponents of Measure 88 made many false and misleading statements. Proponents stated that the driver card could not be used to board a plane. That was not true. Nico Melendez, Western Transportation Security Administration spokesman, stated that the agency would accept it as proof of identity.

Proponents claimed that an applicant would be required to buy auto insurance. David House, public affairs spokesman for the Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Department, refuted that claim. Nothing in Measure 88 would have required driver card applicants to have auto insurance.

Proponents falsely claimed that American citizens who lost their birth records would benefit from the Measure 88 driver card. Once again, the DMV refuted that argument.

When the Oregon Legislature tried to hijack the Measure 88 ballot title process from the state Supreme Court, The Register-Guard opined against it (“Don’t tinker with the title,” Feb. 28, 2014). A day earlier The Statesman-Journal named the Oregon House “Loser of the Week” for “mocking voters by interfering with a referendum on whether to let undocumented residents drive in Oregon.”

Oloño takes issue with the term “illegal alien.” It’s not a pejorative term — it is a descriptive term that is found in the nomenclature and case law of the federal government. Wikipedia’s definition: “An illegal alien is a non-citizen who is present in a country unlawfully or without the country’s authorization.” That’s far more descriptive than the politically correct term, “Undocumented.”

Oloño is a student at Willamette University, an expensive private institution. What if 1,000 “undocumented students” crowded into classrooms demanding to attend classes without going through the proper enrollment procedures or paying tuition? Would Oloño be so open-minded? Would he call them “undocumented Willamette University students?” Oloño writes that illegal aliens “already have taken the initiative of earning their place in the fabric of our communities.” No, they haven’t. If they are illegally in our country, they have not “earned” a right.

We are a nation founded on the rule of law. President John Adams said, “We are a nation of laws, not a nation of men.” Oloño seems to feel that certain people are above the law and they can pick and choose what laws they like and disobey those laws they don’t like. Acceptance of such a view would cause the United States to become a nation exactly like the ones from which illegal aliens flee.

Jim Ludwick of McMinnville is communications director of Oregonians for Immigration Reform.