Members of law enforcement community oppose driver card measure

The Bulletin
Letter: Members of law enforcement community oppose driver card measure

By David O. Cross /

Published Sep 21, 2014 at 12:02AM

On Aug. 1, the Oregon Secretary of State’s Elections Office assigned a title to the Protect Oregon Driver Licenses citizen’s veto referendum #301, Ballot Measure 88, to put before the state’s voters Senate Bill 833.

The passage of Ballot Measure 88 by the state’s voters during the upcoming Nov. 4 general election would require the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles to grant to persons “who cannot prove legal presence in the United States” a special state-issued identification called a driver card.

In reaction to state driver card legislation, current and past members of county, local and federal law enforcement have stepped forward to oppose the ballot measure.

The Sheriffs of Oregon political action committee (SOO PAC), representing the political and public safety interests of the state’s 36 county sheriffs, has come out in opposition to the legislation with the following statement: “The Sheriffs of Oregon support the citizens veto referendum #301 to overturn SB 833. We urge a no vote.”

Tom Bergin, the current Clatsop County sheriff and past president of the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association, made these statements about the driver card legislation: “It is wrong to provide special driver’s licenses to people who cannot prove legal presence in the United States. For Oregon to do so, will only enhance the ability for criminal behavior, thus creating a larger risk to our citizens public safety. The Sheriffs of Oregon urge you to oppose this measure.”

Tim Mueller, recently retired sheriff of Linn County, made his thoughts known on driver cards: “Giving a person a driver’s license who is in this country illegally is flat out irresponsible and does nothing to protect the citizens of this state.”

Duane Fletchall, a retired Marion County sheriff’s sergeant, reacted this way to the undocumented being granted driver cards: “I am against Oregon Senate Bill 833, for two main reasons: the safety and tranquility of all (Oregon residents) and to protect our national security.”

Dave Driscoll, a retired Salem police officer, had strong words on whether those who could not prove legal presence in the state should be legally allowed to drive: “Fair and equal treatment under the law. This is just a way for a select group of people to avoid Oregon law. It will not increase traffic safety or lower the number of uninsured drivers in this state. If allowed to stand, Oregon could become a safe haven for criminals and terrorists.”

Moving beyond county and local law enforcement opposing Ballot Measure 88, opposition has arisen to driver cards for those not legally in the country from nationally recognized experts on federal immigration law enforcement.

Derek Hernandez, vice president of the Western Region National Border Patrol Council, the labor union representing U.S. Border Patrol agents, had this to say to Oregon voters on the granting of driver cards to foreign nationals illegally in the country: “You must oppose SB 833 in its entirety as this is a gateway to illegal citizenship and the benefits that one can receive from US citizenship.”

Michael W. Cutler, a retired senior special agent, formerly with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, expressed these thoughts on the possibility of SB 833 becoming an Oregon law: “Providing such documentation (driver privilege cards to illegal aliens) is wrong for a number of reasons beginning with national security and public safety. America’s immigration laws were enacted to achieve two primary goals, protect innocent lives and the jobs of American workers.”

Oregon voters should heed the wisdom of members of the law enforcement community across the state and nationally who have joined together with the citizens from Protect Oregon Driver Licenses to oppose driver cards for those “who cannot prove legal presence in the United States,” and vote no on Ballot Measure 88.

— David O. Cross writes on immigration issues and foreign national crime. He lives in Salem.

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