Oregon voters will have an opportunity to overturn a 2013 state law giving illegal aliens access to driver cards. Ballot Measure 88, a citizens veto referendum also known as “Protect Oregon Driver Licenses,” will go before the voters this November after surviving legislative and legal challenges lodged by illegal-alien advocates.
In 2008, Oregon enacted a law that required proof of citizenship or legal presence to obtain an Oregon driver license. Illegal-alien advocates sought to rescind that law in subsequent years and finally succeeding in 2013 with the passage of Senate Bill 833. That law instructed the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles to issue driver cards to those who cannot prove legal presence in the United States beginning in January 2014.
To fight the measure, the pro-immigration enforcement group Oregonians for Immigration Reform (OFIR) formed an issue committee called Protect Oregon Drivers Licenses (PODL), which filed a citizens veto referendum for the opportunity to place SB 833 on the 2014 General Election ballot so that voters can decide if they want the law implemented. "People just can't pick and choose which laws they want to obey," said Jim Ludwick, founder and former president of OFIR.
PODL collected 64,709 valid signatures in just a few months. This astonishing feat placed the measure on the ballot, much to the dismay of illegal-alien advocates, and stopped the law from being implemented before the state could issue the first driver card to illegal aliens.
Illegal-alien advocates mounted a campaign in the state legislature and the courts that sought to re-write the referendum title in a manner favorable to keeping the law. The title as qualified for the ballot states: “Provides Oregon resident driver card without requiring proof of legal presence in the United States.” The Oregon House passed a bill (HB 4054) to re-write the ballot as follows: “Establishes limited purpose, duration driver card for individuals who prove Oregon residency, meet driving requirements.” The bill failed in the Senate, however.
At the time, OFIR President Cynthia Kendoll said in a statement, “Oregonians and every major newspaper across the state raised their voices in loud protest of the Oregon Legislature's unprecedented attempt to hi-jack the ballot language for the citizens veto referendum. Their intentions were crystal clear - to re-write the ballot title and summary to deceive the public - to confuse the voter - and ultimately win the election by burying the fact that SB 833 grants state issued ID, in the form of a special driver license, to applicants who can't prove legal presence in the US. Oregonians prevailed and the bill died Friday when the Senate refused to bring it to the floor for a vote.”
Illegal-alien advocates also challenged the measure in the courts, saying that the title did not represent to purpose of SB 833. The challenge eventually reached the state supreme court, which denied a title change.
The Associated Press reports that PODL is working on a shoestring budget. Thus far it has gathered only $28,000 in contributions. The operation is run by volunteers and does not have a campaign office. But the endorsements of PODL's stance have boosted public attention. The 36-member Sheriffs of Oregon PAC support a "no" vote on Ballot Measure 88 along with a number of important officials, including Derek Hernandez, the Border Patrol Council Union Vice President for the western United States.
Proponents of driver cards have raised over $211,000 and have the support of unions and the Oregon Association of Nurseries, whose members employ many illegal aliens. In their bid to save the law, proponents have used safety-oriented appeals that state driver card applicants will "be required to take a test and purchase car insurance." However according to David House, the Oregon Dept. of Motor Vehicles' public information officer, liability insurance is not a requirement for any driving privileges, including for those issued an instruction permit, driver license, limited-term driver license or the proposed driver card under Senate Bill 833.
Driver card proponents also use emotional appeals that feature the stories of individual illegal aliens. One is Ramiro Sandoval, who lost his job as a chauffeur when he wasn't able to renew his license. He said, "Not having a license affects everything, from getting rejected for a job…to not being able to go to the store to buy groceries.”
Updated: Thu, Oct 2nd 2014 @ 11:00am EDT