Oregon debates driver's licenses for people illegally in US

Oregon debates driver's licenses for people illegally in US

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Legislature will begin hearing public testimony on a proposal that would grant short-term driver's licenses to people who live in the country illegally.

A Senate committee on Thursday will begin considering Senate Bill 833. Under the bill, immigrants who have lived in Oregon for at least a year and meet other requirements would be eligible for four-year driver's licenses without proving U.S. citizenship.

Supporters have said the proposal would make Oregon roads safer, because there would be fewer uninsured and untrained drivers.

But critics say the bill would encourage more people to come to the state illegally, and that states should wait for federal immigration reform.

Five years ago state lawmakers voted to tighten identification requirements. Currently, applicants must prove citizenship to obtain driver's licenses.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.