SALEM, Ore. — Immigration rights activists and the Latino community celebrated an historic victory at a May day rally at the state capitol. Demonstrators chanted “we did it” as Governor John Kitzhaber signed into law Senate Bill 833.
“This bill is part of a larger vision where all Oregonians will get their shot at the American dream,” said Governor Kitzhaber.
The goal of the bill is to improve traffic safety by allowing undocumented immigrants living in Oregon to obtain driver’s licenses.
“Finally a lot of people that I know, whether it be family or friends, are going to be able to get their licenses and not worry about getting stopped for going to the store or going to work,” said demonstrator Zitna Lily Maldanado.
The bill was a significant victory for immigrant rights activists, but they say this is just the beginning. They’re fighting for a path to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country, affordable health care, and jobs that pay reasonable wages.
“There’s a lot of work to be done here and the only way we’re going to do it is by working together. And this kind of bipartisan work we do in Oregon, we hope it goes nationwide,” said Causa organizer Greg Delgado.
With today’s historic signing ceremony, immigrants in Oregon say they feel closer to the American Dream.
“We could be living the dream like everybody else because we’re all the same, nobody is different,” said demonstrator Xiunelly Nicolas.
Community leaders say SB 833 is a significant step forward and represents equality. It goes into effect on January 1, 2014.