Oregon Voters Vote Against Law Giving Driver's Licenses To Undocumented Residents
In a popular vote, Oregon voters said "No" when asked if they would support a measure that would have given undocumented residents driving licenses.
The measure was a follow-up to a state law that allowed undocumented residents to have driver's licenses.
Despite a well-funded campaign to inform voters about the measure, petition support to get the measure on the ballot, institutional support from civil rights groups to unions and the media, voters voted 66 to 34 percent to cancel the new state law over driving licenses.
"The Oregon measure tells you these measures are not easy or simple," Muzaffar Chishti of the Migration Policy Institute told The Associated Press. "The political cost may be significant, even in blue states."
Oregon's Alternative Drive Licenses Referendum Measure 88 would have issued four year driver's licenses to those who could not prove their legal presence in the U.S. The state had already passed a law approving this, but voters were asked to weigh in. Current law in the state only issues driver's licenses to those with legal presence in the U.S.
The campaign to support the measure, Safe Roads, raised $524,889.18 and spent 258,347,69 in campaign ads, literature and advocacy efforts. The campaign argued allowing undocumented residents to have driving licenses would cut down on uninsured drivers on the road, but the driver card wouldn't entitle users to enter a federal building, register to vote or to obtain any government benefits.
The measure failed in every county except for the most liberal one, Multnomah, which includes Portland.
"It was really the epitome of a grassroots effort," Cynthia Kendoll, one of the activists who led the campaign against licenses, told the AP. "There's such a disconnect between what people really want and what's happening."
The campaign against the measure raised $134,688, spent $134,510 and received support from law enforcement. Their advertising and leafleting campaign related issuing licenses to undocumented residents to terrorism as per the campaigning statement for Protect Oregon Driver Licenses
"Illegal immigration is a serious problem in the U.S. Neglect of enforcement of the immigration laws, over the past several decades, as well as currently, has resulted in millions of illegal immigrants entering the U.S. without inspection, a dangerous situation from the standpoint of national security and public health. For examples, 19 September 11 terrorists carried among them over 30 state driver's licenses and identification cards using over 300 aliases. These documents allowed them to obtain housing, transportation and other accommodations without raising suspicion while they planned and executed their deadly conspiracy that fateful day.
"Accommodating illegal aliens invites more to come. Recent history clearly shows this. Illegal immigration inflates the population, further burdening our already-stressed natural environment. It adversely affect the labor maker and seams our overburdened entitlement programs. Citizens are forced to compete with illegal aliens for jobs, causing significant unemployment and wage depression. Loss of respect for the rule of law grows as a consequence of such legislation. Observance of the rule is essential for a successful economy and civil society," the statement read.
Immigration reformers watchers questioned whether the Oregon vote could be looked at as a litmus test for what American citizens really think about granting rights to undocumented residents as President Obama is soon to announce his plans for executive action.
The Latino population in Oregon is 12 percent, and Asian is 3 percent. In 11 other states with established and growing Latino and Asian populations -- California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Vermont and Washington -- driver's licenses have been granted to undocumented residents, and 17 states allow them to pay in-state tuition at public universities. New York City passed a law for municipal identification which will allow holders to gain access to locations where photo ID is required and access municipal and private services.
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