Campaign for immigrant driver’s cards ramps up


KATU: A coalition of groups in Oregon is preparing for what they say could be a hard-fought campaign to approve a ballot measure granting driving privileges to people who can’t prove they are legal residents of the U.S. illegal aliens.

Unions, immigrant-rights groups and a hospitality-industry lobby group have started pouring money into the YES on Oregon Safe Roads campaign account, which launched in early May and has raised $35,000 so far.

They want voters to approve a measure, which Gov. John Kitzhaber signed last year, granting four-year restricted licenses, called driver’s cards, to people who don’t have documents proving they are in the country lawfully illegal aliens. They say it’s about public safety and access to transportation for all Oregonians, but opponents say it would reward illegal actions and encourage illegal immigration.

The bill was set to go into effect in January, but opponents collected enough signatures last fall to put it before the voters on the November ballot this year.

It would allow immigrants illegal aliens and others to apply for the driver’s cards if they have lived in Oregon for at least a year and meet other requirements. The cards cannot be used to vote, board a plane, get government benefits or buy firearms.

Supporters of the measure don’t yet have a campaign budget. But with the May primaries over, they plan to ramp up outreach and fundraising efforts even more.  “We are looking at a pretty spendy campaign,” said Jeff Stone, a member of the campaign’s leadership and executive director of the Oregon Association of Nurseries. “We’re going to have to raise a good deal of money.”

The campaign brings together many of the same groups that pushed for the bill in the Legislature last year, he said, including faith, business and labor groups. Its biggest supporter, according to campaign finance records, is the Service Employees International Union, which has contributed $20,000.

There are some new partners, too. The gay-rights group Basic Rights Oregon has pitched in $5,000, the second-largest contribution reported to date.

Some law enforcement groups had supported the measure in the Legislature last year. But Oregon’s sheriffs had not taken a position until April, when the group Sheriffs of Oregon announced that 28 of the state’s 36 sheriffs oppose the measure.

The campaign opposing the driver’s cards, Protect Oregon’s Driver’s Licenses, has reported raising $6,000 so far. Most of that has come from the group Oregonians for Immigration Reform. Jim Ludwick, a spokesman for the group, said its members are still formulating plans for fundraisers and outreach.  “We think that they can outspend us, but the right is on our side,” Ludwick said.

Though opponents have raised little so far on this campaign, their 2013 petition committee brought in more than $140,000, including $100,000 from Nevada business owner Loren Parks, one of the biggest funders of conservative candidates and causes in Oregon.

Bill Lunch, a retired Oregon State University political science professor, said the measure’s opponents may have an advantage that isn’t measured in dollar amounts. Voters who are confused or uninformed about the measure could choose to oppose it by default.

“Getting a ‘no’ vote is a heck of a lot easier than getting a ‘yes’ vote,” Lunch said.


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6 years ago

It is predicted there will be even more illegal aliens coming over the border in the coming days as Mexico’s economy has “tanked”.

Son of the Rabbit People
Son of the Rabbit People
6 years ago

The 9/11 terrrorists were illegal aliens. Some of them had VA driver’s licenses, a source of embarrassment for the Commonwealth. How quickly we forget the lessons of history, or even of yesterday.

Trail Dust
6 years ago

Just think of what a signal we send if we give amnesty to all illegals in America. It will begin an unstoppable flood. And that flood of humanity will likely include some very bad people.

Auntie Lulu
Auntie Lulu
6 years ago

I can certainly tell you, being a resident of Oregon . . . we have some of the most stupid people living here. They are stupid, put forth stupid ideas, and other stupid people vote to enact the stupid ideas. Most of the real dummies are here in the Portland metro area, and down in the valley–Salem, Eugene area. It would seem that the folks who live in the Eastern part of the State have better brains than those in the Western area.

6 years ago

Offering Amnesty to Criminals from Foreign Countries is nothing more than making it known world-wide that the Letter of Law in the US doesn’t mean anything. It’s complying on a grand scale with Political “Correctness” at the expense of all of the LEGAL US people.