Welcome to the new OFIR blog!
OFIR invites you to pop in regularly and find out what's new, what's pressing and needing action and what other concerned citizens are doing in the fight to stop illegal immigration.
Rick LaMountain is a gifted writer and has, once again, written such a clear headed article explaining why SB833 is not good for Oregon. He explains the flawed and harmful thinking that went into the jettisoned legislation that went from first introduction to law in under one month. Read Rick's article here.
The Driver Card Bill (Senate Bill 833), passed the Senate, the House and has been signed into law by Gov. Kitzhaber.
I voted against issuing driver cards to those who cannot prove legal residency after learning the experience of other states where such laws have been tested. (Watch a video of my floor debate against Senate Bill 833 on YouTube.)
New Mexico’s illegal immigrant drivers’ law failed to achieve its goal of lessening the number of uninsured drivers. Investigations revealed New Mexico’s law was a magnet that attracted additional illegal immigration into their state. In addition, New Mexico’s governor says she wishes their law could be repealed — citing problems relating to fraud, human trafficking, organized crime and national security.
After several years, Tennessee repealed its driving certificate laws. Investigators discovered non-residents were being shuttled to Tennessee and driving certificates were being issued based on false residency documents and even bribery of government officials.
In short, the desire to help thousands of undocumented workers and their families be assimilated into Oregon society may be well-intended, but the new Oregon driver card may have unintended consequences. When states such as Tennessee and New Mexico have documented, widespread fraud and abuse of their driver cards, and have either repealed their laws or have a governor who wishes the laws were terminated, Oregon should beware.
Like it or not, the Oregon driver card law will become effective Jan. 1, 2014. Time will tell whether or not the Oregon driver card was good policy or fraught with negative unintended consequences.
Rep. Dennis Richardson
Do you wonder what others think about illegal immigration? Check out OFIR'S letter to the editor link
Everyone has an opinion and one way to put it to good use is to write a letter to the editor of your local paper.
Be brief, be specific and be respectful. A good idea is to ask someone else you know to read it before you submit it, to be certain there are no errors and that your intent is clear.
You can go to your newspaper's website and check out their policy for LTE's (letter's to the editor) regarding the word count limit, the best way and how often you can submit a letter, too.
If you have a letter published, please share it with OFIR and we will post it on our website.
Don't know how to get started? Check out some of these great letters!
In a recent letter in the Albany Democrat Herald, Steve Lundeberg suggests that there is nothing that can be done about all the illegal aliens residing in our state. He goes so far to suggest that the right thing to do is to provide driver privilege cards so that illegal aliens can get to their jobs and live their lives with less worry. Isn't that nice.
“The driver’s cards will improve traffic safety and *reduce the number of uninsured motorists on Oregon's roads,” Basic Rights Oregon’s press release said, and that prediction would seem to be a well-reasoned one.
*The uninsured driver/unlicensed driver rate has not changed since the 2008 Driver license bill went into effect?
That’s why SB 833 is a good idea. The main thing it does, contrary to those who fixate on the notion that it *provides a reward for breaking the law, is strive to make all Oregonians’ lives both safer and less costly.
*SB833 does provide a reward for illegal behavior...a state issued identification in the form of a driver privilege card and the "privilege" to be able to drive to their jobs. Which brings me to my next point.
The Governor said that illegal aliens need driver privilege cards so they can drive to their jobs, take their kids to the doctor and contribute to Oregon's economic recovery.
*The Governor neglected to mention the ONE BILLION dollar price tag to Oregon tax payers for services to illegal aliens. It's also never mentioned that it's against the law for illegal aliens to work in our state and for businesses to hire them. The Governor is giving them all a green light, while he simultaneously kicks the 167,000 unemployed Oregonians in the teeth.
There are only a handful of states giving driver licenses to people in the country illegally. It makes sense that by Oregon doing so, we could actually attract even more illegal aliens to our state. New Mexico estimated they would issue about 45,000 licenses to illegal aliens, but issued over 80,000 due to fraud. Is this what we want for Oregon? If you did your research, you would find that the states that have implemented similar legislation have repealed it or are looking at doing so due to rampant fraud.
In closing, I would suggest that there are multiple things the State of Oregon could do, if they were so inclined, rather than issue driver privilege cards:
OFIR has written several bills for consideration in the Oregon Legislature:
E-Verify is a free, accurate, easy to use program to help employers hire a legal workforce. Bills mandating the use of E-Verify for both State employers and private employers have never had a hearing. What kind of business model are we building for Oregon if an illegal workforce has the blessing of the Governor? Where is BOLI Commissioner Brad Avakian?
A bill to reduce fraud by requiring proof of citizenship to access services has never been assigned to a committee.
A bill requiring county governments to apply for SCAAP funding to be reimbursed for the millions spent on incarceration costs of illegal aliens is ignored.
I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.
If the Governor and the Legislature wanted to stem the flood of illegal aliens into the state, there are many things they could do, but they choose not to. It's clear that the Ag, Farm and restaurant businesses have the Oregon Legislature in their control. Those business owners get the benefit of cheap labor, the politicians slobber for their votes and the Oregon citizen and tax payer gets the bill! How cozy!
OFIR will work to gather the necessary signatures to put this important issue on the ballot. If Oregon's citizens think it's a good idea, then it will pass. More likely, when citizens learn what the Governor and the majority of Legislators are up to, they will overturn the law.
The Federal government, in regards to illegal immigration, may have left the doors open, but Oregon is putting out the welcome mat.
by Elizabeth Van Staaveren
In 2007, when the events of 9/11 and the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission were fresh in the public mind, Governor Kulongoski issued an Executive Order calling for stricter requirements for issuance of driver licenses. He also called upon the Legislature to enact legislation giving the requirements statutory authority.
In our own state, abuses on a significant scale had already been discovered in the sale of fraudulent driver licenses to out-of-state illegal aliens. "It appears that criminal organizations ... are using Oregon's permissive standards in order to assist persons to illegally obtain" licenses, Governor Kulongoski’s order explained.
In February 2008, a new Oregon driver’s license law was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in both chambers of the Legislature. It required driver's license applicants to prove U.S. citizenship or legal residence. The law has worked well and citizens have had the security of knowing that illegal aliens and any criminals among them could not easily use Oregon as a source for falsifying their identity.
Why abandon this security in an increasingly dangerous world? It was very irresponsible of Gov. John Kitzhaber to yield to the pleas and demands of illegal alien advocates and actually sponsor a group of them to fashion SB 833 behind closed doors without allowing any input from citizens who represent the public interest. It was not only irresponsible but dangerous, because among the illegal aliens there are many who drink and drive recklessly and have killed or maimed innumerable innocent citizens in road crashes. Furthermore, the deadly drug trade flourishes in Oregon because illegal aliens are either directly involved themselves or can be forced by drug lords to aid them. Even more formidable are the international terrorists who take advantage of weak state driver license laws to embed themselves into a community and hide their massively crippling plans.
Citizenship is meaningless if illegal immigrants are allowed to enter and remain in this country encouraged and unchallenged. SB 833 accommodates and legitimizes illegal aliens, thus tarnishing the value of U.S. citizenship and saying to the world: citizenship matters little or not at all -- anyone can come here any time, and settle.
Already wages are depressed because of the volume of illegal immigration. Our less-educated citizens have to compete for jobs against illegal aliens who will work for a pittance and dare not protest working conditions to an employer. Citizens are losing out and many remain unemployed for long periods, a devastating situation for them, while they watch illegal aliens working at every construction site, in landscaping, agriculture, hotels, restaurants, and various other places.
A recent Gallup poll showed that more than 100 million people worldwide dream of a life in the U.S., and would come here if they could. The U.S. is the no. 1 desired destination for potential migrants. Of course we cannot admit all of them. Immigration laws are essential and must be enforced; otherwise the U.S. is on a disastrous path to overpopulation and chaos. Extending driver licenses to illegal aliens will only expedite the disaster.
This particular bill, SB 833, has been loosely written to allow many crucial decisions to be made by the DMV, an agency which is under political pressure from any Governor in office at the time. As the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association stated in their testimony on SB 833, a driver privilege card should be “very clearly different from the current Oregon Identification Card and Oregon Drivers License. While the current language does provide some direction, Sheriffs believe the statute should be more specific. … Some of these requirements should be statutory rather than strictly administrative.”
The Sheriffs Association also stated that they think “obtaining a driving privilege document should be a robust and rigorous process and … they should be renewed annually. Sheriffs believe a four-year term is too long. …”
Instead of spending time making life here more comfortable for illegal aliens, our legislators should assist the federal government in enforcing the immigration laws. There are many things that states can do to help.
SB 833, granting driver privileges to illegal aliens, is harmful both to Oregon and to this country. Citizens should contact their legislators and urge them to reject SB 833.
The Oregon Legislature is in a rush to pass Legislation granting driver licenses to illegal aliens in the name of public safety. David Cross explains just a few of the tragic results of that rationale. Read his moving guest opinion here. Then call all of your Legislators before the final vote on Tuesday. Go here: http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/home.htm to find out who your Legislators are, if you aren't sure.
Oregon's citizens and legal residents have, unfortunately, become the collateral damage in the Legislatures rush to heap ever more benefits on those in our country illegally. It's shameful and will, I fear, end tragically for many more Oregonians.
Oregon is at risk of demise. What was once a beautiful state full of promise and potential, has become a magnet for foreign nationals that want the option to pick and choose which laws to obey and which to ignore. When our lawmakers and those who benefit from their presence, plot and scheme to advance the agenda of people in our country illegally then our state is doomed. Law abiding, tax paying citizens will take a back seat to rallying mobs of illegal aliens demanding their rights.
I am a lifelong Oregonian and I fear for the future of my state. The culture of corruption that is ruining our neighbors to the south is now making its way to the steps of our Capitol. The rule of law is what defines a civil society. Oregon is moving away from that and moving toward failure. What a shame.
OFIR VP, Rick LaMountain, wrote a thoughtful article about the choices our Legislature is facing.
Jose Lizarraras-Chacon and his wife Maria Gonzalez-Torres want their driver licenses restored so they can continue to sell heroin. By not reporting the income she earned selling drugs, Maria was able to collect over $1,100 in welfare benefits, as well. They will need to wait a few years, however.
Read the full article here.
One has to wonder why, why would our Governor want to give driver's licenses to illegal aliens? Why are so many Legislators trying to hide the fact that there is a bill, HB 3226, "hiding in the shadows" at the Oregon Legislature? Why? I'll tell you why...
In a recent poll by the Statesman Journal, while not scientific, the views of the public were made very clear in this open poll. We must all keep our eyes wide open lest the Legislature tries to slip the bill through under the radar.
Should the Oregon Legislature reinstate driver's licenses for those who cannot prove legal presence in the United States?
Not sure 1%
Don’t care 0%
Voting is now closed: 705 votes
This comment followed the poll results regarding HB 2787, the instate tuition benefits for illegal aliens bill:
I am so astounded by the number of representatives that are willing to ignore our returning veterans but reward the children of people who snuck into this country to steal jobs away from Americans.
The media continues to sell this position as supporting people who have entered this country only to take jobs Americans don't want. I am 66 years old, I have been in the construction industry for over 40 years, I have seen the transformation of the labor force in the skilled construction trades over the last 20 years. Having worked for the state I represented the state as a construction project manager. This means that the work that was being done under my management was work that was classified prevailing wage public works. I have watched the number of English-speaking tradesmen diminish in trades such as concrete, tile installation, framing, roofing, drywall, and painting. These trades, under the prevailing wage category, pay between $30 and $60 an hour. I'm sorry, but I have a hard time believing that there are no Americans who want to earn between $30 and $60 an hour.
What's worse, is that I know as sure as God made little green apples, that many of them, perhaps even the vast majority of them, are not being paid the lawful prevailing wage. However, because they are in this country illegally it is easy for unscrupulous contractors to exploit them. In the meantime, because these contractors can underbid legitimate contractors who pay the true prevailing wage, legitimate businesses are being driven into bankruptcy.
Over the last 40 years I have watched most of America's manufacturing jobs get sent overseas. Now that there are few manufacturing jobs left that can earn a decent wage, the only blue-collar work remaining is construction and service work. Service work traditionally does not pay a living wage. Construction used to, but because of the influx of illegal immigration into the trades the wages are being driven down. So, after shipping the high paying manufacturing jobs out of the country business interests are now choosing to import Third World labor to cover those jobs that can't be shipped out of the country.
In my opinion the elected representatives that voted in favor of HB 2787, and who vote for any other bill, now or in the future, that supports illegal immigration, are committing a treasonous act.