Why I voted against driver cards

Rep. Dennis Richardson

Rep. Dennis Richardson

The Driver Card Bill (Senate Bill 833), passed the Senate, the House and has been signed into law by Gov. Kitzhaber.

I voted against issuing driver cards to those who cannot prove legal residency after learning the experience of other states where such laws have been tested. (Watch a video of my floor debate against Senate Bill 833 on YouTube.)

New Mexico’s illegal immigrant drivers’ law failed to achieve its goal of lessening the number of uninsured drivers. Investigations revealed New Mexico’s law was a magnet that attracted additional illegal immigration into their state.  In addition, New Mexico’s governor says she wishes their law could be repealed — citing problems relating to fraud, human trafficking, organized crime and national security.

After several years, Tennessee repealed its driving certificate laws. Investigators discovered non-residents were being shuttled to Tennessee and driving certificates were being issued based on false residency documents and even bribery of government officials.

In short, the desire to help thousands of undocumented workers and their families be assimilated into Oregon society may be well-intended, but the new Oregon driver card may have unintended consequences.  When states such as Tennessee and New Mexico have documented, widespread fraud and abuse of their driver cards, and have either repealed their laws or have a governor who wishes the laws were terminated, Oregon should beware.

Like it or not, the Oregon driver card law will become effective Jan. 1, 2014.  Time will tell whether or not the Oregon driver card was good policy or fraught with negative unintended consequences.

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