SEVERE WX : Fire Weather Watch - Red Flag Warning View Alerts

Oregon may grant driving privileges to 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.

Posted: Mar 26, 2019 6:06 PM

By SARAH ZIMMERMAN Associated Press

SALEM, Ore. (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."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 206777

Reported Deaths: 2754
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah40354614
Washington26781248
Marion23425323
Clackamas18925235
Lane13896164
Jackson11535146
Deschutes1001582
Umatilla859387
Linn560380
Yamhill477879
Klamath477678
Polk399356
Douglas387982
Malheur361463
Josephine359872
Benton326422
Jefferson236839
Coos216637
Columbia191929
Union149824
Wasco144330
Lincoln143021
Crook129223
Hood River121933
Morrow115316
Clatsop10559
Baker101115
Curry70811
Tillamook6604
Grant5507
Lake4678
Harney4339
Wallowa1945
Gilliam801
Sherman671
Wheeler351
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3808258

Reported Deaths: 63335
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles124761824454
Riverside3016034627
San Bernardino2992894844
San Diego2817493771
Orange2729225112
Santa Clara1201102188
Kern1107821404
Sacramento1076381731
Fresno1029221724
Alameda895921273
Ventura816381031
San Joaquin746861438
Contra Costa70561813
Stanislaus633871069
Tulare49814849
Monterey43831427
San Mateo42646581
San Francisco37256556
Santa Barbara34596455
Solano33707266
Merced32291478
Sonoma30868317
Imperial28813741
Placer23537299
Kings23189247
San Luis Obispo21421261
Madera16632245
Santa Cruz16235208
Marin14200230
Yolo14156212
Butte12659194
Shasta12630233
El Dorado10371116
Napa1002580
Sutter9656113
Yuba648551
San Benito610963
Lassen578424
Tehama573163
Nevada491075
Humboldt446348
Mendocino432150
Tuolumne420771
Amador373947
Lake356345
Glenn243427
Siskiyou239437
Colusa228418
Calaveras220156
Del Norte14568
Inyo143438
Mono12954
Plumas7366
Modoc5585
Mariposa4657
Trinity4225
Sierra1150
Alpine890
Unassigned330
Medford
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 98° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 79°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
51° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 51°
Crater Lake
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 79°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
77° wxIcon
Hi: 98° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 79°
Klamath Falls
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 73°
Chances for thunderstorms Monday and Tuesday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

kdrv--Mon_Jun_21_05_00 - selection

Image

kdrv--Mon_Jun_21_05_00 - selection

Image

Monday, June 21 morning weather

Image

Sunday, June 20th Evening Forecast

Image

Sunday, June 20th Evening Forecast

Image

Local government officials celebrate Juneteenth

Image

California mask updates for people who are vaccinated

Image

Sunday, June 20th Morning Weather

Image

Golf Tip of the Week: Stone Ridge Golf Club

Image

Saturday, June 19th Evening Forecast