Opponents to Oregon Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants Refile Initiative Petition

Take two for reversing House Bill 2015 was filed last week.

Downtown traffic on the east bank of the Willamette River. (Wikipedia User:Cacophony)

Anti-immigration activists have refiled an initiative petition that, if passed, would once again require proof of citizenship for obtaining an Oregon driver's license.

The filing received Friday by the Oregon Secretary of State's Office marks the second attempt by the group to reverse House Bill 2015, passed this year by the Legislature. The new law allows undocumented immigrants to get a license.

Backers of the bill, which passed with bipartisan support, say it's a safety issue  that some Oregon residents cannot obtain a driver's license—and therefore insurance. Opponents oppose giving any legal status to undocumented immigrants.

Supporters of IP 52, which would be on the ballot next year, need to gather 1,000 signatures for a ballot title to be drafted. They ultimately need to gather 112,020 to get it on the ballot.

The battle at the ballot over driver's licenses now carries a significant feeling of deja vu.

The initiative petition's backers had their signatures tossed out last week by Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno, a Republican, who said backers had not displayed the full text of the bill they're trying to overturn.

House Bill 2015 is also the second effort by the legislature to grant driving privileges to undocumented people. In 2014, Oregon voters overturned a similar law at the ballot. That left an estimated 100,000 immigrants in Oregon without access to driver's licenses.

After President Donald Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric, popular opinion has shifted dramatically to being more sympathetic to immigrant rights. In 2018, Oregonians reaffirmed the provision of the state law that forbids state resources from being spent on immigration enforcement.

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