Two illegal actions do not add up to right

Daily Courier
News article

Choosing to break the law or ignore the law in the name of safety may make sense under certain circumstances. Ballot Measure 88 is not among those rare circumstances.

The measure would direct the Oregon DMV to issue driver's licenses to people even if they are unable to show they are legal residents of the United States. It is on the ballot because a bill that would have done this was approved by the Oregon Senate in 2013. Even before the House of Representatives could take action on the bill, however, a referendum petition effort quickly gathered the necessary signatures to send the issue to the ballot.

Supporters of the measure contend this is a safety issue, and that immigrants in the country illegally will drive more safely if they have the opportunity to get a driver's license. People in the country illegally are going to drive anyway, supporters argue, so we might as well do our best to protect everyone else on the road.

While there may be something to this argument, it's not good enough to have voters give an official stamp of approval to those who have broken the law by entering the United States illegally.

Furthermore, the bill's supporters in the Legislature knew very well that rank-and-file voters would not stand for this. Once opponents of Senate Bill 833 gathered enough signatures to send the proposal to the ballot, supporters tried to change the wording of the ballot title so that it included no reference to illegal immigrants. They tried to have the title read, "Establishes limited purpose, duration driver card for individuals who prove Oregon residency, meeting driving requirements." Fortunately, the Oregon Supreme Court upheld the original ballot title wording, so that when you receive your ballot later this month, Measure 88 will read, "Provides Oregon resident driver card without requiring proof of legal presence in the United States."

Straightforward, easy to understand. That's the way ballot measures should be.

People without licenses drive all the time, and a majority of them are not illegal immigrants — they lost their licenses due to multiple drunken driving convictions or other road-related crimes such as reckless driving. But the answer is not to write new laws that create a way around existing laws. The answer is to adequately enforce the laws that are already on the books.

Vote no on Measure 88.