Challenge Governor On Licenses For Illegal Immigrants
RTT News 11/19/07
A proposal by Oregon Gov. Ted
Kulongoski to give illegal immigrants a special driver's permit is
getting a chilly reception from fellow Democrats who control the
Under the governor's plan, the Department of Motor Vehicles would
require proof of citizenship or legal residency to issue driver's
licenses. Those who lack proper papers could get a driving-only
card that would not be valid to board an airliner, among other
limitations, a plan similar to the one withdrawn last week by New
York Gov. Eliot Spitzer.
State Sen. Alan Bates, D-Ashland, told the Ashland Daily Tidings
that the governor's proposal could draw more illegal immigrants to
"I have a real problem licensing illegal immigrants," Bates said.
"It would lead to one problem after another."
Instead of offering the so-called driver's cards, state lawmakers
should work toward encouraging legal immigration to the Beaver
State, he told the Southern Oregon newspaper.
"We need a lot more legals in the country," Bates said. "We need
the labor; we need the good people."
House Majority Whip Peter Buckley, also an Ashland Democrat, said
it's anti-immigrant sentiment that is fueling most of the
opposition to the governor's plan.
"I have a lot of concern about the anti-immigrant fever that is
gripping people right now," Buckley said. "It's hard for me to
look at people who are desperately trying to feed their kids and
have a better life, and condemn them."
The governor's plan could be blunted, however, by a proposed
ballot initiative that would require proof of citizenship to drive
Brought forth by Oregonians for Immigration Reform, the proposal
would also repeal a state law that prohibits law enforcement
agencies from using money or personnel to find or apprehend
illegal immigrants whose only crime is that they are in the U.S.
To get the initiative on the November 2008 ballot, supporters have
until July 3 to gather about 83,000 valid signatures.