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.
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.
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.
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.
From: The DailyAstorian
THE COLUMBIA-PACIFIC REGION’S NEWS SOURCE SINCE 1873
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:
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.
It seems the DHS cannot do enough to give benefits to aliens and help employers get cheaper labor. Now a new rule allows the wives of H-1B workers to take jobs here, along with their husbands. As David North of the Center for Immigration Studies says, there is no need for extra workers of any kind. The spouses of H-1B workers are likely not in need of a job, and even if they were, any job openings should be available to citizens first.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been described as a "stealthy delivery mechanism for policies that could not survive public scrutiny," and focuses on curtailing government at all levels. In addition, it encourages trade that would harm communities and the environment.18 Recent revelations expose the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a transnational corporate coup.13
The TPP is a multinational trade agreement, negotiated in secret meetings dominated by governments and 500 trans-national corporate interests16. Although still under negotiation, the media has virtually blacked out coverage of the TPP.8
It has been reported that former US Trade Representative Ron Kirk stated that if the people knew what was in the TPP agreement, it would raise such opposition that it could make the deal impossible to sign.6
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a fundamental component of President Obama’s continuing economic agenda. It would grant a broad range of powers to trans-national corporations based overseas. According to the New York Times:
Under the accord, still under negotiation but nearing completion, companies and investors would be empowered to challenge regulations, rules, government actions and court rulings — federal, state or local — before tribunals organized under the World Bank or the United Nations... critics, including many Democrats in Congress, argue that the planned deal widens the opening for multinationals to sue in the United States and elsewhere, giving greater priority to protecting corporate interests than promoting free trade and competition that benefits consumers.12
The TPP is the largest pending economic treaty in history and includes countries that represent more than 40 per cent of the world´s GDP. Current TPP negotiation members include the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei.13
The TPP is a "docking" agreement, which means that any country in the TPP region (e.g., China) can add themselves just by signing on.15 The TPP would be forever. Unlike domestic laws, it would have no expiration date. It could be altered only by a consensus of all signatories.20
Ongoing TPP negotiations have been conducted in secrecy since 2008 and are now in the final stages. The Obama administration is attempting to "fast-track" the treaty through Congress so that elected officials will have no ability to review or comment on provisions. Fast track is implemented by Congress passing Trade Promotion Authority, which means that Congress surrenders all rights to amend the TPP treaty and is only allowed to vote yes or no on Obama’s final deal.9
Some of the more concerning aspects of the TPP are discussed below.
The US Constitution gives Congress exclusive authority over immigration, immigrants, and work authorizations. Yet fast-track trade legislation essentially relinquishes that authority to the President.
NumbersUSA has pointed out that as a result of fast-track trade authority on the TPP, any President could much more easily expand guest worker programs without public debate. Indeed, that occurred under President Bush during five years of fast-track authority.17 As a result, in 2003, Congress objected to President Bush including immigration in trade agreements with a resolution that began:
Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that
(1) trade agreements are not the appropriate vehicle for enacting immigration-related laws or modifying current immigration policy; and
(2) future trade agreements to which the United States is a party and the legislation implementing the agreements should not contain immigration-related provisions.17
The Hill recently reported that:
TPP's provisions are largely secret but, according to Curtis Ellis of the American Jobs Alliance, the U.S. Trade Representative revealed that "temporary entry" guest worker visas are a "key feature" of the pact. Ellis said that Obama Administration previously used the U.S.-South Korea trade pact to expand the length of time a L-1 visa holder can work in the U.S. That pact is viewed as a model for negotiating the TPP.17
As a result of these concerns, NumbersUSA sent notices to members of Congress reading in part:
Despite a U.S. labor force participation rate that is at its lowest level since 1978, President Obama wants to use the TPP to further reduce the jobs available to U.S. workers and instead reserve certain jobs for foreign workers under the agreement. It is indefensible that Congress would now consider surrendering even more of its authority over immigration to this President in order to fast track a trade agreement that will harm American workers, and the text of which Congress has not even seen.17
In an analysis of the leaked TPP “Investment” chapter13, Public Citizen observes that:
The leaked text would empower foreign firms to directly “sue” signatory governments in extrajudicial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals over domestic policies that apply equally to domestic and foreign firms that foreign firms claim violate their new substantive investor rights. There they could demand taxpayer compensation for domestic financial, health, environmental, land use and other policies and government actions they claim undermine TPP foreign investor privileges, such as the “right” to a regulatory framework that conforms to their “expectations.”19
Thus, the TPP would elevate foreign-owned corporations to the same status as sovereign governments. These corporations would be able to challenge in foreign tribunals any environmental laws and regulations that they deemed a threat to their profitability. For example, provisions would disadvantage organic farmers and those who adopt more environmentally-sound farming practices.18
TPP will limit GMO food labeling and will allow the import of foods and goods that do not meet US safe standards.20 As US News reports:
Many jurisdictions have policies to promote opportunity and ameliorate the severity of market forces. These include minimum wage laws, laws requiring employers to offer health insurance, regulations covering product safety, work-place safety, environmental protection, and more. All of these protections are at risk under the TPP. For example, the pact would prevent communities from deciding whether or not they want fracking in their area.18
The TPP would extend copyright beyond the international 50 year standard after an author’s death by an additional 20 years, thus effectively prohibiting works from entering the public domain.3
Article 16 of the TPP wants signatories to find legal incentives to strong-arm ISPs into privately enforcing TPP copyright rules. The result could be arbitrary filtering of content, complete blockage of websites, and disclosure of ISP customer identities.3
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has expressed serious concern that the TPP will:
- Place Greater Liability on Internet Intermediaries, as noted above.
- Compel signatory nations to enact laws banning circumvention of digital locks on movies on DVDs, video games, and players, and for embedded software.
- Create New Threats for Journalists and Whistleblowers.
- Enact a "Three-Step Test" Language That Puts Restrictions on Fair Use.
- Adopt Criminal Sanctions: Adopt criminal sanctions for copyright infringement that is done without a commercial motivation.1
The EFF notes that:
TPP raises significant concerns about citizens’ freedom of expression, due process, innovation, the future of the Internet’s global infrastructure, and the right of sovereign nations to develop policies and laws that best meet their domestic priorities. In sum, the TPP puts at risk some of the most fundamental rights that enable access to knowledge for the world’s citizens."1
Critics of the TPP say it would result in increased drug prices and could give surgeons patent protection for their procedures.14
Corporate tribunals override national sovereignty
A TPP leaked document made public by Wikileaks reveals that:
Under the accord, still under negotiation but nearing completion, companies and investors would be empowered to challenge regulations, rules, government actions and court rulings -- federal, state or local -- before tribunals organized under the World Bank or the United Nations.13
The Huffington Post emphasizes the point:
Let that sink in for a moment: "[C]ompanies and investors would be empowered to challenge regulations, rules, government actions and court rulings -- federal, state or local -- before tribunals...." And they can collect not just for lost property or seized assets; they can collect if laws or regulations interfere with these giant companies' ability to collect what they claim are "expected future profits."16
The New York Times observes:
In all, according to Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, about 9,000 foreign-owned firms operating in the United States would be empowered to bring cases against governments here. Those are as diverse as timber and mining companies in Australia and investment conglomerates from China whose subsidiaries in Trans-Pacific Partnership countries like Vietnam and New Zealand also have ventures in the United States.
More than 18,000 companies based in the United States would gain new powers to go after the other 11 countries in the accord…
Under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a member nation would be forbidden from favoring “goods produced in its territory.”14
This is really troubling,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the Senate’s No. 3 Democrat. “It seems to indicate that savvy, deep-pocketed foreign conglomerates could challenge a broad range of laws we pass at every level of government, such as made-in-America laws or anti-tobacco laws. I think people on both sides of the aisle will have trouble with this.”14
From what we now know, the Trans-Pacific Partnership represents a distinct and significant threat to national sovereignty and the ability of any member nation – including the United States – to regulate its trade, intellectual property, environment, and immigration.
Most troubling is what we don’t yet know about the secretive TPP.
In the interests of America and all Americans, Congress is obligated to deny fast-track TPA authority on the TPP and to reject the TPP in its entirety.
The author, Fred Elbel, is the OFIR webmaster and director of Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform.
1. What is TPP, Electronic Frontier Foundation
2. What Is Wrong With the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Electronic Frontier Foundation, August 21, 2012 - one-page overview
3. What is the TPP, and why should you care?, Naked Security, August 28, 2012
4. Obama secretly signing away U.S. sovereignty, WorldNetDaily, October 16, 2013
5. Thanks to WikiLeaks, we see just how bad TPP trade deal is for regular people, The Guardian, November 13, 2013
6. Trash the TPP: Why It's Time to Revolt Against the Worst "Trade Agreement" in History, Occupy.com, July 19, 2013
7. Leaked TPP Intellectual Property Chapter from May 2014, Electronic Frontier Foundation, May 2014
8. Media Leave Viewers In The Dark About Trans-Pacific Partnership, Media Matters, February 9, 2014
9. Immigration, Outsourcing And Now Fast-Tracking TP - When Will GOP Stand Up For Americans?, Patrick J. Buchanan, VDare, January 31, 2015
Following the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, we threw open America’s doors to a flood of immigrants, legal and illegal. Some 40-50 million have poured in, an unprecedented expansion of the labor force.
Thus, “free-trade” Republicans and their collaborators in the Business Roundtable and U.S. Chamber of Commerce decided to drop the U.S. labor force into a worldwide labor pool where the average wage was but a tiny fraction of an American living wage.
Like NAFTA and GATT, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is an enabling act for multinationals to move freely to where it is cheapest to produce while securing access to where it is most profitable to sell.
10. Obama's next immigration scam - Guest workers get free pass in so-called free-trade TPP agreement, World Net Daily, March 14, 2015
11. Democrats Blast Obama’s Secret Trade Negotiations, Limits To Growth, March 18, 2015
12. Trans-Pacific Partnership Seen as Door for Foreign Suits Against U.S., New York Times, March 25, 2015
13. Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) - Investment Chapter, Wikileaks, March 25, 2015
Read the full Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) - Investment Chapter, Wikileaks, March 25, 2015
The TPP Investment Chapter is dated 20 January 2015. The document is classified and supposed to be kept secret for four years after the entry into force of the TPP agreement or, if no agreement is reached, for four years from the close of the negotiations.
Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor said: "The TPP has developed in secret an unaccountable supranational court for multinationals to sue states. This system is a challenge to parliamentary and judicial sovereignty. Similar tribunals have already been shown to chill the adoption of sane environmental protection, public health and public transport policies."
Current TPP negotiation member states are the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei. The TPP is the largest economic treaty in history, including countries that represent more than 40 per cent of the world´s GDP.
14. Trans-Pacific Partnership Seen as Door for Foreign Suits Against U.S,, The Guardian, March 25, 2015
15. Corporate Sovereignty Provisions Of TPP Agreement Would Massively Undermine Government Sovereignty, TechDirt, March 26, 2015
16. Now We Know Why Huge TPP Trade Deal Is Kept Secret From the Public, Huffington Post, March 27, 2015
17. We join unions, environmentalists and more in broad coalition against threat of anti-worker trade bill, NumbersUSA, April 14, 2015
18. Obama's Pacific Trade Deal Is No Deal At All - These trade negotiations are about corporations seeking to prevent competition, U.S. News and World Report, April 19, 2015
19. Analysis of Leaked Trans-Pacific Partnership Investment Text, Public Citizen, March 25, 2015
21 Stop The TPP, Communications Workers of America
Sheriff Tom Bergin worked diligently to secure the endorsement of the Sheriff's of Oregon PAC for the Measure 88 campaign. Sheriff Bergin is a great friend of OFIR's and we salute his success.
Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin was named Sheriff of the Year by the Western States Sheriffs' Association at its annual conference last week in Nevada.
Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin was named Sheriff of the Year by the Western States Sheriffs’ Association at its annual conference last week in Nevada.
The association includes sheriffs from 15 western states, including Oregon, Washington to North and South Dakota and down to California and Texas.
Sheriffs in the association receive training related to issues such as use of force, officer video cameras and numerous other court decisions.
In addition, the sheriffs work on immigration issues, conducting meetings with federal officials related to travel management plans on national and state lands and managing forests and federal law enforcement expansion authority, according to the association.
Bergin is on several committees and is the state representative for Oregon. He is also involved with legislative issues both in Oregon and at the federal level.
Western State President Sheriff Dave Brown presented the award to Sheriff Bergin.
“I am truly honored to receive this award. There are many deserving sheriffs but to be singled out as Sheriff of the Year for WSSA is a humbling experience that I will never forget and (will) treasure forever,” Bergin said at the ceremony.
Bergin is in his third term as Clatsop County sheriff and has been in law enforcement for almost 30 years, all of which he has served in Clatsop County.
Read the article here.