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Mexicans -- Oregon -- Social conditions, Mexicans -- Oregon -- Economic conditions, Foreign workers -- Oregon, Drivers' licenses -- Oregon, Undocumented immigrants -- Oregon


In July 2008, the State of Oregon implemented SB 1080, legislation that required all applicants for an Oregon Driver License or ID card to present proof of legal presence in the United States. In 2007, some 140,000 unauthorized immigrants were estimated to be living in Oregon, more than two-thirds of whom were estimated to be members of the labor force. Approximately 97% of Oregon’s unauthorized immigrants are thought to be Latino, nearly all of Mexican origin. This report includes a discussion of the social science findings on the situation of undocumented workers in the U.S and what is known about the uses of different forms of identification for Mexican nationals. It presents a statistical portrait of the Mexican-born population of Oregon, demonstrating their concentration in particular occupations, particularly agriculture, building and grounds maintenance, food preparation and construction. Given the magnitude of the ongoing recession, no economic impact of SB 1080 is yet discernible. In a full employment context, such as existed during 2007, and after all outstanding licenses held by undocumented immigrants have expired, SB 1080 might reduce state GDP by $160 million, or 0.1%, while raising wages by 0.16%. Economic impacts would be concentrated on those industries that particularly employ undocumented workers, notably agriculture and food service. Interviews with nearly 400 Spanish-speaking Oregon residents, conducted in the Summer of 2009, indicate distress and uncertainty in the Latino community, fear of deportation arising from a traffic stop, a significant number of people driving without a license and adjustments within households that reduce access to employment, education, medical and social services, church attendance and recreation. The full range and magnitudes of impacts cannot be known with certainty until SB 1080 is fully implemented in 2016, and the economy has recovered – and may be mitigated by immigration reform at the Federal level.


This is a final report, OR-RD 11-16, and can be found online at:

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