‘No’ to Driving Privileges for Illegal Aliens
Dismissal of Oregon case a victory for IRLI, the rule of law and all Americans
WASHINGTON—The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) marked a victory after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a district court decision to dismiss a case that sought to force the State of Oregon to grant driving privileges to illegal aliens.
IRLI had filed a friend-of-the-court brief in 2016 on behalf of its client Oregonians for Immigration Reform (OFIR) in the case of M.S. v. Brown, in which plaintiffs looked to overturn as unconstitutional the outcome of the November 2014 general election in Oregon. Through the Oregon Constitution’s referendum veto process, Oregon voters overwhelmingly rejected—by 66%—a bill passed by the legislature and signed by the governor that would have extended eligibility for driving privileges to unlawfully present persons. OFIR was the driving force behind the referendum veto that collected the requisite number of signatures to get the issue placed on the ballot.
The case, brought by five admitted illegal aliens and two illegal alien special interest groups, was dismissed in May 2016 when an Oregon district court ruled that the plaintiffs could not show that an order from the court could redress their complaint as the court had no power to overturn a referendum or force the state to pass legislation giving illegal aliens driving privileges. In its brief, IRLI agreed with the district court and argued further that the plaintiffs also failed to demonstrate an injury, a necessary element of standing to sue, as illegal aliens have no constitutional right to driving privileges, and, in fact, do not even possess the constitutional right to interstate travel (which citizens and legal aliens possess) as a result of their illegal presence in the U.S.
There are a number of reasons why granting driving privileges to illegal aliens is not in the interests of states or their citizens. Among them, states have a legitimate interest in limiting their finite resources to citizens and legal aliens and in not allowing their government machinery to be a facilitator for the concealment of illegal aliens. There is also a legitimate concern that persons subject to immediate or subsequent deportation will not be financially responsible for property damage or personal injury due to automobile accidents. Finally, granting driving privileges to illegal aliens harms national security because, unlike legal aliens, illegal aliens have not undergone background checks or face-to-face interviews to determine whether they pose a national security threat.
“This is a tremendous win for residents of Oregon and the American people at large,” said Dale L. Wilcox, IRLI’s executive director and general counsel. “Since the presence of illegal aliens in the United States is a violation of federal law, the notion that those aliens should be granted the privilege to drive and the right to travel freely throughout the country is absurd. The result of this decision will be safer communities that better serve the interests of their citizens and legal residents.”
For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • firstname.lastname@example.org