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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Immigrant Rights Advocates Denounce Passage of Draconian Driver’s License Bill

February 13, 2008

Erik Sorensen, Communications, CAUSA (503) 488-0263
Aeryca Steinbauer, Coordinator, CAUSA (503) 984-6816

Immigrant Rights Advocates Denounce Passage of Draconian Driver's License Bill

Under the watch of Democrats, undocumented immigrants lose the ability to drive legally

Salem, OR- Today CAUSA, Oregon's statewide immigrant rights coalition, denounces the passage of SB 1080 and expresses deep disappointment that undocumented immigrants lost the ability to drive legally on the Democrat's watch.

The bill, which passed the State House today by a vote of 45-15, comes just a week after rule changes set forth by Governor Kulongoski's Executive Order went into affect. Since February 4th, the DMV has been operating under new rules requiring individuals to present a valid social security number to obtain a driver's license. Upon final approval from the Governor, SB 1080 will become law requiring individuals to show proof of legal presence in United States and a valid Social Security number before the DMV will issue, renew or replace a driver's license, driver's permit or identification card.

Currently, there are over 120,000 undocumented immigrants in Oregon, many of whom drive on Oregon's roads to get to work, buy groceries, and take their children to school. As a result of this bill becoming law, drivers who can't prove their legal status will be denied a driver's license, causing them to choose between taking care of their families and risking driving without a license and insurance. It is certain to have a disastrous effect on public safety, Oregon's economy and trust in government.

"Denying licenses is an all around bad idea for Oregon." said Aeryca Steinbauer, Coordinator with CAUSA. "Rather than increasing security as Democrats maintain, it will erode the safety of our roads, public trust, the well-being of working immigrant families and Oregon's economy. And it is certain that more than just undocumented immigrants will be at risk under this new law."

In response to this draconian bill being passed by the Legislature, CAUSA and allies are calling on the Governor and legislative leadership to form a committee of legislators, business people and community members to study the economic and social impacts of the Executive Order. They are also calling on quick action to restore driver's license access to all Oregonians.

In addition, CAUSA, Voz Hispana and their allies will launch the largest Latino voter registration campaign in Oregon history.



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