When new Oregon rules aimed at blocking undocumented immigrants from getting driver’s licenses took effect last February, many observers wondered what the effect would be. And although it’s still not clear whether fewer such immigrants are driving, living or working in Oregon, one thing is clear. The state is giving far fewer driver’s license exams in Spanish — 90 percent less than before the change, The (Portland) Oregonian reported this morning.
Anecdotally, the story indicates that some are becoming licensed in neighboring Washington, while others are driving without a license and still others use transit or rely on licensed friends and family members for transportation. In a sidebar, the story noted that Oregon DMV will make further changes. These are to comply with the federal Real ID Act, passed in 2005:
“Starting in January, the Oregon DMV will electronically verify immigration documents using a federal database called the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements, or SAVE. Operated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the database is chiefly used to verify eligibility for federal benefits, including welfare, Medicaid, unemployment and housing assistance. Though several studies say the database is plagued with problems, more than 20 states now use it to determine driver’s license eligibility.”