Why I voted NO on driver’s licenses for illegals

Gail Whitsett

Rep. Gail Whitsett (R-Klamath Falls)

Senate Bill 833 B-Eng passed through the legislature this week with a 38 to 20 vote.

I voted NO on this bill for the following reasons:

1) Illegals are here illegally. They are breaking the established laws of our nation just by being here. There is a system in place to immigrate legally to the US. Millions of citizens have processed through our system legally to become American citizens, and we should all expect foreign nationals to adhere to our constitutional principles.

2) There is an argument that passage of this bill will somehow promote insurance for illegal drivers. There is NO mandatory insurance requirement with SB 833. States that have tried to provide cards or licenses for illegals such as New Mexico have met with failure in this regard. New Mexico, which has had 10 years of driver’s licenses issued to non-citizens, shows NO decrease in insured drivers on their roads. In fact there has been an increase in uninsured motorists. An estimated 49,000 undocumented illegals reside in New Mexico; and yet, after passage of a bill similar to SB 833, they issued over 80,000 driver’s licenses. Obviously they are attracting individuals from other states into New Mexico for the sole purpose of being licensed without documentation.

3) Oregon’s law will provide for issuance of 4-year driver’s cards with documentation of the person’s name through a utility bill or other non-official means. Utah, on the other hand, requires fingerprints of prospective card holders, which are submitted to law enforcement in an effort to keep criminals from the state. Oregon’s new law does not differentiate between law abiding drivers and those already convicted of crimes. Utah also only allows for a one year issue of drivers’ cards, with renewal mandatory every single year. This is very important to keep the criminal element out of our already overcrowded prisons and justice system.

4) These cards will allow some holders to drive otherwise CDL requirement vehicles whose gross weight is over 100,000 pounds up to 100 miles from their farms of origin. Regular driver’s licenses will not be sufficient for individuals to drive the same massive and potentially deadly (due to size) vehicles, but with a card the illegal or card holder will be able to circumvent the CDL laws.

5) States that have issued these cards or licenses are now reconsidering their laws. Tennessee is the latest state to repeal their law as of last Friday after investigations found that illegal immigrants were coming in from other states by the busload, using fake residency papers and bribing state workers to issue them cards. The DMV already appears to be understaffed, as many of us can attest when we need to utilize their services; how in the world are they going to handle the influx of people expected from this new law?

All House Democrats as well as the following House Republicans voted YES on SB 833: Representatives Davis, Gilliam, Jenson, Johnson, Smith.

The Governor will be signing SB 833 into law today, May 1, on the Capitol steps to appease the May Day Rally attendees.