OFIR Blog

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.

Lars Larson's open letter to Jeb Bush

The current debate on border security centers around fencing and walls. Other security measures are also being proposed, such as advanced electronic surveillance technology, advocated by Glenn Spencer of American Border Patrol.  In a letter addressed to presidential candidate Jeb Bush, Northwest talk show host Lars Larson makes a great case for strong fences as used successfully in Israel. 

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An open letter to Jeb Bush, from Lars Larson

August 27, 2015

In a country that has seen really great leaders, you bring new meaning to “bush league”.

Let me be specific in my criticism beginning with your latest statement on our border invasion.

“You can’t build a wall and solve this problem…it’s  not practical, and it’s not conservative. I don’t think we should spend hundreds of billions of dollars with an impractical solution.” (Breitbart 26 August, 2015)  Jeb….can I call you Jeb? I understand you’re trying to avoid unfortunate connections to the B word.  

Not only can we build a wall, we must build a wall. It’s feasible, fair and fiscally responsible. Let me explain it to you in simple terms since you either lack the information or are allowing your establishment GOP inclinations override common sense for those in our party who cash in big time on all that cheap labor. 

Israel has done it. If a tiny country that is our greatest ally can get it done, please explain to me why a man seeking the most powerful office in the world starts off by declaring what we “can’t” do?

I’ve been pushing this idea since my second visit to Israel in 2005 when I got the chance to see most of their wall from a helicopter. Yet today I hear almost no mention of it by American politicians, even though I’ve mentioned it to dozens of them and have talked about it extensively on my show.

Here’s how quickly Israel put up a barrier against real terrorists:

(Wiki) In 2000, Prime Minister Ehud Barak approved financing of a 74 km (46 mi) fence between the Wadi Ara region and Latrun.[34] In 2001, a grass roots organization called “Fence for Life – The Public Movement for The Security Fence” urged the government to build a fence to separate the Palestinian territories from Israeli population centers. By 2003, 180 km (112 mi) had been completed and in 2004, Israel started the southern part of the barrier. By 2006, 362 km (224.9 mi) of the barrier had been completed, 88 km (54.7 mi) was under construction. By 2012, 440 km (273.4 mi) (62%) of the barrier had been completed, 57 km (35.4 mi) (8%) was under construction.

Unfortunately nearly every Democrat Party member, aided and abetted by “you can’t build a wall” establishment Republicans like you, declare that illegal aliens will just “buy taller ladders”. It’s a simplistic, stupid argument not backed up by facts, which I understand coming from Ds, but why from YOU?

Before I get to the costs and benefits, let’s talk about what it did for a country like Israel facing hundreds killed every year by determined terrorists.

(Wiki) “The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Israel Security Agency report that in 2002, there were 452 fatalities from terrorist attacks. Before the completion of the first continuous segment (July 2003) from the beginning of the Second Intifada, 73 Palestinian suicide bombings were carried out from the West Bank, killing 293 Israelis and injuring over 1,900. After the completion of the first continuous segment through the end of 2006, there were only 12 attacks based in the West Bank, killing 64 people and wounding 445.[5] Terrorist attacks declined in 2007[5] and 2008[42] to 9 in 2010.[43]

 If a fence is that affective against terrorists, how do you think it will work against low skilled workers (“doing the jobs Americans won’t do” to quote the canard used by RINO politicians)?

You have expressed concern that in some cases, a barrier would leave people separated in some communities and impede economic activity. The same was true in Israel but I’ve seen the security gates that allow law abiding Palestinians to cross (in one specific example I remember from my visit ten years ago, a farmer who lived on the West Bank of the Jordan who would cross regularly to work his olive orchards on his land on the other side of the fence). A fence lets both sides decide who comes in legitimately

Now about the cost: Israel has a barrier 422 miles long (680 Kilometers) that cost about $2M per Kilometer. Call it 1.3 billion dollars. America needs a barrier roughly five times a long. Hundreds of miles of the fence have already been built, but even assuming we had to build 2,000 miles (3,000  km) of brand new barrier, that would cost about $6B. Now assume that because it’s built by our oh-so-efficient government, let’s double the cost (call it $12B) and then because it would be constructed with Davis Bacon union labor, add 50%. Round it up to $20B.

For 2.5% of the great Barack Obama’s 2009 “stimulus” we could have it built. Put it out to bid to be started in five different locations by five different companies and get it done in less than the 8 years it took the Israelis.  Hell, hire both Halliburton and Bechtel to keep the left and right happy here.

What does America get for this expenditure of $20B (one half of one percent of the current federal budget or one tenth of one percent of the federal budget over the five years such a project might take)?  

Let me get to that right after I dispense with the problem no American politician (Congressmen King and Gohmert and the great Sen Jeff Sessions excepted) has been able to tackle.

Frankly, it’s easy (remember that Gov. “Can’t”).

Require every American company e-verify its entire workforce. It’s illegal to employ no green card illegals, but for starters, use Iowa Congressman Steve King’s idea: if you’re not a legal worker, your wages are not deductible at tax time. Raids and criminal charges take forever. The IRS decree would act instantly on every company.

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Read the rest of the article online at: http://larslarson.com/an-open-letter-to-jeb-bush/

Wong does not make a birthright for illegal aliens

Birthright citizenship, the 14th Amendment, anchor babies and illegal immigration are dominating the news.  

Donald Trump has opened the discussion even more when he called for the denial of automatic citizenship for anchor babies.  Even Jeb Bush, an open border and amnesty advocate, has denounced the practice.

The article below by Colin McNickle is an insightful look into the issue.  All OFIR members should read the article and learn what’s true and what’s not true about birthright citizenship.

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Wong does not make a birthright for illegal aliens

By Colin McNickle, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)

 August 24, 2015
 
The firestorm that has erupted anew over "birthright citizenship" exposes the manifest dangers of constitutional ignorance. Not Donald Trump's but that of his critics who have shown remarkable reading incomprehension regarding the Constitution and the Supreme Court case they so regularly cite in defense of their position.

A diverse chattering class of liberals, "progressives," conservatives and even, remarkably, libertarians pounced on Mr. Trump when he said that the children of illegal aliens born in the United States are not, under the 14th Amendment, automatically citizens of the United States.

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, for one, would have none of that. "If you are born here, you're an American, period," he said, sparring with Trump, one of the gaggle of Republican presidential contenders. Later, Mr. O'Reilly, as have many others, cited United States v. Wong Kim Ark, decided by the Supreme Court in 1898.

As the Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court notes, at issue in Wong was the citizenship status of those of Chinese descent. An 1882 law already had barred Chinese from becoming naturalized citizens; "exclusionists" sought to bar them from birthright citizenship as well (based on the nationality of their parents and not the place of their birth).

Wong Kim Ark was born to Chinese parents in San Francisco in 1873. But, later, following a trip to China, he was denied readmission to the United States. "The government argued that Wong Kim Ark was not a citizen because his Chinese parents made him subject to the emperor of China."

The logic was tortured. Nonetheless, its essence, properly employed, goes to the heart of the 14th Amendment:

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof (emphasis added), are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

The high court, citing not only common law but the 14th Amendment, ruled 6-2 that citizenship was guaranteed to all persons born in the United States, regardless of their heritage.

So, case closed, right? The Supreme Court ruled birthright citizenship is the law of the land for all, right? The Donald Trump argument is populist pap and for naught, right?
Well, not exactly.

The Wong case involved the child of legal resident aliens. "The Supreme Court has never ruled directly on the question of birthright citizenship for the children of illegal aliens," wrote Lino A. Graglia, a University of Texas law professor, in a seminal 2010 white paper.

And illegal aliens clearly are subject to the jurisdiction of the country whence they came.

But what about the common law component of the court's Wong decision?

"The court recognized that even a rule based on soil and physical presence could not rationally be applied to grant birthright citizenship to persons whose presence in a country was not only without the government's consent but in violation of the law,"

Professor Graglia wrote.  A number of constitutional scholars -- from Graglia, to Yale law professor Peter Schuck, to Gerald Posner -- say Congress can and should act -- without repealing or amending the 14th Amendment -- to end the absurdity of constitutionally warrantless birthright citizenship for illegal aliens, citizenship that's wholly unsupported in case law.

After all, the Constitution "should not be interpreted to require an absurdity," Graglia concluded. And it need not be. Because it doesn't.

Colin McNickle is Trib Total Media's director of editorial pages.

State Rep. Mike Nearman speaks out

Published in the Aug. 8 edition of the Oregon Catalyst, State Rep. Mike Nearman, also an OFIR Board member calls out the Oregon Attorney General for her work in creating the most confusing ballot title ever for the Official English initiative.

The language has been challenged to the Supreme Court.  We'll see what the Supreme Court does with it.  Please stand by.
 

The Political Persecution of Dinesh D’Souza

Blog post by Fred Elbel on July 16, 2015

I came across a nearly unbelievable news item,  the article The Political Persecution of Dinesh D’Souza by Pamela Gellar, Breitbart, July 15, 2015. Even if I didn't know who Dinesh D'Souza is, the article would send shivers down my spine. But I do know who he is. 

I wish, sometimes, I were a low-information voter, content to watch sitcom reruns and vote the party line. Ignorance is bliss, as they say.  But, I'm not a low-information voter, which makes the news article even more troubling.

Dinesh D'Souza's movie, “America, Imagine a World Without Her” was co-produced by Gerald Molen, Academy-award winning producer of "Schindler's List". I wrote a review of the movie which states in part:

“America, Imagine a World Without Her” asks us to imagine that George Washington had been killed by a sniper's bullet. He asks us to "imagine the unimaginable - what would the world be like if America did not exist?" The movie asks: would the world suffer the loss of a great nation or would it a better place without an imperialist, racist nation?

D'Souza emphasizes that the shaming of America is a decades-old orchestrated strategy, originating with radical leftist Saul Alinsky who delineated his tactics in the book, "Rules for Radicals". Radical leftists have a transformative agenda for America. Yet to transform America - as promised by Barack Obama - it first must be deconstructed. D'Souza points out that Obama did not create this deconstructionist agenda - rather, he was created by it.
 
D'Souza asks "When will this stop?" and tells us "It will stop when we make it stop." The restoration of America must begin with the American people themselves.
 
In "America, Imagine a World Without Her,” D'Souza reintroduces Americans to their country and a positive history which has been buried - a history of which they can be proud. He states that revisionist history must end, saying, "We are going to start telling the true story of America.” It is a history of which Americans - and the world - should be proud.

He also wrote a number of books, including the best-selling books,The Roots of Obama’s Rage, which was described as the most influential political book of the year, and America: Imagine a World without Her - a rebuttal of the progressive shame narrative of American history.

D'Souza produced the movie "2016: Obama's America", in which he asks (in 2012), "If Obama wins a second term, where will we be in 2016?" Now we know.

D'Souza apparently ticked off the wrong powerful leftist elites with his exposes.

He admittedly made a mistake.  On May 20, 2014, D'Souza pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court to a charge of using "straw donors" to make political campaign donations. He was sentenced to eight months in a halfway house, five years probation, and a $30,000 fine. But It doesn't end there. He's now been sentenced to five years of "therapeutic counseling".

From the article Fox News: Fed Judge Orders Psych Counseling For D'Souza, Fox News, July 15, 2015:

A federal judge has ordered Dinesh D’Souza to undergo ongoing psychological counseling, despite two psychologists already clearing him.

U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman told D’Souza that he considers his violation of federal campaign finance laws to be evidence of a psychological problem and ordered further counseling.

D’Souza said the judge already ordered him to complete eight months of counseling and once he finished, the judge said it wasn’t adequate.

D’Souza added that a prominent New York psychiatrist also “certified that he was perfectly normal” and provided a written statement to the court concluding there was no need to continue the consultation.

But Berman, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton, overruled the judgment of the two licensed psychologists.

Berman emphasized that D'Souza “to do eight hours each week for the entire five years he’s on probation and not just the eight months he was confined to a halfway house.” That's 1.6 hours every weekday for the next five years. Even mass murderers aren't sentenced to that much therapy, which in this case, amounts to court-imposed brainwashing.

Geller writes in her article The Political Persecution of Dinesh D’Souza:

...The idea that Dinesh D’Souza would be hounded and punished for something that Democrats do every day – that’s the point...

The idea that Dinesh would have to undergo psychological counseling is Maoist. It’s what Mao Zedong did to intellectuals and political dissidents in China. And as could have been predicted by anyone who is aware of how totalitarians have used psychology as a weapon, the psychological counseling hasn’t gone well. On Monday, Judge Berman “read aloud a report from a court-appointed psychologist who called D’Souza ‘arrogant’ and ‘intolerant of others’ feelings.’”...

Since when did being “arrogant and intolerant” – that according to a court-appointed psychologist – become a crime? The psychologist also claimed that “the client tends to deny problems and isn’t very introspective.” If that were a crime, Barack Obama should be serving a life sentence. If being arrogant and intolerant were a crime, you’d have to arrest the entire mainstream media.

Where is the outcry? Where is America? I don’t care if the enemedia isn’t writing about it. Where are decent Americans? It’s chilling. If Dinesh D’Souza is psychologically damaged in some serious way, so are millions of conservative Americans. And that’s the insidious point of his “therapeutic counseling.”

The persecution of Dinesh D’Souza is the latest manifestation of a disturbing new trend in American politics...

The use of the legal system to persecute political opponents is a hallmark of authoritarian regimes. This is how low the Obama administration has sunk...

Geller is spot-on. And, by the way, so is D'Souza.

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Fred Elbel is Director of the Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform - CAIRCO

Sanctuary Cities: No Peace And No Justice

by Michael Cutler - former INS Special Agent                                                                                                           Published in the Daily Caller July 10, 2015

The mere idea of providing illegal aliens with “protection” from federal law enforcement agents flies in the face of reason and commonsense.

Immigration enforcement personnel are charged with enforcing our immigration laws that were enacted to prevent the entry and continued presence of aliens whose presence in our country would be harmful or dangerous to America and Americans.  Shielding such aliens from detection by law enforcement officers turns logic on its head and makes it crystal clear that for all too many politicians on the local, state and federal level, that Americans who are injured or killed are simply to be written off as “collateral damage!”
 
This is the issue that I have focused on for my commentary today.
 
That the horrific death of Kathryn Steinle could have been prevented if a number of "public servants” had taken their oaths of office and their responsibilities seriously and worked to make certain that a convicted felon who not only had no lawful right to be in the United States, but whose presence in the United States represented a felony, is unfathomable.
 
Additionally, while this specific crime has captured the attention of the media- largely because one presidential candidate, Donald Trump, had the chutzpah to dare speak openly and unequivocally about the impact of the failure of our nation’s leaders to enforce our immigration laws, this sort of crime occurs virtually each and every day and, indeed, often many times each day.
 
While Trump’s use of language was not nuanced and was not artful, it certainly grabbed everyone’s attention.
 
Now that the topic has landed on the front page of just about every newspaper in the United States and has become the lead story in the mainstream media, we must not allow this issue to fade into the background as, undoubtedly new issues percolate in the realm of journalism.  We must seize the opportunities this provides to have an honest and candid conversation and not allow our politicians to attempt to offer the usual solutions that are not really solutions to simply create illusions that this issue is being dealt with so that the true dangers inherent in the failures of the immigration system will be put aside and quickly forgotten. 
 
What is now needed, more than new laws is more agents, more resources and a mandate that our federal government actually enforce the laws that are on the books right now!
 
Within the past few days, Hillary Clinton stated that there are those who don’t want to provide a "pathway to citizenship for immigrants.”  
 
That pathway to U.S. citizenship is already a part and parcel of our already existing Immigration and Nationality Act and, each year, well over one-half million lawful immigrants are granted United States citizenship via the naturalization process.  What Clinton is really advocating through her deceptive and intentionally misleading claim is that illegal aliens should be provided with United States citizenship.  These are foreign national who have no inherent right to be present in the United States.  They either evaded the vital inspections process conducted by Customs and Border Protection Inspectors at ports of entry or violated the terms of their admission after they were admitted into the United States.  Yet Clinton and other politicians are adamant that these aliens should be granted the highest honor and, indeed, the “Keys to the Kingdom” to such foreign nationals.
 
While criticizing any American who would oppose such lunacy she is attempting to vilify anyone who would express opposition to her plan to violate commonsense and the 9/11 Commission.  
 
In her parallel universe, those of us who want our immigration laws enforced don’t want to provide illegal aliens with a pathway to United States citizenship are unfair and xenophobic.  I would love her to find any country on this planet that would provide citizenship to illegal aliens.  This is the equivalent of providing a burglar with the key to the front door of the house he had broken into!
 
Politicians from both sides of the political aisle- “Demoncrats” and “Repugnantcans” alike, who want to provide illegal aliens with lawful status which is only one notch lower than citizenship.  For them, it would certainly seem that our immigration laws, which were enacted to protect American lives and the livelihoods of American are an impediment to their political goals.


 

Help citizens or illegal aliens?

 
All students should have an opportunity to attend college, says Pamela Prosise in her op-ed in the Statesman Journal, June 30. She advocates extending to illegal aliens the benefit of publicly-funded tuition assistance  (Oregon Opportunity Grants), as called for in Senate Bill 932 now pending in the Legislature.
 
Note that Ms. Prosise is a retired teacher of English to students who come into the school system not speaking English. Teachers of English language learners, along with many other persons in the educational system, have a vested interest in a large supply of foreign students who need English-language instruction.  Teachers’ unions and associated unions made large contributions to Yes on Oregon Safe Roads, the political action group (SOS Orestar i.d. no.16889) supporting Measure 88 which would have extended the benefit of official driver cards to illegal aliens. See these amounts given in 2014 to the YES on Oregon Safe Roads campaign:
 
American Federation of Teachers – Oregon Issue PAC (5486) - $5,000 
Oregon AFL-CIO - $703
Oregon AFSCME Council (75) - $12,500
School Employees Exercising Democracy (249) - $20,000 
SEIU Local 503 - $100,000
SEIU Local 49 Committee on Political Education (4213) -  $20,000
 
To see all contribution and expense records for the Yes on Oregon Safe Roads campaign, click here. The day-by-day reports of financial transactions (receipts and expenditures) of YOSR show names of contributors and amounts they have contributed.  A summary record is available here; to see 2014 summary, click on the “Prev” link.
 
You can view here the 2014 summary records for the Protect Oregon Driver Licenses campaign. Detail of contributions is here.
 
Ms. Prosise disdains use of the term illegal alien, which is the correct legal term defining persons who are present in this country in violation of U.S. immigration laws, usually by sneaking across borders via clandestine means, or knowingly overstaying the allotted time of their visas. 
 
In her arguments for extending tax-paid tuition assistance to illegal alien students, Ms. Prosise is so narrowly focused that she does not see the consequences of open borders.  She apparently believes national boundaries are unnecessary, undesirable, and we should not attempt to maintain them.
 
She acknowledges no difference between citizens and non-citizens, nor between legal immigrants and illegal immigrants.
 
She is blind to the history of this country which was built by mostly law-abiding, patriotic citizens, many of whom gave their lives in wars to establish and maintain the country.  For over two  centuries, honesty and fair play characterized the lives of most citizens, resulting in a prosperous country with political freedom and a good quality of life -- until recent decades when massive waves of illegal and legal immigration began to destabilize society here. We now see large multinational business corporations increasing their political power, thriving on the cheap labor provided by high levels of immigration. Also, many smaller businesses cheat Americans by encouraging illegal immigration and profiting from the depressed wages that follow.
 
The path Ms. Prosise advocates would be disastrous for Oregon and this country.  Most citizens understand this instinctively.  They were not “misled” by the Referendum on driver licenses for illegal aliens.  They voted for their own interests, and for the preservation of our country.  The purpose of immigration laws is to protect the interests of citizens. All advanced countries have immigration laws, and those that don’t enforce their immigration laws face ever-increasing chaos.
 

Sheriff Arpaio speaks at grassroots rally in Salem

From the steps of the Oregon State Capitol, hundreds of enthusiastic grassroots activists listened to Sheriff Arpaio, who hails from Maricopa County, Arizona.

Many other speakers addressed many topics:  the legislative mis-use of the emergency clause, government transparency, 2nd amendment rights, voter fraud, limited taxation, immigration and 2 new initiatives being advanced and much more throughout the sweltering afternoon.

A disruptive, rude and obnoxious crowd across the street used bull horns, whistles and chants to disrupt the rally - but to no avail.

View photos of the rally with Sheriff Joe.

 

 

Facebook founder promotes illegal immigration

 
Facebook, the social media program, is wildly popular, but how many users know that the billionaire head of the company that runs Facebook is a leading promoter and cheerleader for illegal immigration?  Maybe there are other programs that could be used instead of Facebook?
 
Mark Zuckerberg, like some other illegal alien cheerleaders, depends on the stability and honesty of U.S. institutions to protect his business and his wealth, while undermining these institutions with his campaign on behalf of illegal aliens.
 
Here, Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, discusses the illogic of Zuckerberg’s actions and the damage Zuckerberg is doing to this country.
 
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Zuckerberg Continues To Promote, Encourage And Reward Illegal Immigration
 
June 18, 2015, By Dan Stein, President, Federation for American Immigration Reform
 
Mark Zuckerberg and his wife are giving $5 million to something called “TheDREAM.US” scholarship fund. This is pocket change to Zuckerberg, but his decision to give to a fund that gives only to illegal aliens underscores everything that’s wrong with Zuckerberg’s approach.
 
To get the money, you must have broken the law and be here in violation of federal law. To quality you must be a citizen of a country other than the United States. To qualify, your parents must have evaded detection and deportation over several years. To qualify, you cannot be someone patiently waiting outside the U.S. and respecting our borders and law.  You must be a line-jumper and law breaker whose parents are scamming the system and taxpayer.
 
The Facebook founder says “We ought to welcome smart and hardworking young people from every nation, and to help everyone in our society achieve their (sic) full potential.”
 
Isn’t it possible someone could reach their full potential in their home country – the country where the person is regarded as a citizen? What is accomplished by explicitly discriminating against American citizens?
 
Zuckerberg himself relies upon respect for law in his own personal and commercial affairs. He benefits by living within a civil society in which the rule of law prevails. All his property relies upon civil protections that ensure title to his land, stock and vast wealth is protected from theft.
 
Yet Zuckerberg thumbs his nose at the borders, and chooses to encourage and reward lawbreaking at the expense of our common understandings of fair play and justice in order to curry favor with a political constituency and make his “cheap labor” grab appear high-minded. What gives him the right to pick and choose and make those moral judgments for the rest of us.
 
For disadvantaged Americans who can trace through their ancestry generations of sacrifice and suffering to build this nation, this kind of arrogance is a bitter pill to swallow.
 
 
 

Ann Coulter questions media's news coverage of immigration

Read Ann Coulter's letter in the Human Events publication and learn why we never seem to hear any bad news about immigrants.  Ann cuts right to the heart of it.
 

Not everything is an emergency

Please read the Guest Column written by Oregon Senator Betsy Johnson, (D–Scappoose) that appeared in the Daily Astorian newspaper.

Senator Johnson exposes the misuse of the “emergency clause” by the Oregon Legislature.  She uses the vote on Measure 88 as the prime example of why bills should not have an emergency clause unless there is a true emergency.

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Guest Column: Not everything is an emergency

By State Sen. Betsy Johnson

Published: May 21, 2015

Any law with an emergency clause is protected from the people’s veto power.

The Oregon Legislature is beginning to resemble a 9-1-1 call center. Almost everything is an emergency.

Increasingly these are the words you find in the House and Senate bills coming out of the Legislature: “An emergency is declared to exist, and this act takes effect on its passage.”

Any law with an emergency clause is protected from the people’s veto power. Voters cannot challenge it through the referendum process.

You might be surprised what constitutes an emergency. In this session so far, it includes bills like “banning the box,” which makes it unlawful for employers to ask job applicants to check a box if they’ve been convicted of a felony. Why would ex-felons’ job hunts constitute an emergency? There are many non-felons who endure extended job searches.

Or how about the “motor voter” law, HB 2177, which automatically registers licensed drivers to vote. What kind of an emergency exists that requires drivers to be automatically registered to vote?

Then there’s the recently approved gun law, SB 941, which requires licensed gun dealers to conduct background checks for private sales of legal firearms. (If you buy or sell on the black market, you’re exempt from this emergency.)

Soon to come is SB 822, an emergency bill requested by criminal defense attorneys, who want grand jury proceedings tape-recorded. Criminal defense attorneys, apparently, can’t wait to find out the identities of victims and witnesses.

At the rate we’re going, all bills will be deemed emergency acts. It will become routine. Perhaps that’s the point. If citizens complain that a controversial bill has been labeled an emergency to protect it from the people’s veto power, legislators can quell any suspicion by simply saying, “Most bills have an emergency clause.”

Voters still have some constitutional protection. Tax bills, for example, cannot be enacted as an emergency.

If you’re a citizen curious about the number of bills that were passed as emergencies in the last regular session, the information may not be readily available. If you call the legislative assembly office, they may direct you to the state legislature’s website and a section called “Citizen Engagement.”

There you’ll find a 190-page document called the “2013 Summary of Legislation.” One caller I know prowled through that, read the brief descriptions and effective dates of each bill that passed, and found that about half of the roughly 300 bills listed there were emergencies.

One bill that slipped through without an emergency clause was SB 833, and its fate is a lesson in why referendum power is important.

SB 833 allowed illegal immigrants to obtain driver cards. Since it wasn’t an emergency, opponents had 90 days after the end of the legislative session to exercise the power of referendum. They collected enough signatures from qualified voters and forced SB 833 onto the November 2014 ballot. As Ballot Measure 88, voters rejected driver cards for illegal immigrants by almost a 2-to-1 margin.

The people’s veto power exists for a reason. It serves as a check on legislators who can become so focused on what happens inside the state Capitol building that they forget there’s an entire state outside the door.

We work in a grand, majestic building. It’s open to the public. But once the legislature is in session, a legislator’s time is often consumed talking to other legislators and lobbyists. We don’t always notice things like emergency clauses and whether they are really needed. Some of my bills have carried emergency clauses.

Our state’s frequent use of the emergency clause is not unique.

Former Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, concerned about similar abuse in her state, began vetoing emergency clauses on bills, leaving intact the rest of the legislation. One of her first such vetoes was an emergency clause on a bill adding porphyria to the list of disabilities for special parking privileges.

The Olympian newspaper praised her in an editorial: “The Legislature’s overuse of the emergency clause should incense the public because it takes away their right to reject laws adopted by the Legislature. Where’s the outrage?”

Oregon’s constitution also allows the governor to veto an emergency provision in new bills without affecting the rest of the bill.

Governor Kate Brown should use this power. As Secretary of State, she pushed for the “motor voter” bill, ostensibly to make it easier for more voters to exercise their right to vote.

The emergency clause does exactly the opposite.

It takes away the people’s right to vote.

Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, represents District 16, covering Clatsop and Columbia counties and parts of Multnomah, Tillamook and Washington.

The people’s veto power exists for a reason.

http://www.dailyastorian.com/columns/20150521/guest-column-not-everythin...

From:  The DailyAstorian

THE COLUMBIA-PACIFIC REGION’S NEWS SOURCE SINCE 1873

USCIS Chief says U.S. immigration laws are unjust

Leaders of our Federal government have said some pretty eyebrow-raising things in recent years, but if there were a contest for the most shocking of all, it’d be hard to top this:

Leon Rodriguez, head of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, one of the main branches of the DHS, announced recently that the laws he swore to enforce are unjust.  We knew they weren’t being enforced adequately so maybe this is his excuse.  However, he doesn’t seem to object to receiving a comfortable salary for sitting in the seat of chief administrator of immigration services.
 
Read about this bizarre development below.
 
USCIS Chief Says U.S. Immigration Laws are Unjust; He Should Resign
By Ira Mehlman, Federation for American Immigration Reform
May 16, 2015
 
Leon Rodriguez, director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency said on Wednesday [May 13] that U.S. immigration laws are unjust and do not reflect our nation’s values. Mr. Rodriguez, like every other American, is entitled to his opinion. He should not be entitled to remain director of USCIS, however.
 
It is clear that Rodriguez assumed his current position and took his oath to uphold the laws of the United States under false pretenses. Moreover, he cannot be expected to faithfully carry out laws that, as a matter of conscience, he believes to be unjust. His only legal and ethical option is to resign his post immediately.
 
Speaking to the Catholic Legal Immigration Network in Salt Lake City, Rodriguez observed that among the laws and regulations governing U.S. immigration policy, “You will never once see the word ‘justice.’” I haven’t read through the countless volumes that make up the U.S. immigration code, but I’ll take his word for it. I seriously doubt you will find the word justice in the tax code, or any of the other voluminous sets of laws that govern and regulate how our country operates.
 
The function of the immigration code is to regulate the influx of foreign nationals to the U.S. By necessity, that entails disappointing a lot of people. Being told “no” might not feel good; but it is not necessarily an injustice.
 
Perhaps most importantly, Rodriguez’s comments represent a fundamental misunderstanding of who U.S. immigration laws are meant to serve – and he is not alone in this misperception. First and foremost they are meant to serve and protect the interests and security of the American people. Aspiring immigrants have an interest in U.S. immigration policy, but the stakeholders are American citizens: workers, taxpayers, and parents of future generations of Americans.
 
The refusal of Mr. Rodriguez and the president he serves to conscientiously enforce laws meant to protect the interests of the American people is unjust, not the laws themselves. The millions of Americans who lose jobs and wages to illegal aliens, the taxpayers who shell out about $100 billion a year to provide basic services to illegal aliens, the thousands of Americans who are victimized by criminal aliens, and future generations of Americans who will live with the social and environmental consequences of current immigration policies, could use a little justice too. But they won’t get it from Mr. Rodriguez.
 

Your letters and commentaries help spread the word

Many of us are neck deep in politics.  They call us activists - or worse.

Many of us are very informed, but prefer to stay out of the fray and simply be supportive at the ballot box.

But, the vast majority of people are uninformed voters.  And, in large part, it's because of the "low information voter" that we are in the predicament we find ourselves now.

Letters to the Editor, commentaries and opinion pieces are critical in reaching out to people who only glance at the newspaper - occassionally.  Or take a peek online once in a while.

Please read through the fantastic collection of letters written by folks inspired to simply speak up and express their frustrations!

A well written opinion piece by OFIR founder and longtime member Elizabeth VanStaaveren is a good example!

A recent commentary by OFIR member Rick LaMountain is a great place to start.

 

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