PORTLAND—Oregon DreamActivist is demanding that Governor John Kitzhaber issue an executive order to return driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants in the state of Oregon. The previous Democratic governor, Ted Kulongoski, took away licenses with an executive order; this governor can undo it. Four members of Oregon DreamActivist will walk from Pioneer Square in Portland to the Capitol in Salem starting on Friday to press for the freedom to drive safely on Oregon’s roads.
WHAT: Walk to demand return of Driver’s Licenses
WHEN/WHERE: Starting Oct. 26, 9AM at Pioneer Square in Portland
WHO: Oregon DreamActivist, Undocumented Families, Supporters
“I will walk for social equality and for the immediate demand to reinstate driver’s licenses for undocumented people,” said Sindy Avila, one of the walkers. “We will not stop fighting, organizing and sharing our stories until ALL of our communities are treated with dignity, respect and justice.” If one governor can take them away with an executive order, Oregon DreamActivist argues, another can give them back.
The walkers are expected to arrive at the State Capitol on October 30 at 12:00pm. Immigrant families can no longer wait while they continue to be placed at risk of racial profiling or being torn apart from their families on their way to school or work. While politicians have debated the merits of a Utah-style proposal—a driving “privilege” card that would invariably reveal the immigrant’s status to police—immigrant communities have grown more aware of the need for a real license proposal that allows them to travel safely to and from their homes and interact comfortably with law enforcement. Similarly, allowing police to recognize the matricula consular ID issued by the Mexican consulate also creates a two-tier system and prevents immigrant communities from feeling secure in their encounters with law enforcement, not to mention that many undocumented immigrants are not Mexican citizens. Safer roads will make all Oregonians secure and foster a better relationship between law enforcement and the immigrant community.