Representative Sal Esquivel - endorser

Oregon State Representative
Southern Oregon

When this issue of allowing drivers cards for people with undocumented citizenship status came before the Legislature last year, I was among those to vote against it. I felt then, and I feel now, that it is not in the best interests of Oregon or its citizens to have these policies in place.

As the son of an immigrant, I feel that we do a huge disservice to those who lawfully obtain citizenship through the proper channels whenever we reward people for breaking the law. The state of Oregon should have no business rewarding illegal behavior. For of all these reasons, I encourage a “NO” vote on this veto referendum to Protect Oregon Driver Licenses.

Most of you know that I am the son of an immigrant.  My father is man who came here to work through the Bracero program and realized quickly what a wonderful country the United States was. He later returned to this country, and after fourteen years of hard work, learning to speak and read and write English and studying the history of America, he became a proud citizen of this nation.  At 93 years old, he is still a very proud American.

My wife, Jan, is also the child of an immigrant. Jan’s mother came from England in 1944 as the bride of a United States Army Air Corp Captain and also later became a citizen.

As such, my opposition to the passage of Senate Bill 833 was and is not out of a lack of sympathy for immigrants and the challenges they face. Rather, it’s out of respect for the rule of law.

The United States has always been a nation of laws. But too often, we determine it is okay to ignore those laws for certain people. That was the case when SB 833 passed through the Legislature last year.

Though it was not the intention, the affect was essentially to reward bad behavior, ignore the laws of our land and choose to favor one group of people over others.

I understand wanting to be here in America, and I have said repeatedly that I welcome anyone who comes here legally. But it is not alright when those who are elected to protect the laws of our land choose to set aside those laws for the sake of political gain. It is not alright for the Legislature to determine that it is acceptable for one group of individuals to disobey the laws of this land.

With the passage of SB 833, the Legislature’s actions invited other people to enter this country and state illegally. If individuals know that they do not have to be here legally to get a license to drive and have a job – why would they not come here in droves?

Ultimately, I think that Oregon voters deserve to have a say in this matter, which is why I have agreed to sponsor this veto referendum ballot referral.

I urge a “NO” vote, to repeal this law, because I feel that it is not in the best interest of this state or its citizens.

Rep. Esquivel graduated from Medford High School in 1966 and then attended Southern Oregon College. He joined the U.S. Navy and served in Vietnam from 1969 through 1970. Upon his return to Medford, where he grew up, he worked in the wood products industry. He has also been involved in various business ventures and has been a real estate broker for over 20 years.

Esquivel began his public service with a seven-year stint on the Medford City Council, including two terms as council president. He was appointed to the Oregon Senate in March 2003 and was first elected to represent House District 6 in 2004.