Measure 88: Only persons legally present should drive in Oregon (guest opinion)
By David Olen Cross
The action by Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and the state Legislature on Senate Bill 833 last year granting some form of Oregon driver’s license, called a driver’s card, to foreign nationals illegally present in the state, passed in part under the pretense that the legislation was a matter of public safety.
But the law is disconnected from the reality of driving in our state, considering the previous dangers illegal immigrant drivers have posed to Oregonians.
In a series of annual reports required by an Oregon law (House Bill 3624) the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) reported the legal presence requirement in driver licensing brought about by the passage of Senate Bill 1080 in 2008 has not had a significant impact on the rate of unlicensed and uninsured driving.
Before the passage of legislation requiring that drivers show legal presence, the state did issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. But that didn’t seem to motivate them, in the name of public safety, to obtain automobile insurance or in some cases even have a valid driver’s license. Here are seven victims whose lives were extinguished violently and prematurely by those illegally present that chose to drive their motor vehicles impaired and recklessly.
Judyth Anne Cox, a 66-year-old wife and mother of two, was killed in Yamhill County on Dec. 3, 2007, by Mexican national Ignacio Merendon-Zerega. He had six prior DUIIs. Merendon-Zerega had no driver’s license or insurance.
Carma Colleen Smith, a 52-year-old wife and mother of seven, was killed in Yamhill County on May 11, 2008, (Mothers Day) by Mexican national Leonel Zurita-Loeza. He was on a diversion for a previous DUII at the time he killed Smith. Zurita-Loeza had a driver’s license but no insurance.
Justin Daniel Dougherty, a 23-year-old single father of one, was killed in Lane County on March 4, 2008, by Mexican national Eduardo Gutierrez-Duarte. He had a previous DUII in 2004. Gutierrez-Duarte had a driver’s license but no insurance.
Kay Blaser, a 26-year-old mother of one, was killed in Clackamas County on Oct. 12, 2008 by Mexican national Fernando Deanda-Moreno. He had no driver’s license or insurance.
Barbara Jean Bier, a 52-year-old wife and mother of seven, was killed in Polk County on Nov. 21, 2008, by Martin Martinez-Aguilar, who had a driver’s license but no insurance.
Albert Lloyd Rowland, a 53-year-old homeless man, was killed in Multnomah County on May 13, 2010, by Mexican national Alvaro Lugos-Ponce, who had no driver’s license or insurance.
John Zupan (founder of Zupan’s Markets), a 66-year-old father of two, was killed in Multnomah County on Aug. 30, 2011, by Mexican national Edy Porfirio Reynoso-Ramirez. He had no driver’s license or insurance.
The driver’s licenses of these illegal immigrants who possessed them have been revoked or suspended. But their criminal driving history may not prevent them from driving again in the state.
Problematic with SB833 is the law could allow some of these killers to use a Mexican matricula consular card to re-obtain a valid driver’s license or driver’s cad (Note: The DMV has no access to the driving histories of Mexican nationals from their home country).
If past history is any indicator, SB833 is a law that could once again open up Oregon’s roads to the slaughter of its citizens by foreign nationals illegally present in the state.
Oregon voters concerned about future public safety of the state’s roads can stop SB833 from becoming state law on Nov. 4, during the 2014 Oregon general election, by voting “no” on Measure 88.
David Olen Cross of Salem writes on immigration issues and foreign national crime. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.