Greg Delgado had a packed council chambers filled with attentive listeners as he gave an update on the effort to get driver cards available to undocumented workers in Oregon during Monday night’s Hermiston Hispanic Advisory Committee.
“This is not just a Latino issue or an undocumented worker issue,” Delgado said. “This is a public safety issue.”
Delgado, Central Oregon organizer for Causa, said his organization will begin a voter registration drive in an effort to get Referendum 301 passed in November. Referendum supporters collected enough signatures last fall to block Oregon Senate Bill 833, which was passed by the Oregon Legislature last summer and signed by Gov. John Kitzhaber. The bill would have allowed Oregon residents who cannot prove they are in the United States legally to obtain a temporary Oregon driver’s license. Now voters will have a chance to have their say on the issue.
Delgado fielded questions from the audience of nearly four dozen Monday night. He told the crowd that passage of the referendum would give undocumented workers the right to obtain a driver card if they pass a driving test and demonstrate they understand the rules of the road. It would also require them to get auto insurance. It will not, however, give card holders additional rights or privileges associated with having a regular driver’s license, such as the ability to buy guns or get a concealed carry permit in the state of Oregon, to board a plane, to vote, or to get any government benefits for which they are not otherwise eligible.
Delgado said passage of the referendum will make Oregon roads safer by cutting down on the number of uninsured and less skilled drivers.
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