Tag Archives: REAL ID Act

Claro que si: Oregon may grant driving privileges to illegal aliens

If illegal aliens live in fear of being separated from their families for being caught driving without a license, then maybe they should – oh, I don’t know – abide by our immigration laws.

Would you ever think to 1) illegally enter a country and 2) expect a privilege be extended to you? Only in America are illegal aliens rewarded for breaking the law.

From Oregon Live (via AP): Every time Mariana Alvarez leaves her home, she crosses herself in prayer in hopes she will be able to return to her three children. Alvarez moved to Salem from Mexico, and lives in Oregon without proof of legal residence. Under state law, that means she isn’t eligible for a driver’s license.

A quick trip to the grocery store or to the doctor’s office could end in her deportation, and she told a crowd of hundreds of immigrant rights activists on Tuesday that she constantly lives “in fear of being separated.”

But a federal overhaul of state driver’s licenses could give Oregon the chance to grant driving privileges to Alvarez and the state’s estimated 100,000 undocumented immigrants. Legislators are considering a measure expanding driver’s license access to all Oregon regardless of immigration status, as long as they pass their driver’s test and meet other DMV requirements.

“Driver’s licenses are such a core, basic need for families,” said Andrea Williams, executive director of the immigration rights group Causa. “While we may disagree what to do federally about immigration reform, families should not be separated over a traffic stop.”

Twelve states, plus the District of Columbia, currently provide driver’s licenses regardless of immigration status.

Oregon’s implementation of the 2005 federal Real ID Act, said Williams, is an opportune moment for the state to also make such a change. The Real ID Act, passed after 9/11, sets minimum security standards for all state IDs and requires that these enhanced IDs be presented to enter federal buildings and board domestic flights without a passport.

The Department of Homeland Security allows states to issue non-compliant cards for those who don’t have the documentation to prove their lawful presence in the country, including victims of domestic violence and those experiencing homelessness.

Oregon, like many other states, will create a two-tier identification system and issue both Real IDs and standard driver’s licenses, which are federally non-compliant.

Immigration rights advocates are pushing the legislature to drop citizenship as a requirement for standard driver’s licenses, which would allow undocumented immigrants to legally drive. At least 12 other states are considering a similar measure.

The issue has become somewhat of a hot potato for Oregon, which, for years, was only one of eight states in the nation to grant licenses to unauthorized immigrants. Lawmakers initially reversed the practice in 2008 to comply with federal ID laws, then backtracked and voted to reinstate licenses for undocumented immigrants in 2013.

But that 2013 law never took effect, because opponents, including the group Oregonians for Immigration Reform, were able to put the issue to the ballot. Oregon voters overwhelmingly repealed the measure 66 to 34 percent.

This time an emergency clause in the bill would immediately implement the law upon passage, making it far more difficult for the group to repeal it at the ballot box through the state’s robust referendum process.

“This is a slap in the face for citizen participation,” said Jim Ludwick, communications director for Oregonians for Immigration Reform. “You would think that after Oregon overwhelmingly voted against this, the legislature would at least bring it back to the voters to decide.”

Williams, the leader of Causa, said that the emergency clause is necessary as the DMV will need the time to implement the change before the department starts issuing Real IDs in October 2020.

“It’s not our Oregon values to have families be separated for trying to live their daily life,” she said. “Nobody should have to live in fear of deported from their family for going to work or taking their children to school.”

DCG

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Oregon lawmakers introduce bill to eliminate proof of legal residence requirement for driver’s licenses/IDs

Oregon has automatic voter registration at the DMV. To ensure only US citizens vote, the Oregon Secretary of State web site states, “The Elections Division will only send OMV Cards to people who have provided documentation that they are U.S. citizens. Oregon voters are also required to attest to their qualifications –including citizenship — at the time they submit their ballot.”

As reported by Oregon Live: Oregonians should not be required to prove they are U.S. citizens or legal residents to drive a car.

That’s the premise behind a bill filed in Salem this week by a bipartisan group of state lawmakers. If passed opens the door for non-citizens to obtain legal Oregon driver’s licenses, learner’s permits or general identification cards. It wouldn’t apply to commercial driver’s licenses.

The Equal Access to Roads Act would amend state law to allow drivers to submit a statement saying they have “not been assigned a Social Security number” instead of producing documents proving U.S. citizenship or legal residency. Qualified applicants would still have to pass a driver’s test and show they live in Oregon. The bill would not apply to learner’s permits or commercial driver’s licenses.

The bill comes as Oregon in July 2020 will begin issuing driver’s licenses that comply with the 2005 REAL ID Act, which requires states to verify citizenship and add other security features for state licenses. Either a federally recognized form of identification like a passport or Real ID card will be required for any passenger to board domestic flights starting in October 2020.

Proponents say the bill is a logical move that will benefit all Oregonians who are either unwilling or unable to comply with those federal requirements, not just those undocumented workers who may rely on cars to get work, school or elsewhere around the state.

Rep. Diego Hernandez, D-Portland, one of HB 2015’s five chief-sponsors, said it makes sense to give all Oregonians an option other than paying more money for a Real ID starting next year. “Many people are impacted by these strict requirements,” Hernandez said, “including the elderly, domestic violence survivors and immigrants.”

He said that having access to driver’s licenses without producing additional paperwork eliminates a roadblock to getting an essential piece of identification.

If approved, the bill would be effective January 2021. Oregon would still have two licenses if the bill dies in Salem – a Real ID compliant one and a non-Real ID card. The bill removes the legal residency requirements for the non-Real ID license while adding additional civil protections so driver’s licenses holders can’t be discriminated against for not having a Real ID.

Gov. Kate Brown issued a statement in support of the bill. “As a mixed urban and rural state, many Oregonians depend on the ability to drive to support their families and go to school, the doctor, and the grocery store,” Brown said. “Increasing access to driver’s licenses means more Oregonians will safely access their jobs, education, and the services they rely on.“

The bill comes more than a decade after Oregon last issued eight-year driver’s licenses to residents without requiring they produce documentation proving they are citizens or legal residents.

Read the whole story here.

DCG

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