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Oregon's double standard on driver's licenses

As a Forest Grove resident and occasional News-Times reader, I hope you don’t mind that your recent article [about driver’s licenses for undocumented residents] has driven me to speak out.

It was between five and 10 years ago that the DMV announced that drivers would now be required to enter their social security numbers when obtaining or renewing their license and that failure to do so would result in denial or suspension.

The reason for this was because the DMV wanted to be able to link up with the child support program faster in order to ensure rapid suspensions of fathers who were behind in their child support payments.

As a father of three who is required to pay child support, I have a very big problem with the notion that this American can have his license suspended if he falls behind in his payments, but the state is willing to pass them out to illegal immigrants like candy canes at Christmas.

This is so biased and so unfair that if the time should ever come when my license is suspended because my child support arrears are $3,000 or more, I will simply walk into the DMV, tell them my name is Jose Chavez Chavez, and ask them for a new one.

You talk about these people not having a way to get to work, or to buy groceries without a car, so I have to ask ... why have you never posed this same argument in regards to fathers who are delinquent on their child support payments? Are their lives somehow worth less?

But on the flip side of that coin, what would these people have done 100 years ago? Do I think the state has the right to tell me that driving is a privilege? Absolutely not, and I say that because 100 years ago the horse was the primary mode of transportation, and as long as you didn’t steal the horse, it was your right to ride it. And to that extent, I wish I could send some of our officers back in time and quietly watch with a bag of popcorn in hand as they try to order Jesse James off his horse for riding without a license.

In any case, Oregon is trying to say that if this American-born citizen falls behind on his child support payments because he doesn’t have the money, he loses his ability to drive, and whether he can buy groceries, get to work, etc., is not important. But if another person is breaking the law by being here illegally, the state will give them a license to drive? In the words of comedian Ron White ... “I don’t think so, Scooter!”

Michael Failla lives in Forest Grove.




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