Oregon

Oregon immigrant driver’s license law opponents get creative

Faced with collecting 58,000 signatures by Oct. 4, opponents of a new Oregon law that gives driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants and others who cannot prove they are living here legally are sharpening their tactics.

From a drive-through petition drive on Friday to a booth at the Oregon State Fair through Sept. 2, advocates are seeking the thousands of valid signatures needed for a referendum that would challenge a new state law that gives “driver privilege cards” to those who do not have the documents required to get a driver’s license. The driver’s card will be restricted from being used for identification or voting.

But advocates with Oregonians for Immigration Reform say the new law, which goes into effect in January, is a way for people living here illegally to get a driver’s license.

Jim Ludwick, communications director for the group, also said despite the restriction, he believes the cards will be used for identification and put into the hands of criminals.

Ludwick wouldn’t say how many signatures the group has collected so far. State law requires them to get more than 58,000 valid signatures within 90 days of the end of the legislative session (July 8) to get to referendum, which would let voters decide if the driver’s cards should be handed out, on the November 2014 ballot.

Ludwick said he’s confident they can do it.

“We have people who come see us and before I can say a word they grab the pen out of my hand and they want to sign,” he said.

State Rep. Sal Esquivel, R-Medford, is expected to make an appearance at the Oregon State Fair booth on Friday. Esquivel was a strong opponent of the legislation, Senate Bill 833, when it made its way through the Legislature.

Gov. John Kitzhaber pushed for the bill and signed it with fanfare on May Day.

Contact Shelby Sebens at Shelby@NorthwestWatchdog.org

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Senator Wyden just popped up for Eugene Townhall meeting

Alert date: 
2013-08-27
Alert body: 

Hurry and perhaps you can still make it:

August 27, 2013 12:00 PM

Eugene Hilton

66 E. 6th Street

Eugene, OR

 

 


 

Senator Merkley to hold Townhall meetings

Please plan to attend one of Senator Merkley's Townhall meetings.  He needs to hear from constituents that you do not support the massive amnesty bill known as SB744.  Invite a friend, ask questions and please let OFIR know if any discussion on immigration issues takes place at the meetings.

  • August 30, 2013 @ 3:30 PM

    Sherman County Town Hall

    300 Dewey Street
    Moro, OR 97039

  • August 30, 2013 @ 12:00 PM

    Wasco County Town Hall

  • 400 E Scenic Drive
    The Dalles, OR 97058

  • August 28, 2013 @ 4:30 PM

    Union County Town Hall.

    10201 Fourth Street
    Island City, OR 97850

  • August 28, 2013 @ 12:30 PM

    Baker County Town Hall.

    1901 Main Street
    Baker City, OR 97814

  • August 28, 2013 @ 9:00 AM

    Grant County Town Hall.

    211 West 6th Street
    Prairie City, OR 97869

  • August 27, 2013 @ 4:30 PM

    Harney County Town Hall

    17 S Alder
    Burns, OR 97720

  • August 27, 2013 @ 11:00 AM

    Malheur County Town Hall

    3890 Hwy 201
    Ontario, OR 97941


 

Immigration bill hurts jobless


Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, joining the Gang of Eight in the passage of Senate Bill 744 (S.744), termed comprehensive immigration reform by some, amnesty by others, is unconscionable legislation considering the nation’s June seasonally adjusted number of 12.2 million unemployed citizens; 7.6 percent of the country’s civilian labor force.

According to a 2011 report, Pew Hispanic Center, Unauthorized Immigrant Population: National and State Trends, 2010 there are 8 million unauthorized workers in the U.S.

With so many unemployed American citizens looking for jobs and 8 million unauthorized workers currently holding the jobs many citizens will do, the U.S. Senate’s legislation at best seems oblivious to the plight of the unemployed in this country.

Two of the negative consequences of Senate Bill 744 are reveled in a June 2013 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report which indicates the legislation will cause unemployment to increase through 2020 and average wages to decline through 2025.

In July, an evaluation of the seasonally adjusted unemployment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals unemployment rates in the states represented by the Gang of Eight plus their two Oregonian senatorial sidekicks: Oregon 7.9 percent; Arizona 8.0 percent; Colorado 7.0 percent; Florida 7.1 percent; Illinois 9.2 percent; New Jersey 8.7 percent; New York 7.5 percent; and South Carolina 8.1 percent. Five of the preceding eight states had higher unemployment numbers than the national average.

During the five week summer congressional recess, if Senators Merkley and Wyden choose to return to Oregon, the Senators should take a look at the number of unemployed in the state and unemployment numbers of the individual counties they choose visit across the state.

In Oregon there were 158,147 citizens unemployed in June; the state ranked 16th in 50 states for the percentage of unemployed.

Locally, Marion County’s 13,504 unemployed in June equated to 8.5 percent of the county’s work force; 8.5 percent of the state’s unemployed.

Including Marion, 24 of 36 Oregon counties in June had a higher unemployment rate than the national average of 7.6 percent; 11 of the counties had double-digit unemployment.

If SB 744 is passed by both sides of Congress and signed into law by the president, the addition of 110,000 unauthorized workers into the state’s civilian labor force will likely increase unemployment in Oregon; a setback for a state still mired and struggling to come out of a severe recession.

Hopefully for the unemployed of this state and across the country, the U.S. House of Representatives, which faces the nation’s voters every two years, will take a more incremental approach to any type of immigration reform and first pass stand alone legislation requiring a federally mandated national employment verification system like E-Verify which the federal government currently uses on all its new hires.

Oregon’s 158,147 unemployed U.S. citizens should contact during the congressional recess Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, along with Congressman Kurt Schrader, and tell the senators and congressman, Oregonians should never have to compete for scarce jobs now or in the future with persons illegal present in the country; furthermore, the U.S. Congress passing a standalone federally mandated E-Verify system is the best way to get those unemployed in the state and across the country back to full-time work.

(David Olen Cross of Salem writes on immigration issues. He can reached at docfnc@yahoo.com.)

Group tries 'drive-thru democracy' to get driver cards on the ballot

SALEM, Ore. – A group trying to gather enough signatures in an effort to put the new driver card law on the November 2014 ballot before it begins is using a cue from fast-food restaurants.

The driver cards will allow people to drive who can't prove U.S. citizenship.

The group, Oregonians for Immigration Reform, hoped that Friday's "drive-thru democracy" would make it convenient for voters to sign their petition, because they need a lot of signatures – more than 58,000 by Oct. 4.

So on Friday, not far off Interstate 5, several volunteers brought petition sheets to the drivers and passengers as they pulled into a parking lot at Market Street and Savage Road.

"Our main concern is that our government's role is not and should not be to reward illegal behavior," said Cynthia Kendoll of Oregonians for Immigration Reform.

When Gov. John Kitzhaber signed Senate Bill 833 into law in May, supporters called it the biggest victory for immigrant rights in the state.

Luis Guerra of Causa, an immigrant rights organization in Oregon, said he disagrees with the notion that the new law rewards illegal behavior.

"I think it's a public safety issue," he said. "We should make sure that everyone that's behind the wheel, of any vehicles in the state of Oregon, knows the rules of the road."

The "drive-through" signature-gathering effort will continue until 8 p.m. Friday.

Leaders of the effort won't say how many signatures they have so far, but said they hope to collect about 500 Friday night.

If opponents of the new law fail to get the required number of signatures, the new law starts Jan. 1, 2014.

The driver card allows people to drive legally in Oregon as long as they can prove they've lived here for a year, and they pass the driver tests.

It's legal ID for opening a bank account, car insurance, or a gym membership. it is not legal ID for boarding a plane, registering to vote, or buying a gun.

Driver card holders also cannot drive big, commercial trucks.

Drive-thru signature gathering event Friday, Agust 23

Alert date: 
2013-08-22
Alert body: 

If you haven't had the opportunity to sign the referendum petition to overturn SB833 - the new law giving driver privilege cards to people in the country illegally - it doesn't get any easier than this.  Just drive up, sign the petition and drive away.  You don't even need to get out of your car!

Protect Oregon Driver Licenses will be hosting a DRIVE-THRU signature gathering event this FRIDAY, August 23, from 12 noon until 8:00pm in the parking lot at Market St. and Savage Rd., just west of the freeway at exit 213. Watch for the signs guiding you in.

Volunteers will be available if you have any questions, or if you would like to pick up supplies so that you can collect signatures of your friends, neighbors and family members, too. The deadline of October 4th is rapidly approaching and we need 58,142 valid signatures.

PODL will also be hosting a booth at the Oregon State Fair - just outside the southeast corner of the Columbia Exhibit Hall. Please drop by and say hello!

 

 


 

5 views on immigration reform, Oregon 'driver cards'


Members of Congress may be away from the nation's capital during their August recess, but that doesn't mean the debate about federal immigration debate has simmered down.

Same goes for the Oregon Legislature, which adjourned last month, leaving in its wake strong feelings about a new law authorizing undocumented immigrants to obtain Oregon driver cards.

In recent days, a variety of guest columnists have weighed in on the issues.

Read the complete article.

Rep. Esquivel gives Chief Petitioners view of SB 833

As Chief Petitioner on the SB 833 referendum campaign, Representative Sal Esquivel walks readers through a logical explanation of just how the bill was conceived and just how the public was deceived.  Read Rep. Esquivel's op ed in the Mail Tribune.
 

Driver Privilege Cards for illegal aliens are wrong for Oregon

OFIR President Cynthia Kendoll explains why driver privilege cards for illegal aliens are wrong for Oregon and learn how you can help overturn SB 833. 

Read her guest commentary in the Sunday Statesman Journal.
 

Immigration issues affected by '12 election

Supporters and opponents agree: The outcome of the 2012 election, more than anything else, shaped how the Oregon Legislature responded to immigration issues in 2013.

“With all the people who came out to vote in November, our electorate made it clear in the 2012 election what the priority was,” said Luis Guerra, the new executive director of Causa Oregon immigrant-rights group.

A new Democratic majority in the Oregon House — the Oregon Senate remained in Democratic hands — ensured passage of two state priorities for immigrant-rights groups.

One bill was for students to obtain in-state tuition rates at state universities, regardless of their immigration status, if they graduate from Oregon high schools and meet other conditions.

The Senate passed similar bills in 2003 and 2011, but both died in the House. This time, the House initiated it, and both chambers passed House Bill 2787 and the governor signed it two months into the 2013 session.

One of the celebrants was Hugo Nicolas, a 2011 graduate of McNary High School, who said the bill will make it possible for him to attend the University of Oregon.

“This means there is hope that students like me can get out and contribute to their community,” he said.

The other bill was for people to obtain four-year driver’s cards, half the eight-year driver’s license, if they passed the driving-skills and knowledge tests but could not prove legal presence in the United States.

Lawmakers had made the latter a condition in 2008 to comply with a federal law governing the use of state licenses as identification for federal purposes, such as boarding commercial aircraft or entering federal buildings. The federal law, however, allows states to issue alternative identification for drivers.

A similar proposal failed to advance past a Senate committee two years ago. But backed by a coalition of business groups, Senate Bill 833 became law in a single month — and Gov. John Kitzhaber signed it into law at a May Day rally on the Capitol steps.

“We shared all the stories of all the families who are affected” by both bills, Guerra said, and his group will follow a similar strategy in an attempt to persuade Oregon’s congressional delegation to back federal immigration-law changes.

However, opponents of both state bills have not given up, although they are concentrating their efforts on just one of them.

Opponents have launched a campaign to gather the 58,142 voter signatures required to put the driver’s-card law to a statewide vote. They have 90 days after the Legislature adjourns — it would have been a deadline of Oct. 5 if the session had ended Sunday — to file the signatures with the secretary of state.

“We have had an amazing response,” said Jim Ludwick of McMinnville, a spokesman for Oregonians for Immigration Reform, which opposed the bill.

“I doubt there is a town in Oregon where somebody has not requested a signature sheet. A huge number of people are outraged by this bill to give illegal aliens driver’s licenses. There is no question in my mind that if we are successful in getting on the ballot, they will revoke this bill.”

If there are enough valid signatures, the law would be suspended — it is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1 — and the statewide vote would coincide with the November 2014 general election, unless lawmakers choose an earlier date.

Washington and New Mexico issue licenses without proof of legal presence; Washington has an “enhanced” license valid for federal purposes that also can be used in travel to and from Canada. Illinois will issue three-year cards in the fall, and Utah issues cards that must be renewed annually.

The in-state tuition law, which took effect July 1, also can be challenged in court. The law provides for a direct review by the Oregon Supreme Court, although the justices can delegate someone to conduct fact-finding proceedings before they hear oral arguments on the legal questions.

Such a lawsuit must be filed by Aug. 29.

Although some witnesses at Oregon legislative hearings suggested there would be a lawsuit, a similar law in California was upheld by that state’s highest court in 2010 — and the U.S. Supreme Court declined in June 2011 to hear an appeal.

“The problem is that the Supreme Court has been unwilling to hear those lawsuits,” Ludwick said. He said state laws appear to contradict a 1996 federal law that bars in-state tuition for students without immigration documents, unless the state laws waive requirements for out-of-state residents.

Oregon joined about a dozen other states with similar laws, including Washington.

Racial and ethnic minorities scored legislative victories on other matters this session:

• House Bill 2517, which takes effect Jan. 1, allows full eight-year driver’s licenses to residents of three Pacific island nations — Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Palau and Federated States of Micronesia — who are legally allowed to live and work in the United States. Under current law, these residents of nations associated with the United States have to renew their state licenses every year, because there is no limit on their stays.

• House Bill 2611 requires health professionals regulated by specific state boards to undergo training in cultural differences in providing medical treatment. This “cultural competency” training will be set by the Oregon Health Authority.

• Senate Bill 463. signed Wednesday and taking effect Jan. 1, will require the state Criminal Justice Commission to analyze how criminal sentencing and child welfare legislation may affect racial and ethnic minorities if requested by two legislators, one from each party. The law is modeled after a 2008 Iowa law.

However, House Bill 2661 remained in the budget committee, although it did have two hearings. It would have required the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission to conduct a study of the interaction of police with racial and ethnic minorities.

pwong@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6745

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