On Wednesday the Equal Access to Roads Act was introduced in the Oregon State Legislature. This bill, if passed, will give Oregonians access to a standard driver’s license regardless of their citizenship or immigration status. It will ensure that our immigrant community members–as well as survivors of domestic violence and others without access to proof of citizenship–do not have to face the impossible choice of driving without a license or not traveling to work, school or the grocery store.
In rural Oregon, driving is often required for daily life. Being unable to produce a driver’s license during a traffic stop is increasingly leading immigrants to be flagged for deportation. Deportations from traffic infractions increased 168% since 2016. Rural human dignity groups across Oregon have done powerful work to end Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) contracts in Jackson County and Springfield, as well as the solidarity work with those detained under ICE contracts at Federal Correctional Institute, Sheridan and NORCOR regional jail. These campaigns have advocated for immigrant justice once immgrants and refugees have already gotten swept up in the detention system. By fighting for the Equal Access to Roads Act (aka Driver’s Licenses for All), rural Oregon can decrease the number of people pulled into that system in the first place.
How can your Human Dignity Group get involved?
As part of their work for immigrant justice, human dignity groups across rural Oregon are already making local plans of action to build support for Driver’s Licenses for All. Below are a few suggestions for creating your local plan, but please don’t hesitate to contact ROP at email@example.com for more support and resources!
1. Bring your group together to brainstorm:
- How can engaging in this campaign build support for safe and welcoming communities in our county?
- How can this campaign improve our group’s ability to take action on immigrant rights?
- How can this work tie in with the work we are already doing?
- Who do we most want to reach out to in our community?
- What kind of information do people need to have in order to get involved?
2. Create an organizing plan with your group. Here are a few ideas:
- Create a local pledge card or sign on sheet, collect signatures, make copies and send to your legislators.
- Hold an event to share more information about Driver’s Licenses for All.
- Make presentations at local organizations, faith communities, the school board, the city council, the county commission or other local institutions.
- Collect signatures and put a signature ad in your local paper.
- Organize a rally or march in favor of Driver’s Licenses for All.
- Put together a group of people to meet with your local legislators to talk to them about why you support Driver’s Licenses for All.
- Organize supporters to make calls or send letters of support to your legislators.
- Create a Letter to the Editor campaign – get letter writers to sign up, create a schedule of submission and flood your local paper with letters of support for Driver’s Licenses for All.
3. Join the Driver’s Licenses for All campaign:
- Read more about the Equal Access to Roads Act (HB 2015) here.
- Endorse the campaign as your Human Dignity Group here and sign onto the campaign as an individual here.
- Join ROP at Causa’s Advocacy Day in Salem on March 26th. (RSVP here and make sure to list your local group and ROP so we can look for you at the lobby day!)
4. Let ROP know what your plans are and reach out for additional resources.
Keep ROP informed of what your group has planned. Reach out for resources, tools and samples of materials from other rural and small town communities. Let us know if you would like to set up a time for ROP to talk more with your group about plans for a local campaign in support of Driver’s Licenses for All. And be sure to send us samples of the materials you create for your local campaign!
Human dignity groups across rural Oregon are finding many ways to fight for immigrant justice in our current political climate. As we join the fight for Driver’s Licenses for All, we hope that by passing the Equal Access to Roads Act, Oregon will become a safer place for our undocumented community members to live happy and healthy lives. As we put in the work for this bill’s passage, let’s bring more Oregonians into the broader work of dismantling systems of detention and deportation across our state.