Oregon Driver Licenses and Illegal Aliens

(Article by Jim Ludwick of Oregonians for Immigration Reform)

Oregon is the only state on the West Coast that openly acknowledges that it issues driver licenses to illegal aliens. In addition, Oregon is one of only five states that do not verify the Social Security numbers of driver license applicants. The result is that Oregon has become a magnet for ID fraud, the methamphetamine trade and illegal immigration. In addition it has put a terrible burden on our public schools, the Oregon Health Plan and the criminal justice system.

The 2007 Oregon Legislature will address the issue but only because they are forced to do so. In 2005 Congress passed the REAL ID Act. This act requires all states to verify that driver license applicants are either U.S. citizens or legal residents. If a state does not comply with the act by May 2008, that states driver licenses will no longer be valid as proof of identification when boarding planes, entering a federal building or in any other dealings with the federal government. In essence, citizens from non-complying states will need a passport or other similar ID’s when traveling outside their state.

Unfortunately there is a loophole in the REAL ID Act. The loophole allows states to set up a two-tiered system. A high standard for American citizens to obtain a driver license and a low standard for illegal aliens to receive a “driving privilege” license. The driving privilege card could not theoretically be used as an ID.

Fortunately only two states, Utah and Tennessee, have taken advantage of the loophole and one of them, Tennessee stopped doing so. Last year Tennessee discontinued the practice citing the fact that out-of-state applicants were using fake papers and bribes to get the cards. In fact crime syndicates were bringing people in from not only other states, but Central and South America as well.

Governor Kulongoski is on record in saying that he will introduce a driver license bill in the

upcoming legislative session that will bring Oregon in compliance with the REAL ID Act. However when questioned about a driving privilege card for illegal aliens he did not respond with an answer. If Oregon were to pass a bill that contains the driving privilege card for illegal aliens, we would be only the second state that actively has such a provision and consequently become even a greater magnet for crime.

In August 2006, the Governor’s State —Issued ID Task Force released their report to Governor Kulongoski. http://www.oregon.gov/CJC/docs/IDTaskForceReport.pdf In the report it was stated that “Oregon does not require people to prove “˜legal presence’ as part of the eligibility process.” The report went on to say, “This has led to Oregon becoming a magnet for people here illegally who find it increasingly difficult to obtain a driver license in other states. This increases the risk that DMV will issue DL/ID cards to people who aren’t who they say they are, and that more “˜fraudsters’ will come to Oregon from out of state.”

Congressman Steve King (R-IA), has stated that on average 13 Americans are killed each day by drunk driving illegal aliens and on average 14 Americans are murdered everyday by a non-citizen. Almost 10,000 Americans each year. The last thing we need is to lure more illegal aliens into Oregon. A driving privilege card for illegal aliens would do just that.

Jim Ludwick
Oregonians for Immigration Reform
PO Box 1438
McMinnville, OR 97128