The lack of access to Drivers Licenses is dire for immigrants. This was the top issue identified in ROP’s Rural Oregon Latino Retreat earlier this month, and thanks to a bill drafted by CAUSA, we have a chance to act and make some real change.
** Because of lack of access to drivers’ licenses in Oregon since 2008, and more and more immigrants live in constant fear of a trip to work or school resulting in deportation. Oregon is safer and more prosperous when everybody has access to drivers’ licenses. **
As human dignity advocates, I’m writing now to ask you to take action to get licenses back. Please choose two of the things below to do today! We’re here to support with more information, or if you’re looking for a way to do more for immigrant fairness this year.
1. Call your Legislator and tell them to support Senate Bill 845 – the Oregon Driver License Access Act. Members of the Transportation Committee (below) especially need to hear from you today. Ask them to hold a hearing on Senate Bill 845. Find your legislator’s contact information here.
Tell them you support restoring driver’s license access to all Oregonians, regardless of the ability to prove legal status. Driver’s license access is key to Oregon’s public safety and economic recovery.
These representatives on the Transportation Committee especially need to hear from you!
- Sen. Bruce Starr (Forest Grove, Cornelius, Hillsboro) 503-986-1715
- Sen. Jason Atkinson (Central Point, Grants Pass, Cave Junction) 503-986-1702
- Sen. Lee Beyer (Springfield) 503-986-1706
- Sen. Chris Edwards (Junction City, Eugene) 503-986-1707
- Sen. Fred Girod (Stayton, Silverton, Mollala) 503-986-1709
- Sen. Ginny Burdick (Portland) 503-986-1718
2. Write a letter or email to your legislator on behalf of the bill. Talking points are included below, or contact ROP for a draft letter.
3. Send the link to this action page to your group’s listserv or your friend circle, and talk about the bill in your community! Encourage people to call!
4. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for ROP’s Immigration Fairness Network. That’s where we’ll be sending updates about the Driver License bill and opportunities to have an impact.
In-person visits are also needed! I’m happy to talk with any of you about the best way to reach your legislator in person, or to brainstorm other ideas. Thank you for calling your legislator today!
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Every Oregon Driver Licensed and Insured:
Key to Oregon’s Public Safety and Economic Recovery
CAUSA and the Rural Organizing Project support the creation of an alternative driver’s license, available to any Oregon resident who meets the qualifications for a standard license but is unable or unwilling to prove citizenship or legal status.
In 2008, the Oregon Legislature passed a law requiring proof of citizenship or legal status to obtain an Oregon driver’s license. This law created unnecessary barriers for individuals to legally drive or purchase insurance and unnecessary costs and consequences for other drivers, insurance companies, homeowners, businesses and law enforcement.
- Public safety for everyone increases when all drivers are tested, licensed, and insured. AAA statistics show that one of every five fatal crashes involve a driver who is definitely or possibly driving with an invalid license or no license.
- Law enforcement officers will be able to easily identify drivers and can devote their scarce resources to more pressing public safety issues. According to Margaret Stock, associate professor of law at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, “Refusing to give driver licenses to illegal immigrants means taking [them] out of the largest law enforcement database in the country. Thus, denial of licenses is a policy prescription that hampers law enforcement far more than it enhances it.”
Our Uninsured Future
Immigrants, documented or undocumented, are integral to the success of our economy. The 2009 purchasing power of Latinos in Oregon totaled $7.0 billion, and unauthorized workers in Oregon contribute on average between $134 million and $187 million in taxes a year. A labor market that is less mobile and consumers that are less confident and able to purchase products and services make it even harder for Oregon to climb out of the economic recession.
- Unauthorized immigrants comprised over 5 % of the state’s workforce in 2010.
- In 8 years most of these workers drivers’ licenses will be expired, leaving roughly 110,000 people without recourse to consistent, legal, and insured transportation to work.
An alternative drivers license will allow Oregon to promote Latino immigrants’ productive and purchasing power, protect public safety and law enforcement, and provide for the continued economic recovery of Oregon.