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.

So what, another Earth Day comes and goes

Oregonians for Immigration Reform was founded 16 years ago by just a handful of people that were very concerned about the impact on our environment of unfettered illegal immigration and excessive legal immigration. 

The roots of many organizations across the country working to stop illegal immigration and slow legal immigration to a more sustainable level often start with concerns about the environment and the impact of more and more people coming to the US.

OFIR has since expanded it's membership to include thousands of members across the state with those same concerns and many more, i.e. national security, terrorism, jobs, stagnant wages, over-crowded schools, crime, drugs, disease, a culture of corruption, gangs and on and on.

CAIRCO's Fred Elbel wrote of his experiences with the Sierra Club, a group that chose to ignore the impact of immigration on our fragile environment and our own quality of life.  They made that choice - for money.  He included an informative article written by Ian Smith and published in the Daily Caller that explains just how it happened.

NOTE:  The CAIRCO website is a treasure trove of information for anyone wanting to learn more about immigration.

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Yesterday was Earth Day. 

I once was a member of the Sierra Club in the mid-1990s, back when their population policy included addressing mass immigration as the root cause of US Population growth. At that time, environmentalists had a lot of common sense. 

Some environmentalists still do, but most environmental organizations today are feel-good social justice corporate profit centers. Take the Sierra Club as a case in point. They sold out to immigration political correctness to the tune of $100 million!

This excellent article by Ian Smith explains the gory details. It's a good read.

Earth Day: A Time To Remember When Tightening The Border Topped The Green Agenda, The Daily Caller, April 22, 2016.

I was a member and a director of SUSPS, which in the late 1990s fought to reinstate the Sierra Club's long-standing, sensible immigration policy:

"Since 1996, leaders of the Sierra Club have refused to admit that immigration driven, rapid U.S. population growth causes massive environmental problems. And they have refused to acknowledge the need to reduce U.S. immigration levels in order to stabilize the U.S. population and protect our natural resources. Their refusal to do what common sense says is best for the environment was a mystery for nearly a decade.

Then, on Oct. 27, 2004, the Los Angeles Times revealed the answer: David Gelbaum, a super rich donor, had demanded this position from the Sierra Club in return for huge donations! Kenneth Weiss, author of the LA Times article that broke the story, quoted what David Gelbaum said to Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope:

"I did tell Carl Pope in 1994 or 1995 that if they ever came out anti-immigration, they would never get a dollar from me."

In 1996 and again in 1998, the Club's leaders proved their loyalty to Gelbaum's position on immigration, first by enacting a policy of neutrality on immigration and then by aggressively opposing a referendum to overturn that policy. In 2000 and 2001, Gelbaum rewarded the Club with total donations to the Sierra Club Foundation exceeding $100 million. In 2004 and 2005, the Club's top leaders and management showed their gratitude for the donations by stifling dissent and vehemently opposing member efforts to enact an immigration reduction policy...

Read more at SUSPS.

Here is a formal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on United States Immigration Policy. Immigration driven US population growth really does have environmental consequences - which most politicians gladly ignore in exchange for support from their donor base.

 

Sincerely,
 

Fred Elbel
Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform

 

Could this happen in Oregon? You bet it could!

As Oregon's current Legislative administration continues to undermine what is right for Oregonians, one has to wonder if this plan, described below, is something they are already pondering.

The passage of a bill in 2013, giving instate tuition benefits to students in our country illegally, was just the beginning.  The promise was that the only reason to pass such a bill was to level the playing field for students who really wanted to go to college, but, couldn't afford to pay the out-of-state tuition they would be charged because THEY ARE HERE ILLEGALLY.  The bill was rammed through the legislature with very little public input allowed. The bill's survival was guaranteed by adding an Emergency Clause

Thinking that was as bad as it would get, I suppose we shouldn't have been surprised that just a couple sessions later, the same Legislators were back, with another, even more invasive bill.  Opportunity grants will now be available to students in our country illegally!  Isn't that special!  Again, an Emergency Clause sealed the deal.

I would like those Legislators to explain to the nearly 80% of citizen students who could not access Opportunity Grants because they simply ran out of funding, how, they now must get in line behind students in the country illegally!

But, to add insult to injury, a private school in Arizona has upped the game with this bright idea:

Arizona college imposes fee to fund scholarship for illegal immigrants

Prescott College is tacking a $30 annual fee onto its $28,000 annual tuition to establish an annual scholarship for “undocumented” students,.... Backers say it helps reverse what they call Arizona’s reputation as a “national example of discriminatory politics.”

“I am proud that our students take on the role of scholar activists,” said school President John Flicker...

“It is beyond absurd that this college is going to force all the students to subsidize the education of a student who is in the country illegally,” Vaughan

- Jessica Vaughan, Center for Immigration Studies

Supporters note that illegal immigrants are allowed to attend state and private colleges in Arizona, but in most cases cannot legally work or receive government grants or loans.

Making legal residents enrolled at the school pay for illegal immigrants’ education is a slap in the face to a generation already facing its post-college years saddled with enormous debt, said Andrew Kloster, legal Fellow for the Center for Legal & Judicial Studies at Heritage Foundation.


Read the full article here:  http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/04/06/arizona-college-imposes-mandatory-f...

Are we getting the whole story about refugee resettlement?

News Times

Influx of refugees would affect needy Oregonians

March 16, 2016

by Richard F. LaMountain, a Cedar Mill resident, serves as vice president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform.

The work of Medical Teams International — the Tigard-based group that aids, among other refugees, Syrians who have fled to Greece and Lebanon — merits Oregonians’ support. What does not, however, is the view of Jeff Pinneo, the group’s CEO, that many of those refugees should be brought to America (“Syrian refugees need our help,” News-Times, March 2).

One major reason: destitute Syrians, some 10,000 of whom the Obama administration hopes to resettle in the United States this fiscal year, would compete for the jobs and housing needed by our own poorest citizens. Given Gov. Kate Brown’s recent statement that Oregon “will ... open the doors of opportunity” to those refugees, a good number of them may come here — to a state in which some 16 percent of residents, as the U.S. Census Bureau estimated recently, already lives in poverty.

How would Syrian refugees impact those neediest Oregonians?

For many in our state, well-paying, full-time work remains elusive. Earlier this year, the Oregon Employment Department reported that 200,000-plus state residents were unemployed, “marginally attached to the labor force” or “employed part-time for economic reasons.” In Washington County, wrote Pamplin Media’s Peter Wong earlier this month, “40 percent of ... jobs are either low-wage or part-time.”

But local refugee-assistance groups, among them the taxpayer-subsidized Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization, work aggressively to place refugees into local jobs. Would it be fair to needy Oregonians, who lack the advocacy and support networks new refugees have, to import Syrians to compete with them for decent livelihoods?

Also consider: Our region is gripped by an affordable-housing crisis. In Portland last year, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported, “the Portland Housing Bureau ... found the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment was $1,182.” The city has a shortage, OPB noted, of some 24,000 units “affordable to the lowest-income renters” (those available for $750 a month or less).

Every night in Portland, The Oregonian reported last month, some 1,900 people sleep on sidewalks, in doorways and under bridges.

And yet, according to the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, in a recent five-year period close to a quarter of refugees received housing assistance. Do low-income Oregonians need an influx of poor Syrians to vie with them for affordable shelter?

And what of Oregon’s schoolchildren? Late last year, the state legislature’s Joint Special Committee on Public Education Appropriation determined that the 2015-17 elementary and secondary State School Fund, at some $7.4 billion, was almost $1.8 billion short of the amount needed “to reach the state’s educational goals.” Why, then, should we import Syrian children, most of whom would need expensive supplemental English instruction, to siphon off education dollars needed by the state’s American children?

“Since 1975,” notes the Oregon Department of Human Services, “tens of thousands of refugees have resettled in Oregon.” Accepting more today, however, would harm many of our youngest and poorest fellow citizens. Let’s applaud Pinneo’s help for refugees abroad, but resist his suggestion that we bring them here. Instead, let’s work to improve the lives of our own neediest — the fellow Americans to whom we owe our first and foremost responsibility.

Read the original article.

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OFIR member Paul Nachman, is a retired physicist, volunteers in a research group at Montana State University-Bozeman and is a founding member of Montanans for Immigration Law Enforcement (www.MontanaMILE.org).

The Missoulian

Be skeptical of refugee supporters' claims

March 17, 2016

Mary Poole of Soft Landing Missoula opened her Feb. 25th opinion (“Facts show Missoula can safely welcome refugees”) by asserting that her subject is “surrounded by a lot of misinformation.” She followed that with her own barrage of misleading information.

For example, on the subject of vetting prospective refugees for the dangers they may pose to us, Poole highlights the “18- to 24-month multi-step process” that’s involved. But as Kelly Gauger of the State Department’s Refugee Admissions office explained last October, “We’re not spending 18 months doing security checks. … At any given time, we’ve got something like a quarter-million people churning through the system.” In other words, it’s like everyone’s experience at the Motor Vehicle Department—you wait in line for an hour, yet your own business takes just a few minutes.

Poole also thinks that the vetting agencies have matters well under control, quoting FBI Director James Comey that “we have gotten much better as an intelligence community at … checking our databases in a way that gives us high confidence.” That’s a very incomplete picture, though, as Comey testified to the House Homeland Security Committee in October: “We can only query against that which we have collected. And so if someone has not made a ripple in the pond … on a way that would get their identity or their interests reflected in our databases, we can query our databases until the cows come home, but nothing will show up because we have no record of that person.”

Beyond the specific matter of refugee resettlement, today’s U.S. government demonstrates seemingly universal incompetence, from Transportation Security Administration airport screeners’ 95 percent failure rate at intercepting test contraband to the slack immigration vetting of San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik to the Environmental Protection Agency’s flooding Colorado’s Animas River with orange, toxic mine waste. So who believes that, with hard-to-investigate refugees, suddenly the feds will perform?

Then there’s the matter of International Rescue Committee’s specific designs on Missoula; Poole reports that IRC considers the city a good candidate to absorb about 100 refugees per year. What the enthusiasts at Soft Landing—and the Missoula County commissioners, who support the idea—might not realize is that, once it’s started, they’ll have zero control over the process. That’ll be up to the State Department and IRC.

In the experience of many small cities around the country (e.g. Amarillo, Texas; Springfield, Massachusetts; Manchester, New Hampshire), the resulting local impacts can be daunting and onerous. After a spell, they find their schools and social-services agencies begging for relief from the influx.

Consider the ordeal of Lynn, Massachusetts, a city of 90,000 just north of Boston with a school district serving 15,000 students. Lynn’s schools took in about 500 students from Central America between 2011 and 2014. One might think such an increase in school population of “only” 3.5 percent wouldn’t be a big deal, but that’s not how it’s worked out for the city.

As Mayor Judith Kennedy told an audience at the National Press Club in August 2014, her health department had to curtail inspection services to afford the surge in immunizations needed by the schools’ new arrivals. She had to end an effective, gang-suppressing community-policing program to free up resources for the schools. With many of the arrivals illiterate in any language, the schools needed many more classroom aides along with interpreters. (The school district’s website broadcasts the availability of translation services in Arabic, Creole, Khmer and Spanish.) Altogether, Kennedy had to shrink every other department’s 2015 budget by 2 to 5 percent from its 2014 level to accommodate a 9.3 percent increase in school funding.

(Lynn’s influx includes—besides refugees—illegal aliens and ordinary immigrants, but all three categories of arrivals from third world countries impose comparable burdens on taxpayers.)

Such costs for translators and interpreters are an unfunded mandate the national government levies on states and localities, applicable to court proceedings, too. The requirement is open-ended. For example, in 2014 Manchester, New Hampshire, got in trouble with the feds in a school-expulsion case by failing to provide an interpreter for Dinka, the language of South Sudan.

For these and other reasons, Montanans might view Soft Landing’s proselytizing for refugee resettlement with great skepticism.

Read the original article.

 

Tax payments by illegal aliens do not justify their employment

The pro open-borders lobby touts payment of taxes by illegal aliens as a positive contribution to our economy, but closer examination of the facts shows how shallow and erroneous the claim is.  Even discounting the overall damage that violation of immigration law causes a society, it’s ridiculous to think that the tax payments of illegal aliens make illegal immigrants valuable to the country. 

In this brief commentary, a researcher at the Federation for American Immigration Reform, demolishes the argument of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a group which claims its “mission is to ensure that elected officials, the media, and the general public have access to accurate, timely, and straightforward information that allows them to understand the effects of current and proposed tax policies. …”
 
Think again, ITEP! 
 
 
March 15, 2016 By Jack Martin, Federation for American Immigration Reform
 
The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) has updated its estimate of the “contribution” of illegal aliens to the economy. In The Nation, Michelle Chen writes on March 14 that ITEP credits illegal aliens with adding $11.6 billion annually in tax payments – nearly $7 billion in sales and excise taxes and $3.6 billion in property taxes. Note that neither of those amounts are ones that can be avoided by working ‘off-the-books’, which allows them to avoid payments for income taxes, Social Security, and unemployment insurance.
 
But is this significant? The answer is that the ITEP estimate is irrelevant because it ignores that the same amount, or more, would be contributed by legal workers if the illegal workers were unavailable. Legal workers would be much less likely to be working off-the-books and would, therefore, be contributing to the other programs that illegal workers often evade. In addition, because legal workers are much less likely to be sending remittances out of the country, their spending in the United States would be greater and generate more sales tax receipts. Further, if employers did not have a ready supply of exploitable illegal workers, they would have to offer higher wages to attract legal workers. The result would reduce legal worker unemployment, social assistance dependence and poverty.
 
So when you hear someone citing the ITEP estimate, think about how it documents the failure of the country’s immigration enforcement operations and the social and fiscal consequences that result from that failure. 
 

Speak up, speak out! Your silence speaks volumes!

Across the country citizen's are finding the courage, the time and the resolve to write a letter to the editor.  Please take time to write your own letter expressing your concerns regarding immigration issues, the upcoming election, or anything else that you think is important and worthy of a public discussion. 

Solutions to ongoing problems are often a refreshing change from the usual letters of frustration.  Fact based letters garner more respect than a "rant".  If you are interested, concerned or upset with an issue, it's likely many others are, as well.

Send your letter to your local newspaper or consider sending it to a small, local, weekly bulletin publication in your area.  The important point is to keep the conversation going!

Below are some examples from across the country.  For more idea and a complete selection of letters, visit the OFIR letter section.

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ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

Obama, Democrats unwilling to address serious issues of illegal immigration
March 12, 2016

I read the editorial “ ‘ICE regrets the error’ ” (March 10) about the killing spree and how the failure of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to coordinate with the local police department had created this situation. As much of a tragedy as this appears, I am not at all surprised.

ICE along with Homeland Security are failing due to decades of bureaucratic manipulation that has rendered citizens unsafe from illegal immigrants that are repeat offenders and worse. Also, has anyone investigated the ineptitude of the Johnson County Sheriff's Department for not reaching out to Overland Park, their largest municipality?

I did find exception to the reference to Donald Trump and other GOP candidates who will use this as an example of wall-building. Actually, this rhetoric is a direct result of the current administration and the current Democratic candidates' unwillingness to address the serious issues of illegal immigration. This would hurt their voting bloc of liberals who are afraid to understand what is happening in this country.

I seriously doubt that Pablo Antonio Serrano-Vitorino was here looking for low-paid work. I also take exception to the reference that the driving force behind the immigration problem is employers' lack of a work force to fill low-wage labor. I have not seen a poll or other data supporting this.

Many U.S. citizens are out of work and have to compete in this market. The employers would rather rip off an illegal immigrant than follow the law to hire and pay a U.S. citizen or legal resident. This is where the enforcement needs to step up. Once the punishment is prevalent to these employers who are breaking the law and they start hiring U.S. citizens, then the immigrants will start to return to their countries.

Stop blaming the candidates and look at the failed Obama administration for limiting the law enforcement on the prevention and containment of illegal immigrants.

Dan Maltman • Overland

http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/mailbag/obama-democrats-unwilling-to-address-serious-issues-of-illegal-immigration/article_d6660179-d7df-500c-a3d8-edd0021db86e.html

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ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

We shouldn't tolerate a virtually open border
March 12, 2016

Like all good liberal public relations firms, the Post-Dispatch editorial board decided to get out in front of the story with the editorial “ ‘ICE regrets the error’ ” (March 10). I guess when you are going to spin the death of five people at the hand of a person who entered the county illegally twice, you better be proactive.
 
This time, the spin just doesn’t wash. The editorial states “America doesn’t need more hysteria.” It also doesn’t need more lame excuses for tolerating a virtually open border. It doesn’t need to call people who enter this country illegally with no intention of ever leaving “migrants.” And America doesn’t need its workers blamed for the immigration crisis because they won’t work slave hours for Third World wages.

What it does need is secure borders, a friendly and effective system for legal immigration, and punishment for American employers who use illegal workers.

Chris Seibel • Ballwin

http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/mailbag/we-shouldn-t-tolerate-a-virtually-open-border/article_78cabc3f-816f-542a-b731-a4825f149500.html

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LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL RJ
Friday, March 11, 2016

Posted March 11, 2016

Fixing immigration

How can the United States end massive, nation-wrecking illegal immigration once and for all? How can the federal government secure our borders and protect our national security? How can we defend and preserve U.S. citizenship, sovereignty and the rule of law?

First, force Congress to pass a mandatory E-verify law that gives America a legal workforce. Second, force Congress to pass a biometric entry/exit law that monitors and controls visa overstayers. Third, force Congress to ban sanctuary cities. Fourth, force Congress to end the corrupt earned income tax child credit provision, which has resulted in a windfall for illegal aliens filing federal income tax returns using a taxpayer identification number instead of a Social Security number. Fifth, elect a president who will complete the double-security fence mandated by the Secure Fence Act passed by Congress in 2006

Finally, elect a president who will expeditiously remove unlawful aliens.

The absolute wrong thing to do is elect a president who promotes granting amnesty, legal status and citizenship to millions of foreigners who are violating our labor, tax, identity theft and immigration laws.

Lawrence J. Brown
North Las Vegas

http://www.reviewjournal.com/opinion/letters/letters-finicum-s-death-oregon-standoff-completely-preventable

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Lompoc Record

Illegals
March 10, 2016

Put blame on illegals

President Obama recently told an audience, “Few things will disrupt our lives as profoundly as climate change.”

To him, the greatest threat to America isn’t national security, ISIS, terrorism, nuclear threat or the economy, it’s global warming.

What’s profoundly disrupting lives is not weather, it’s illegal immigration. The 18 murders in 15 months in this Sanctuary City have put people here in mortal danger. Law enforcement officials finally arrested several of the malefactors, yet one wonders what took them so long, especially since Marilyn Pharis’ brutal murder by two illegal convicts should have triggered that response months ago.

A recent report said, according to the Census Bureau, there were 61 million immigrants in the U.S., a figure that’s grown six times faster than the overall population from 1970-2015, and one that shows only 15.7 million here illegally. Unfortunately, that figure was taken only from those who filled out the survey, which is remarkable since illegals, many illiterate in both English and Spanish, would most probably be reluctant to admit they were here illegally.

There are actually more than 40 million illegals in America today and those numbers are growing by leaps and bounds. The number of Hispanics in state and federal prisons have grown by 219 percent. Here in Santa Maria, school classrooms, hospital emergency rooms, doctors’ offices, roads and highways are being flooded by illegals.

Ironically, those of us who tried to warn this would happen were called haters and racists, and now all we can say is, how do you like your All-American City now that it’s become a national embarrassment?

Larry Bargenquast
Orcutt

http://lompocrecord.com/news/opinion/mailbag/homelessness-illegals/article_8f796d04-a30e-5d50-b393-28b4b0e9fe90.html

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nwfdailynews.com
news & information for the emerald coast

LETTER: Mindboggling gobbledygook

Posted Mar. 10, 2016 at 5:27 AM
Updated Mar 10, 2016 at 5:37 AM

After giving Steve Chapman a full half-page in the Opinion section, I have to wonder if the NWF Daily News is paying this man for his articles, and if so, then why aren’t they in the Comic section where his latest belongs.

In his latest article he suggests that it is Canadians that the USA ought to be fearful of and he opines that Mr. Trump should be concerned over the northern border rather than the southern border.

He attempts to convince the readers that it’s not the illegal Mexican immigrants that you should be concerned about. No, you should worry about all the terrorists coming into the United States from Canada.

I have to wonder what the families of all the victims of violence, rape and murder committed by illegal Mexican immigrants in the USA would say about his article. What about the folks who live along the southern border and the Border Patrol themselves? Who do you think they fear most?

If Mr. Chapman wants to talk about terrorism and whether or not that is on the top of the voters’ list of concerns, fine, but the issue of illegal Mexican immigration is an entirely different ball of wax, especially when we’re talking about upwards of 10 million of them already in the USA.

ROBERT SWARBRICK, Beachside Villas

http://www.nwfdailynews.com/opinion/20160310/letter-mindboggling-gobbledygook

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THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

March 9, 2016
By ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Party of Lincoln’ not about breaking the law

Re: “Void of values among GOP candidates” [Opinion, March 6]: I do not see any connection between Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (“[T]hat this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom”) and writer Jim Doti’s attack on Republican candidates who advocate tough policies on illegal immigrants. In particular, Mr. Doti attacks Donald Trump for saying Mexico is “sending people that have lots of problems ... such as drugs, crime, rapists,” although he does quote Trump’s caveat: “And some, I assume, are good people.” From where does Mr. Doti think the violent gangs in Santa Ana, Anaheim and Los Angeles originated?

Despite Mr. Doti’s heartwarming stories from some children of illegal immigrants about how they and their parents found new opportunities in the United States, he needs to take a balanced view of what unrestrained illegal immigration has brought to this country. He gives his own story of how his parents immigrated legally through Ellis Island. They obviously came here through proper procedures and were properly vetted. People who sneak across the southern border are flouting our laws and disrespecting our principles despite wanting better opportunities.

I think Mr. Trump is voicing the frustration of many Americans. Isn’t defending our borders part of protecting our freedoms? How is that not following the “Party of Lincoln?”

Oliver Watson
Orange

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/doti-707339-people-lincoln.html

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azcentral THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC
PART OF THE USA TODAY NETWORK

Letter: Napolitano is no perfect Supreme Court pick

Robert Kuntz 4:45 p.m. MST March 8, 2016

I usually support E.J. Montini’s positions. But suggesting that Janet Napolitano is “A perfect pick for Supreme Court?” goes against my better judgment.

He cites a letter that she, as Arizona governor, sent to the federal government asking for reimbursement of $118 million spent incarcerating undocumented immigrants.

I have wondered many times if that letter was in the in-basket of the desk she inherited as Secretary of the DHS. She could have acted on that letter, and done something about border security.

Yes, Obama probably called the shots here, but I didn’t see her kicking any sand on the subject. For a Supreme Court justice, we need a person that is consistent with his or her convictions.

Robert Kuntz, Fountain Hills

http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/letters/2016/03/08/janet-napolitano-supreme-court/81494138/

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The Tennessean   PART OF THE USA TODAY NEWTWORK

Letters to the editor, March 9: Readers respond

The Tennessean 12 p.m. CST March 8, 2016

Readers sound off on previously published columns and letters on Donald Trump.

Trump’s fear and anger is justified

Re: "Trump's fear rhetoric mastery dominates 2016 election," March 6.

This is a response to the editorial written by Opinion Engagement Editor David Plazas.

Trump’s message of fear and anger is justified as most Americans are angry at our elite politicians.

We should be concerned about terrorist Muslims being allowed into our country without knowing who the heck they might be. We need a temporary ban on them for the next 50 years or so – until we can sort out who they might be. We need to stop illegal aliens from entering our country. And a $10 billion dollar wall is a lot cheaper than $500 billion in welfare benefits for the next 10 years!

And as far as sexual minorities --- I haven’t heard anything from Trump or any politician running for President describe them as a villain.

Yes, we do need to build a wall to stop illegals before they crush the fabric of our country. We do need to stop all refugees until we can afford them! And we need a new leader who will lead us in the right direction.

Paul Knowles, Nashville 37211

http://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/readers/2016/03/08/letters-editor-march-9-readers-respond/81445036/

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delawareonline  The News Journal    PART OF THE USA TODAY NETWORK

The News Journal 4:08 p.m. EST March 7, 2016

Repeal illegal immigrants' licenses

As of Jan 1, it became legal for Delaware drivers licenses to be issued to undocumented/illegal immigrants.

While it might be possible to argue that Gov. Markell perceives it as an act of kindness, I cannot understand how the state legislature was convinced to support it. No one in the state benefits from this move except for individuals who have entered the country illegally.  It is generally accepted that politicians will sponsor actions which garner voting support for themselves; however, these immigrants can't vote.

This action also leaves Delaware vulnerable to penalties from the federal government if they disapprove of Delaware's licensing changes. For example, when the federal government insisted that states raise the age for purchasing alcohol to 21, they couldn't directly force the states to adhere to this policy, so the federal government threatened to withhold highway funding for states that didn't follow their recommendation, using the logic that the combination of inexperienced, young drivers and alcohol posed a serious threat on the road.

The same can be expected for Delaware's new licensing policy.  Issuing drivers licenses to illegal immigrants provides a superficial appearance of legitimacy to the undocumented immigrants who hold them, making the enforcement of immigration laws even more difficult than before, and might even pose difficulties with insurance claims in case of automobile accidents.

The new Delaware licensing policy defies logic and provides no benefit to the residents of Delaware.
It should be repealed.

Peter Piro
Wilmington

http://www.delawareonline.com/story/opinion/readers/2016/03/07/letters-editor-competing-conceding/81445300/

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NJ.com True Jersey

Trump not beholden to special interests | Letter

By Letters To The Editor | The Jersey Journal  
on March 08, 2016 at 2:19 PM, updated March 08, 2016 at 2:21 PM

The current Republicrats and Democans represent the status quo. Nothing changes. They are both from the same mold. Notice how, I changed the wording around. The same old do nothing politicians who sit on their laurels, take huge amounts of money from special interests groups and lobbyists for Quid pro quo. The special interests groups who cannot stand Trump and look at him as a threat, because he doesn't need their money.

Trump is not a politician, especially one who takes millions of dollars in donations from special interests groups. The threat of ISIS is real, and what is wrong with him building a wall 1,000 miles long along the Mexican border? He is looking out for the safety of Americans, unlike the other politicians who think it's fine to have a Swiss cheese like border to let illegal intruders cross the border into our country. If immigrants want to come here legally, more power to them, but if we continue to have weak borders, we will no longer remain a great country because the intruders who cross the border will deplete our healthcare, deplete our medicaid and medicare funds and social security, and most importantly put a strain on our school-system.

Worth mentioning we also will be letting violent terrorists sneak in and cause great harm to innocent people, if we do not build that wall. The illegals also will take away jobs from legal minority workers here in the U.S., because they wouldn't be able to compete against the lower wages paid to illegals. Obamacare mandates to companies, if your employee works over 30 hours a week, you have to pay benefits. Companies, will therefore reduce the hours of their workers, and even lay people off. Ford, Nabisco, Carrier are or have moved to Mexico.

Trump will build that wall, he will create competition among health care companies, he will add tariffs also on imports. He acknowledges the huge trade deficits with Mexico, and he will do as he says to discourage companies from going into Mexico or abroad. If Trump is president, he mentions, that we will now, say "Merry Christmas," instead of that Happy Holiday Crap, we are encouraged to say.

It's all about the money with these Republican Establishment swine who want to spend millions of dollars in negative untrue campaign ads across the county to derail and take down Trump.

If he gets the nomination, the gig is over for these status quo do nothing politicians, because they will not receive millions of dollars from special interest groups. Trump figuratively threatens their job security. Rubio is fighting for his political life as a candidate for president, his lobbyists probably said to him in private, "Look, you have to say whatever, throw tantrums, say anything to discredit Trump, because we can't have him as President." Rubio, dutifully obeys, and knows where his bread and butter is, and thus says horrible vicious lies about Trump.

It's all about the money. It's almost criminal how the Republican Establishment is pooling together its financial resources to smear Trump so he won't get the nomination. The American people, want and deserve a change. They so far have spoken, because Trump has a commanding lead in the primaries. People want an outsider to be the next president of the U.S. to represent their needs, not the same old do nothing insiders who are working for and are in bed with special interest groups.

KEVIN STANLEY
JERSEY CITY

http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2016/03/trump_not_beholden_to_special_interests_letter.html

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citizensvoice.com
Luzerne County’s Largest & Fastest-Growing Newspaper Audience

Republicans need to get behind candidate with best chance to win

Published: March 7, 2016

Editor:
I am outraged at the Republican establishment. They seem intent on destroying the only chance the party has to win the White House.

I support Donald Trump for president primarily for two reasons. I believe our flawed immigration policy is the number one national security issue facing our country. It affects all other issues and I believe Trump is the only candidate who will take timely action to address the problem. I also believe Trump is the only candidate that has the will and ability to confront Hillary and call her what she is, an ineffective corrupt political leader.

Trump is not as conservative on many issues as I would like, but ABC (Anybody But Clinton). The Republican establishment has had ample opportunity to take control of the projection of our country. Mitt Romney, while an ethical man, did not possess the charisma needed to excite the base nor was he willing to square off against Barack Obama. Congress also has had ample opportunity to take control of the Washington agenda, but has allowed Obama to walk right around them.

Unfortunately, the Republican establishment is not listening to the will of the people. A split Republican party is the best news the Democrats could get. The party must take a page from the Democrats’ play book and get behind the candidate with the best chance to win.

Barbara Hickman
Clarks Summit

http://citizensvoice.com/opinion/republicans-need-to-get-behind-candidate-with-best-chance-to-win-1.2015659

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G BILLINGS GAZETTE

Concerns of real Americans ignored by journalists
March 6, 2016

The Republican debate this past week was disgusting. It started with agitators, known as journalists, asking questions hardly anyone cares about: “Mr. Trump, what do you have to say about what Senator Rubio said about you yesterday?” Mr. Rubio answers with left jab insult, “He’s a liar” at Donald Trump and then he throws a right hook “He’s a liar,” to Ted Cruz. Sen. Ted Cruz points out that he was mentioned and he wants to respond. This goes on and on and digresses into a sandbox squabble.

I wonder when I am going to hear a question about my concerns. Why, for example, are Americans treated like felons being booked into prison at airports while at the same time our federal government refuses to enforce our immigration laws? Laws don’t work if they are unenforced. The flood of people entering this country illegally is an invasion, not migration. Refusing to enforce our laws is dangerous.

When governments act lawlessly, it is demoralizing and destabilizing to a society. A majority of citizens hate Obamacare and want parts or all of it repealed. The federal government is bloated and wasteful. It is now big enough to compromise our freedom, and security. Many Americans are fed up with the selfishness of the political class.

It seems to me that the professional politicians are either too arrogant to care about the country, or they are too fat, happy and insulated in privileged lives to even hear the rest of us.

Earlene Meyer
Billings

http://billingsgazette.com/news/opinion/mailbag/concerns-of-real-americans-ignored-by-journalists/article_2aea32b3-56e8-5e1a-be07-1b4614d3c3bc.html

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USA TODAY

Rep. Hunter: Enforce immigration laws

March 6, 2016

That’s something Americans are right to demand.

Border security and illegal immigration are a central theme of voter agitation on the side of Republicans and many independents, largely because leaders in government have been all talk and no action for too long.

Voters are now expressing their frustration on these and other issues, and it’s showcased in the form of the Republican front-runner, Donald Trump.

There’s much appeal around rhetoric that promotes not just the enforcement of America’s borders, but also the enforcement of immigration laws. And while the idea of deporting 11 million people is not within the scope of possibility, it’s what such a pronouncement signals that’s the true magnet.

What voters have been desperate to hear and believe is a commitment from a national leading candidate that every effort will be made to enforce America’s immigration laws evenly and consistently. Further, a majority of Americans despise the idea that sanctuary cities exist, and states so openly defy and circumvent federal immigration laws, yet nothing has been done to stop them.

Voters are also aware that the most effective way to deal with the large population of illegal immigrants in the U.S. is through the jobs they seek. Enforce the law, deny the jobs enticement, and the number of illegal immigrants residing in the country will decline.

The frustration also applies to what happens to violent criminal aliens. States and cities shouldn’t decide whether to report arrests or selectively determine which arrests warrant a phone call to the federal government. This played out last summer, when San Francisco released a violent criminal who killed a young woman with a bright future.

So when a candidate like Donald Trump raises the prospect of building a wall on the border, or deporting 11 million people, millions of Americans are not necessarily voting for those things specifically. Rather, they’re voting for a commitment to do what the past two administrations have failed to do. They’re voting for the idea that finally somebody is willing to enforce the law to the extent that the law requires.

That’s something Americans are right to demand.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., supports Donald Trump for president.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/03/06/deportation-illegal-immigration-border-wall-donald-trump-editorials-debates/81408274/

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fayobserver.com

Letter: Immigration rules should protect us
March 6, 2016

Multitudes of Muslims worldwide hold beliefs contrary to our concepts of freedom, including hateful anti-Jewish/anti-Christian attitudes. We have radical Islam in this country; Minneapolis is a hotbed of jihadi recruitment. Yet thousands of Muslims pour into our country due to our immigration/refugee policies.

U.S. census data say roughly 100,000 Muslim immigrants are admitted annually. President Obama says Syrian Muslim refugees will be "vetted." The "vetting" failed with the Boston Marathon bombers and the San Bernardino female (all Muslims). Who trusts the "vetting" process, especially since Obama's administration decided the "vetters" couldn't look at a person's email or Facebook, because it "violates privacy"?

I support temporarily halting Muslim immigration. Protecting American citizens has priority. The directors of the FBI and DHS say there's no system to "vet" persons from Syria.

Congress called for limiting Syrian immigration to Christians, but Obama ridiculed that as "un-American." However, during the Cold War, there were times wherein we allowed only Jews special immigration status from the Soviet Union.

Sen. Ted Cruz supported Sen. Rand Paul's bill to temporarily cease immigration from 32 Muslim-majority countries. It didn't pass the Senate; those against it included Sen. Marco Rubio.

Obama stopped all Iraqi immigration in 2013, for six months, because of al-Qaida infiltrators.

Hillary Clinton claims Donald Trump's suggestion to temporarily halt Muslim immigration is "an ISIS recruitment tool." She's also said, "Muslims are tolerant, peaceful people." So, explain how Muslims are ISIS-recruited simply due to a suggestion to temporarily halt Muslim immigration?

Dan Barton
Fayetteville

http://www.fayobserver.com/opinion/letters_to_editor/letter-immigration-rules-should-protect-us/article_7f25c3c5-b5b8-515c-9187-108471207938.html

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The Press Democrat

March 4, 2016

Sideshow battle

EDITOR: The spat between Apple and the FBI is a distraction and a sideshow. While they quibble about whether Apple is going to teach the FBI how to do basic software engineering, the federal government is inviting thousands of immigrants from all manner of jihad hotspots to come live here.

Not to worry, say our feckless politicians, the FBI will spend billions to “validate” them.

So, the FBI doesn’t have the chops to hack an iPhone but would have us believe that they can read minds of completely alien people who want to come in? How did that work out with Mohammed Atta (the 9/11 chief box-cutter slasher), the Tsarnaevs (Boston Marathon bombers), Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik (San Bernardino shooters)?

Federal agencies got it deadly wrong in all these cases, and it was entirely predictable.

PAUL HODGES
Santa Rosa

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/opinion/5327984-181/saturdays-letters-to-the-editor
 

IRS Encourages Illegal Immigrants to Commit Identity Theft and Refuses to Inform Victims

By Marc Ferris , for Federation of for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)

Another tax season has arrived and with it comes the annual soaking of the American taxpayer. Every year, the Internal Revenue Service doles out billions of dollars in tax credits and other funds to illegal immigrants and their families, some of whom do not even live in the United States, despite the wonderful work a few years ago by the Eyewitness News team at WTHR in Indianapolis. Led by chief investigative reporter Bob Segall, the story gained widespread attention on Capitol Hill, but the situation remains unchanged.

Then, late last year, Segall identified another incredible scenario: even though the IRS is able to easily identify undocumented workers who are using fake Social Security numbers and can identify them, the agency chooses to look the other way – even when a valid Social Security number belonging to an American citizen is used to file a tax return and wreaks havoc on his or her life.

The secret IRS policy is so damaging to American citizens whose Social Security numbers are surreptitiously used by illegal aliens – 1.2 million fraud victims last year alone – that two whistleblowers came forward to WTHR to reveal the problem.  “I love my country,” said one. “That’s why I’m here. It’s a crime. I don’t care what you call it, it’s a crime,” said one, who chose to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.

Everyone who earns money must file a tax return, even if in the country illegally. The IRS actually issues illegals an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to facilitate tax filing, but one needs a Social Security number to get a job. Thus, tax returns from illegals often have two numbers associated with them, the ITIN and the Social Security Number on the W-2 earnings statement. If they don’t match, that’s a pretty clear indication of identity theft.

But not only does the agency refuse to do anything about it, their policies encourage the practice. The IRS even knows where the perpetrators live and work, since they are filing forms with the information, but refuses to crack down.

WTHR found two victims of identity fraud, singled out by the IRS for under-reporting their income, since the agency received two W-2 forms with the same Social Security number. Legal taxpayers, who have no idea that their Social Security numbers are being used illegally, only report one income. One victim, Albert Allen, lost his family’s health insurance due to the snafu: “I had to go months hoping that my kids didn’t get hurt because they didn’t have the insurance,” he said.

The rub is that the IRS knew all along that Allen was the victim of the identity fraud. Yet the agency chooses to keep victims like him in the dark and protect the criminals. And, they made him file papers to prove that he had no knowledge of the situation, a matter that is still unresolved, since his Social Security number continues to be used by an illegal immigrant – and why not if there’s no penalty?

The IRS calls illegal immigrants who use another’s Social Security number a “borrower,” rather than a thief. The policy manual directive to workers is clear: “Do not disclose to the taxpayer that the Form W-2 containing their Social Security number was reported on an ITIN return.” Allen expressed shock, saying that this “would cause more people to do it.”

When asked if it would be acceptable for an American citizen taxpayer to borrow someone else’s Social Security number, one whistleblower replied: “Hell no. It’s stealing. You’re taking something without that person’s consent.” His colleague said that “every day you see this over and over and over and over again.”

Identity theft by illegal immigrants is rampant and the Obama administration is complicit. Despite constantly complaining about budget restrictions, the IRS holds up applications for tax-exempt status for organizations whose political views the administration opposes, and goes after the under-reported income of individual taxpayers – even for as little as a few dollars in back taxes.

It is unconscionable that the agency encourages illegal immigrants to continue working without authorization, refuses to punish identity thieves and allows citizen taxpayers to be victimized.

http://immigrationreform.com/2016/03/09/irs-encourages-illegal-immigrants-to-commit-identity-theft-and-refuses-to-inform-victims/
 

So many opportunities to ask questions!

While NumbersUSA gives Sen. Merkley a grade of F for recent years 2013-2016 other Oregon Congressional delegates are not much better.  Please take every opportunity to ask the questions that need answers!

OFIR recommends that you view and print out a copy of your Congressman's voting report to give to them at any upcoming event they may be attending.  Below is Merkley's report card - it's shameful!

https://www.numbersusa.com/content/print/my/congress/1341/printreportcard//

If you’re able to attend a meeting and speak or ask a question of a candidate or member of Congress, please share the information with OFIR at ofir@oregonir.org.

For example:

In 2015 Sen. Merkley voted to continue funding President Obama’s unlawful Executive amnesties to illegal aliens. See details here. Ask him why he supports illegal immigration and illegal immigrants when they are taking jobs from Americans, causing widespread wage depression, and using tax-paid social benefits that should be reserved for U.S. citizens.

Other possible questions:

What are you doing to protect citizens from further harm by radical Jihadists? Persons claiming to be refugees from the Middle East cannot be adequately screened according to the Director of the FBI. A better way to help refugees is to cooperate with the United Nations in maintaining safe areas in countries near to the places of conflict.

An entry-exit system for checking visa holders was authorized for by Congress years ago and is urgently needed. Please make this a priority and work for its implementation immediately. The lack of a system enables open-ended illegal immigration.

Fraud and abuse of work visas is a scandal now, with employers importing foreign workers at lower wages by the thousands, forcing Americans to train them and then dismissing the citizen workers. What have you done to stop this?

Please work for mandatory use of the E-Verify program for all employers, for both new hires and current work forces. The system is accurate. Workers can verify their own Social Security records in the E-Verify program and thus protect their information.

Our country is overpopulated already resulting in severe environmental and social stresses. An annual overall limit on numbers of immigrants is urgently needed. It would be reasonable to set a moratorium on immigration for a temporary period of years and then limit the annual number of immigrants to about 200,000.

Backsliding on communicable diseases brought to the US by illegal aliens

Rick Oltman has described, in no uncertain terms, the threats brought right into our nation's living room by the utter disregard for the well being of the citizens of this great country.

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A Weapon of Mass Destruction – A Weapon of Cultural Destruction?

By Rick Oltman, February 29, 2016

Back as early as the mid-1990s, parents of grade schoolers in California were learning that diseases that were once believed to have been eliminated were back in the public schools.  Head lice was epidemic in many schools.  Products, once discontinued, were brought back to market to deal with the disgusting infection.

Measles and whooping cough were spreading rapidly.  To many Californians, the cause was obvious:   illegal alien students were bringing these infections back into the schools...

Scarlet fever also reappeared.

A polio-like disease caused partial paralysis in California children.

Remember H1N1, aka “swine flu,” from a few years ago?...

We seemed to have escaped widespread infection from Ebola.  Will it be the same with the Zika virus?

More recently, as a result of the massive influx of (not only) illegal alien children from Central America who were not being medically screened, the U.S. has had outbreaks of other illnesses that were once eradicated; TB:  Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Chickenpox and Smallpox.

MDR – TB, multiple drug resistant tuberculosis, rampant in South East Asia, has been coming across the southern border for years.

Multiple drug resistant diseases are the result of improper use and overuse of antibiotics.  Evolution and natural selection can produce organisms that we cannot defeat.  And, in an environment where diseases can travel halfway around the world in a single day, the possibility of an outbreak of a deadly epidemic is as real as your worse science fiction nightmare.

However, just this week, Health and Human Services has announced that in a month, on March 28th, three sexually transmitted infections will no longer bar you from entering our country....

What is a Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD)?

WMD is often referred to by the collection of modalities that make up the set of weapons:  chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive.

WMD is defined in U.S. law (18 USC §2332a) as “Any weapon involving a disease organism.” ...

Now, ask yourself, “What possible benefit to America is there in allowing people infected with communicable diseases to come into our country, legally or illegally?  What possible explanation can there be for a government to be so irresponsible as to expose our populace to any disease like those listed above?”

Read the full article at USInc.com

Silence is consent! Speak up in a letter to the editor

BRADENTON HERALD
February 27, 2016 12:00 AM

Pope hypocritical in decrying Mexico wall

I find it ironic that Pope Francis, as head of the Roman Catholic Church, an organization that makes millions of dollars and owns vast properties and pays no taxes, has the nerve to tell us that building a wall is wrong while living in a walled city.

He says we should take in immigrants while the Vatican takes in none.

If we do not secure our borders we will lose all that is great about this country. I am not against immigration, I am against illegal immigration.

When I lock the door to my house at night, it is not because I hate the people outside, it is because I love the people inside.

Jack Jokinen
Bradenton

http://www.bradenton.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article62678417.html

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Mail Tribune

Letters to the Editor, Feb. 27

A citizen's lament

How does a country allow its own citizens to leave? Has it no pride in its own people? Perhaps, it has no pride in itself! Has it done anything to encourage the people to stay? Or, has it maintained the "status quo?"

Mexico is the country that comes to mind immediately. Corruption, drugs and the cartel, and a huge facade of "macho" are all I hear about Mexico. And much talk about immigration. Also, other countries have established factories to assemble products as a place of employment. But what industry has the government initiated on its own?

Have their sanitation and transportation problems been solved? Are they going to let the country be known as the drug capital of the world? When have they sent equipment, medical supplies or other necessities of life to a country that has had a disaster? Where else can their people be assisted, and often encouraged, and many times "scammed" into heading for the United States? Finally, why is our justice system, along with the incarcerated population, being increased by Mexican nationals?

This citizen's lament was written on Jan. 6, but never mailed. Then, on Feb. 14, the Catholic Pope asked basically the very thing I am asking!

Tom Ehrhart

Talent

http://www.mailtribune.com/article/20160227/OPINION/16022965

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THE Advocate

Letters: Hypocritical pope protected by own wall

Feb. 26, 2016; 5:32 p.m.

The Vatican is legally a separate country, and the pope is its head of state. The chief executive of that small country has chosen to inject himself into an American election by criticizing one candidate for wanting to build a wall to stem the flow of illegal immigration.

To not appear hypocritical, I’m sure Pope Francis will soon be taking down the huge wall that surrounds his own little country.

When the refugees pour in, he can set up camping tents and Port O-Lets for them in St. Peter’s Square.

M. R. Franks
Attorney at law
Baker

http://theadvocate.com/news/opinion/14989606-129/letters-hypocritical-pope-protected-by-own-wall

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ASBURY PARK PRESS PART OF THE USA TODAY NETWORK

LETTER: Why are we rewarding illegal immigrants?

4:01 p.m. EST February 25, 2016

Once again the Press has taken the side of “illegal” immigration with its Feb. 22 article “Fate of NJ immigrants rests with Supreme Court.” Not once was the word “illegal” used to describe people who were able to sneak across our border “illegally.”

Yes it is “illegal” to sneak into our country. They are breaking the law. Since when does the U.S. ignore federal laws that make it “illegal” to sneak across our border?

A man pictured in the article has four children, pays no taxes and probably didn’t pay anything toward a medical bill when they were born. Nor does he pay anything towards their care or schooling.

Who does pay? I pay, and you pay. My taxes and medical insurance, etc., all bear the brunt of this “illegal” immigrant’s “illegal” entry into our country. Rather than enforce our laws, the Democrats are going to give all of those “illegals” a free pass so they can get their vote.

Now New York City wants to give them the right to vote without any identification. It gets worse by the day.

Obama and his cohorts are trying to pass laws that make it OK to come here “Illegally” and to forgive those who have already done it. With the illegals’ votes, the Democrats will control our country for years to come.

Don Mullins
Long Branch

http://www.app.com/story/opinion/readers/2016/02/25/letter-rewarding-illegal-immigrants/80943540/

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THE BALTIMORE SUN

Cruz will be tough on illegal immigrants

February 25, 2016, 12:31 PM

Are you concerned about how illegal immigration is hurting our country, but want to know which presidential candidate we can trust to enforce our immigration laws?

Being from Maryland, I can assure you that we can't trust former Gov. Mayor O'Malley to enforce our immigration laws. In violation of existing federal law, Mr. O'Malley signed a bill in 2011 requiring Marylander taxpayers to pay two-thirds of the cost of a college education for illegal aliens who already received free taxpayer-supported education in the state's K-12 schools. He knew that when they graduated, they would try to work illegally in Maryland, but he wanted that.

At least we could trust Mr. O'Malley to be consistent in his beliefs — unlike Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Mr. Rubio co-sponsored a very similar bill in Florida and in January said he "stands by that vote." He also says he wants to use e-verify and have businesses that hire illegal aliens fined.

How does that work? Mr. Rubio supports Floridians paying in full for 12 or more years of primary and secondary schooling for those living in Florida illegally, and then co-sponsored a bill to have two-thirds of their college costs paid for by Florida taxpayers. Where does he want them to work after Americans have paid tens of thousands of dollars for their education?

Maybe Mr. Rubio thinks we should encourage illegal aliens to stay in our country by paying for their education, but then when they are ready to give back, they should move back to their country to work legally. Or perhaps he doesn't really believe in e-verify, as he claims, at all.

As the Chairman of MDPetitions.com, I helped gather over 130,000 referendum signatures to take Maryland's bill to pay college costs for illegal aliens to the ballot. I care deeply about how this issue will affect the future of our country, and I trust NumbersUSA as a source of factual information regarding which presidential candidate would work to enforce our existing illegal immigration laws.

Senator Ted Cruz earned the highest rating for immigration enforcement from NumbersUSA out of all of the current presidential candidates, with an A score. Contrast that with Mr. Rubio's ranking of D.

Don't be fooled by name-calling or who can talk louder. Look at the facts. The facts are clear: Senator Cruz's record proves his commitment to enforcing our nation's immigration laws.

Neil C. Parrott, Hagerstown

The writer, a Republican, represents Washington County in the Maryland House of Delegates.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-parrott-letter-20160225-story.html

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Savannah Morning News

Letters to the editor Thursday

Posted: February 24, 2016

Immigration creates burden for American taxpayers

Illegal immigration has affected our country in many ways. Jobs, housing, healthcare, security, education, law enforcement (jail, sanctuary cities, murder, police, courts, rape), insurance, traffic accidents, pollution, translators, the Federal budget, those living on borders to Mexico, food banks, unemployment benefits, food stamps, welfare, alien smugglers, fire, trash, drugs, kidnapping, wages, anchor babies, HUD properties, U.S. money sent back to the illegals’ country and earned income tax credit. These are probably but a few expenses that are picked up by the taxpayers. Not every occurrence listed affects everyone, because each state is different and therefore, the costs vary from state to state.

I am talking about illegals, the word defining these aliens and/or immigrants and not those who have entered our country the legal way.

Focusing on Georgia, the facts are as follows. An estimated 624,000 illegal aliens and their U.S. born children live in Georgia. They cost the taxpayers $2.4 billion. They pay an estimated $142 million in taxes collected by the state. This leaves a burden of nearly $2.26 billion and results in $768 per household headed by a U.S. citizen in additional taxes.

1. Education costs $1.67 billion and American teachers can’t get a raise?

2. Healthcare costs $318 million and American people can’t afford their medical bills?

3. Law and Justice costs $195 million and American families have trouble paying their lawyers.

4. Public Assistance costs $77 million and Americans are having trouble finding jobs.

5. General Government Services cost $138 million and Americans are having trouble getting adequate services.

This information is documented by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which can be found on the Internet.

C. SCOTT BARTLETT
Richmond Hill

http://savannahnow.com/opinion/2016-02-24/letters-editor-thursday#

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THE Durango HERALD

Pope Francis doesn’t get United States

Wednesday, February 24, 2016 10:58pm

In his remark regarding Donald Trump’s wall against illegal immigration, Pope Francis showed a disturbing lack of understanding of what the United States is all about. Said the pope, talking about walls without bridges is not Christian.

What Thomas Jefferson termed “separation of church and state” is one basis of our Constitution. A more specific statement of this separation principle was issued by our Senate in 1797: “The United States is not, in any sense, founded on Christian religion.”

My first reply to the pope would be: In the United States, deterrents against illegal acts (in this case illegal immigration) have no obligation to be Christian or in any other sense religious. To that I would add that we are not obligated to be Christian in our attitude to those who break our laws. And another point: The pope was wrong about the lack of a bridge. The wall along our border with Mexico would be a barrier against illegal immigration. The bridge would be immigration by legal process. Put another way: If you want to immigrate to the United States, don’t try to jump the wall. Instead, use the bridge. That’s why it’s there.

Additionally, now a note of irony in the pope’s assessment of Trump’s wall. In his most often quoted assertion that there should be no relationship between church and state, Jefferson specified “a wall of separation” between the two.

Finally, the pope spoke hypocritically: That is, his pontification was judgmental. I recall that Jesus Christ, from whom the term Christian derives, cautioned us not to judge lest we be judged.

Tom Wright
Aztec

http://www.durangoherald.com/article/20160224/OPINION03/160229753/0/opinion03/Pope-Francis-doesn’t-get-United-States

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LEXINGTON Herald Leader

FEBRUARY 23, 2016 6:46 PM

No to Muslim refugees

When there were a lot fewer people in this country, movement within was easier. I never heard of a case of road rage. Water quality was good to excellent; no one was looking for a good drink out of a bottle of water sold by a grocery. No one said anything about climate change or global warming.

I believe this country was full a long time ago. You don’t keep adding people to a full boat or elevator. I’m definitely against immigration.

Those who say “we are a nation of immigrants, so let in the Muslims” disregard the cultural differences. Europe let in many Muslim refugees recently, and a payoff was many sexual assaults during New Year’s celebrations.

The night that President Barack Obama had a meeting about more gun control and more background checks, a radical Muslim shot a Philadelphia police officer with a gun stolen from the police. Some seem to believe all is OK if only one percent of Muslims are radical or can be radicalized.

If there are 3 million Muslims in this country and one percent become radical, there are 30,000 bad ones. Is that OK with you?

AL BROWN
WINCHESTER

http://www.kentucky.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article62057857.html

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THE VIRGINIA GAZETTE

Who pays for this education mandate?

FEBRUARY 23, 2016, 3:46 PM

Last year the Obama Administration's Justice Department filed a brief concerning illegal immigrants. According to the brief, it is not necessary to "document" your citizenship to enroll in public schools. On the other hand, the James City County-Williamsburg School system is proposing a new budget and there is a debate over need for another school. How do these stories tie together?

The proposed budget spends over $10,000 per child in James City County. According to my research the "illegal immigrant" population in James City County is approximately 1.2% which means James City County residents pay approximately $1.3 million a year to educate "illegal immigrants." The math looks like this:

11,000 total students X 1.2% of "illegals" = 132 students in JCC schools

132 students X 10,000 cost per student = 1.32 million dollars spent

Obama's policy mandates the citizens of James City County educate the children of "illegal immigrants" who, by the way, chose to violate the sovereignty of our border. It seems to me that James City County should send Obama a bill for $1.32 million a year, to cover this unfunded- mandate, after all, border security is the federal government's job.

I have one question for those who stand for "illegal immigration." It is undeniable that the immigrant who comes to our country illegally has broken the law. If the powers that be allow this transgression, which law can I disregard, as an American citizen, without prosecution?

Richard K. White
Williamsburg

http://www.vagazette.com/news/va-vg-edit-letters-white-20160223-story.html

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Missoulian

Refugees: Remember, charity begins at home

February 23, 2016

Charity begins at home. Once the needs of all Montanans deserving assistance in securing proper shelter, nutrition, education and employment have been met, it may then be time to review accepting undocumented and unvetted individuals from foreign lands into our state.

Ravalli County commissioners understand that, since being purged of liberals in past elections. Yet, a band of the usual suspects from Hamilton are in the process of securing signatures in support of Syrian refugee settlement in our area, via a MoveOn.Org-type petition. Politics at the county commission in Missoula are different than Ravalli, as is the city council thought process and other liberal agenda in that community.

A strong voice to accept refugees from unknown backgrounds into our area is both disgusting and disturbing, but what else can be expected from the liberal Democrats, in any community? Let each county take care of the needs of those less fortunate within their boundaries, before accepting those from out of country. Most certainly, charity begins at home.

Dave Hurtt,
Florence

http://missoulian.com/news/opinion/mailbag/refugees-remember-charity-begins-at-home/article_9ef31b08-f1b1-5659-83ff-b8f8fc68a762.html

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Denton  Record - Chronicle

Letters to the editor, February 23

Pope should reserve judgment

There is a certain irony in Pope Francis urging America to accept more immigrants and warning us not to build a wall to keep them out. Vatican City, with a wall surrounding it, has some of the strictest regulations against immigration and has accepted one family this year — from Greece.

In the letter this paper published from Mr. John Ziegler, he states that the wall was built long before Francis became pope. True. But he is the pope. He can tear down that wall should he please. Further, Mr. Ziegler, in a letter that got everything wrong, says the pope did not attack Donald Trump directly but made a generic statement about people wanting a wall not being Christian. But the pope said specifically Mr. Trump is not Christian — a judgment he might want to reserve for our Lord on Judgment Day.

Paul Knopick,
Denton

http://www.dentonrc.com/opinion/letters-headlines/20160223-letters-to-the-editor-february-23.ece

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ASBURY PARK PRESS PART OF THE USA TODAY NETWORK

LETTER: Crack down on those who hire illegal immigrants
February 23, 2016

The recent comments of Pope Francis concerning our treatment of those who try to get across our southern border and candidate Donald Trump’s reaction are very disturbing.

Trump and other Republican candidates want to stop illegal immigration, which most of us want. However, most of those who come across our border come to get a job and provide food for their families. But, we do not enforce our laws that prohibit the hiring of illegals because most of our companies want cheap labor. We have effectively recruited illegal immigrants, and putting up a fence at the border, before we change our policies concerning their employment, would be criminal.

If the pope really understood the carrot we provide to entice people across the border, he would have offered much stronger comments. While I’m not a Catholic, I recognize that the pope is a very special and decent human being.

Until recently, companies could argue that they didn’t have a timely way of checking information provided by prospective employees, but we now an Internet-based system.

We must enforce our laws against hiring anyone who is here illegally. But we must not treat those who we enticed across the border to provide cheap labor as criminals. Those who have provided cheap labor and did not commit crimes while here deserve special consideration and some path to citizenship.

Larry M. Smith
Holmdel

http://www.app.com/story/opinion/readers/2016/02/23/letter-crack-hire-illegal-immigrants/80795814/
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GoUpstate.com

Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 3:15 a.m.

A meaningful solution

I think enough is enough, hearing about how we are going to have a wall to keep out illegal immigrants and how each candidate is going to stop illegal immigration. A wall is just one way we could combat part of the immigration problem.

What about immigrants who come here legally but overstay the visit, slip into oblivion and become illegal? Candidates, what's your plan to control and stop this real problem? Not every illegal immigrant is walking over the desert or swimming in. Many are walking in with valid papers, through customs and border control, but disappearing after allowed visits.

Take away the incentive to be here illegally and working. Create a vetting system for employers, people like me to check the status of a potential worker. If an employer fails to check the employee and is found to have an illegal worker, fine the employer $100,000 per offense. Don't give employers a slap on the wrist. Make it true pain, not just the cost of doing business. Employers hire these workers and often pay no taxes out of their pay, hurting all of us.

This is a very simple, commonsense approach. Why isn't our leadership fixing it? Don't be duped by the talk. Ask for solutions that are meaningful and make sense. I hope business lobbyists wouldn't oppose such legislation, nor our political leaders, as this would bring us true control.

Also, if it's about fear of terror, why no talk about a wall on our Northern border? I don't want such, but why are we only looking at one border and making such talking points?

This is just a humble opinion from an employer and immigrant. I came here legally and became a citizen who also served in the military and now lives the American dream.

Bob Speiss
Inman

http://www.goupstate.com/article/20160223/OPINION/160229911?p=1&tc=pg
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Pope Francis’ questioning of Donald Trump’s faith over immigration stance

By DP Opinion
The Denver Post
February 22, 2016


When the pope is willing to open Vatican City, which is defined as an independent country, to unlimited immigration, then he will have a right to criticize Donald Trump for trying to stem the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States. Until that time, the pope should confine himself to church doctrine rather than injecting himself into the U.S. presidential election.

John Dellinger, Aurora

This letter was published in the Feb. 23 edition.

http://blogs.denverpost.com/eletters/2016/02/22/pope-francis-questioning-of-donald-trumps-faith-over-immigration-stance-3-letters/40971/
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SunSentinel

Trump plan to secure borders mis-characterized by pope

FEBRAURY 22, 2016, 6:44 PM

I am neither a Donald Trump supporter nor a Catholic, but I am confused by the pope's recent comments in which he called into question Trump's Christianity.

Does anybody else find it odd that Pope Francis would question the faith of a candidate who supports the enforcement of immigration laws, but has not questioned the faith of those who support abortion on demand and the harvesting of baby parts?

Last I checked, the Catholic Church was against such practices. Although I admire and respect Pope Francis very much, it sounds like he should have reflected more before commenting. Perhaps if he looked into the matter more thoroughly, he would find that the U.S. has welcomed more immigrants and refugees legally into their country than any other country in the world.

The idea that an effort to prevent "illegal" immigration somehow precludes one from being Christian is unfair. I do not know the state of Trump's faith, but, in my opinion, the pope's recent litmus test is fraught with inconsistencies.

Of course, caring for those less fortunate is a Christian calling, but if the pope feels that protecting sovereign borders is not "Christian," than perhaps he should tear down the walls of the Vatican and allow refugees to take up residence in that state without restrictions.

Susan Meloff, Coral Springs

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/letters/fl-letter-pope2-0214-20160222-story.html

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OFIR VP calls on citizens to help stop "emergency clause" abuse

OFIR Vice President Richard LaMountain, in a recent letter in the Beaverton Valley Times, urges citizens to sign an initiative petition that would put a measure on the ballot to end the overuse and downright abuse of the "emergency clause". 

Used most frequently to stop citizen's from overturning, via a citizen's veto referendum, legislation they feel is harmful to the state, the "emergency clause" has now become the norm in ramming through controversial legislation.

Learn more at:   nofakeemergencies.com


 

In a time long, long ago, our national sovereignty came first

In a new US Inc. blog post that smacks of the sarcasm of disbelief, Rick Oltman explains the new guidelines by which immigrants are accepted into our country.

Read the full blog post:  http://usinc.org/give-me-your-tired-poor-and-militant-and-well-pay/

 


 

Gaping loophole creates a questionable business opportunity

The Midwives of El Paso

Feb 4, 2016

by Alana Semuels

 

EL PASO—The woman started having contractions after dinner in the apartment she shares with her husband and two children in Ciudad Juarez. An hour later, she was across the border, settling into a homey room at Maternidad La Luz, a midwife-run birthing center in El Paso that promises women of all nationalities the opportunity to have a natural birth—and a baby who is a U.S. citizen.

 

 

And that’s what the woman, Miriam, who asked not to use her last name, did, just 40 minutes after she’d arrived, when she gave birth to a baby boy named Alexis.

 

The birth was the culmination of months of crossing the border to come to her prenatal appointments every few weeks at Maternidad La Luz. It had not been easy: The visa that allowed her to cross back and forth between Mexico and the U.S. is expensive, and she had had to prove she had money in the bank and a reason to return to Mexico to be granted it. The lines at the border between Juarez and El Paso can take hours, and border agents are said to sometimes tear up the visas of women who are noticeably pregnant. Some women end up giving birth on the bridge between Juarez and El Paso because of delays, said Trish Gurley, the clinical director of Maternidad La Luz. But Miriam stuck with it because the opportunities her child would have if he was born just a few miles from his home were so much greater, she told me.

“It’s better here than in Mexico,” she said. “You can get grants to go to college, for example—in Mexico, if you can’t pay, you can’t go to college.”

For more than a century, people have crossed back and forth between Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, two cities side by side in the desert but separated by a border. Mexican residents cross into El Paso to work, to go to school, and to see family. They also come across to give birth, benefiting from the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees citizenship to all people born or naturalized in the United States, a fact that gains prominence in the American consciousness every now and then, as it did during the presidential race this past summer, when candidates including Donald Trump and Jeb Bush decried “anchor babies.”

It wasn’t always this way. In the early days of El Paso’s history, Mexican women living and working in Texas would return home to give birth, according to Heather Sinclair, a former midwife and a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas-El Paso who is studying the 20th-century history of childbirth, citizenship, and race in the border region. But as the value of U.S. citizenship grew, and the population of the border region continued to expand, Mexican women began going out of their way to give birth in Texas. Turned away by hospitals, many sought out midwifery practices, first ones run by Mexican Americans and then, when restrictions drove those women out of business, practices such as Maternidad La Luz founded and run by white middle-class women.

But one thing has always been true: Along the border, for many women the question of where to have their babies has been determined by giant, supra-national forces: the relative wealth and poverty of two countries, the relationships between them, and the immigration policies that dictate the terms of those relationships. And today, in an era of tightened restrictions and dramatic disparity in the opportunities available in Mexico and the U.S., what that means is that many Mexican women are desperate to give birth in El Paso, but only a lucky few are able.

Maternidad La Luz is a low-key place where 40 to 60 women give birth each month. Dated posters about the benefits of breastfeeding are hung in the hallways and women and their families pack the worn-down living room/waiting room, which has toys for children and small clay sculptures of pregnant women on the mantle.

Maternidad La Luz’s clinical director, Gurley, who is blonde with blue eyes, is a laid-back woman of nearly 40, the type you might see offering up yoga classes or working at a co-op in Brooklyn. Gurley was born in 1976. Presiding over her birth was midwife Shari Daniels, who that same year founded The Maternity Center of El Paso, the first midwife-run birthing center in the United States. It catered to both American and Mexican women, and was founded partly to ensure that low-income women of Juarez received prenatal care, even if they couldn’t pay. At the time, it was common for some hospitals to turn Mexican women away. Gurley’s mother, who is also a midwife, and Daniels were “tired of the hospitals calling all the shots so they all just decided, ‘We’re going to do this on our own,’” Gurley told me.

The women were seizing on a growing interest among American women in having homebirths. Many of their clients were undocumented women who couldn’t afford their services, and Daniels, who was operating out of her home, didn’t force them to. Instead she invited students from around the world to pay to study with her, using their fees to subsidize the clinic. The students flocked to the school to learn the practice of midwifery, which was legal in Texas at a time when it was outlawed in many other states.

Maternidad La Luz, which opened in 1987 as an offshoot of Daniels’s practice, is still one of the most affordable places for women who come across the border to El Paso to give birth. The cost of the whole birthing cycle—prenatal checkups, delivery and postpartum appointments—is just $850. (The clinic does not accept insurance.) The low cost is possible partly because Maternidad is still a midwifery school, and students—mostly white, middle-class women—come to Maternidad from around the world to learn the art of midwifery. They pay $7,750 in tuition or more, depending on the type of course they’re taking, and work for free.

Sarah Wetmore, 27, came to Maternidad La Luz from Toronto in February of 2015 to learn how to be a midwife. She’s presided over 28 births, including that of Miriam, the woman whose labor lasted just an hour and 40 minutes.

“People say this feels like home,” she told me, as she welcomed Miriam and her family for a post-partum checkup.

The new border controls changed the demographics of the people coming to El Paso to give birth.

Today, unlike 50 years ago, many women in Juarez with means are interested in crossing over to El Paso to give birth. U.S. citizenship didn’t used to confer the outsized benefits it does today, and children born in Mexico in the early part of the 20th century were potentially able to obtain land through a distribution program there, Sinclair, the UTEP doctoral student, told me.

But after World War II, when FDR’s Social Security Act had gone into effect, and after new welfare programs were added as part of Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society, American citizenship became more valuable, Sinclair said. At the same time, U.S. immigration, which had been relatively open until World War I, became more exclusive and U.S. policy began to favor potential immigrants who were highly skilled or who had family already living legally in the U.S., according to Paul Kramer, a professor of U.S. history at Vanderbilt. Both changes incentivized women to cross the border and give birth to ensure opportunities for their children even if they couldn’t access those opportunities themselves through traditional immigration channels.

In the 1940s and 1950s, when more Mexican women started coming across the border to give birth, they went to the homes of Mexican-born midwives who would offer them birthing services. Mexican midwives charged much less than the hospitals did, Sinclair said, and did not deport Mexican mothers, as some of the hospitals did.  

From the 1950s onwards, many local hospitals largely denied services to Mexican women coming across the border to give birth, according to Sinclair. Mexican women were generally allowed to work on the American side of the border, as were their husbands, but locals rejected the idea of allowing them to give birth there.

“It was this syndrome created by a society dependent on the Mexican poor yet who were fearful of citizens who are of Mexican descent because they’re seen as biologically inferior,” she told me.

Women would give birth in parking lots of hospitals in the hope that the emergency room would take them in, she said, and midwifery practices sprung up to create a safer, more welcoming place for women laboring through birth. They attracted a steady stream of clients, in part because of the migrants drawn to Juarez because of the jobs made available by the Border Industrialization Program, which in 1965 allowed U.S. factories to open on the Mexican side of the border.

It wasn’t until the 1980s, when the federal government required emergency rooms to treat patients (and women in labor), regardless of their ability to pay, that hospitals started to welcome Mexican mothers, Sinclair said.

Now, for those who can pay, there are a handful of other organizations in El Paso that offer maternity care. Even hospitals that once refused to serve people who weren’t American citizens are recruiting foreigners and offering payment plans, Sinclair said.

“The maternity ward is considered the cash cow. It used to be considered the place where they'd lose money. Now it brings in money for other departments,” she said. “So it’s actually becoming more mainstream now. It’s not this small cottage industry.”

The medical group Doctores Para Ti, for example,offers vaginal delivery to Mexican women for $5,450 and C-sections for $7,065, and recommends a local hotel that charges just $169 a week where they recommend that women stay for a few weeks before their due dates, presumably not to invite suspicion from border agents and to avoid last-minute border troubles during labor. “US Citizenship for your child offers your family the opportunity to live the American dream,” the group’s website says, reminding families that once they turn 21, U.S.-born children can sponsor family members’ green cards. Doctores Para Ti partners with Del Sol, a hospital run by the behemoth Hospital Corporation of America (which was founded by the father of former Tennessee Senator Bill Frist), to offer birthing services and even recruit women from across the border, Sinclair said.

For Trish Gurley, it’s not about money. She says she provides the service to ensure that women from anywhere can have access to natural births outside of a hospital setting, just like her mother did before her. At Maternidad, women don’t have C-sections and the babies aren’t taken away from their mothers after birth. Sometimes, mothers don’t even have IVs, because they’re encouraged to drink water and eat light foods when they go into labor.

“It’s really a service about helping women find their strength, be it through education or just having the ability to voice their opinions without the pressures modern medicine tends to put on women,” she said.

When I visited, Gurley was about to finish up a check-up with Venus Alvares, a 42-year-old mother of six whose belly was a round basketball under her fluffy white turtleneck sweater and who was due to give birth any day. Alvares, who works as an Avon saleswoman and whose husband is a factory manager, had already given birth to two children by the time she saw a TV ad for Maternidad La Luz 21 years ago.

“I wanted to try a different birthing experience,” she told me, in Spanish via an interpreter, about why she crossed the border to make an appointment at Maternidad La Luz when she got pregnant with her third child.

She liked that there were no needles at Maternidad La Luz, no fear of surgery, and that her family could be in the room with her when she gave birth. In Mexico, no one can be in the birthing room with you, she said, and Alvares said there’s always a fear that the hospital will switch your baby at birth by accident. She’s told family and friends about Maternidad La Luz and they too have started coming across the border to give birth. “I need a family discount,” she joked, when I talked to her after the impending birth of her seventh child.

Local institutions in El Paso might be warm to the idea of Mexican women who cross the border to give birth, but federal and state institutions are making the process more difficult.

When Sinclair, the UTEP doctoral student, moved to El Paso in 1993, she remembers walking across the bridges between El Paso and Juarez and looking down to see people crossing underneath. They’d wade through the Rio Grande and move back and forth between Mexico and El Paso, completely unhassled.

This began to change in 1993, when border patrol in El Paso implemented “Operation Hold the Line,” which deployed agents along the border and made it much more difficult for people to cross casually. Then, the now-defunct Immigration and Naturalization Services began to put up more barriers at the border, adding flood lights and fences and making it more difficult for people to cross back and forth between El Paso and Juarez without proper documentation.

Between 1993 and 2011, the number of Border Patrol agents at the U.S.-Mexico border jumped from 3,444 to 18,506 and the government added concrete and steel fencing between El Paso and Juarez.

In 1998, the U.S. government began requiring Mexicans who frequently crossed the border to re-apply for crossing visas called “laser” visas that were higher-tech and able to be scanned by a machine. Then, after the 2001 terrorist attacks, the border became even more difficult to cross, with more checks and longer lines.

The new border controls changed the demographics of the people coming to El Paso to give birth.

Lynn Arnold, a Texas midwife who ran an El Paso birthing center, Casa de Nacimento, between 1985 and 2011, told me that when she first started her practice, patients would “literally come in wet, from the river,” having waded across the Rio Grande. By the time she closed her practice in 2011, “they came over with their Cadillacs and their kids on cellphones, with gold and silver jewelry and high heels,” she said. The tightening of the border over time made it easier for the rich and harder for the poor to come across, she explains.

“Now you have to have the money to be able to get your visas and your passports and all the stuff to come over here,” she said.

She recently re-opened a high-end practice called The Retreat which charges $5,000 and up, depending on whether clients want a birth photographer or a doula, and offers personalized midwifery service in a sparkling home with copper baths and pristine furnishings. It’s not meant to handle the same volume as Arnold’s old practice, which saw more than 13,000 births, all of which are meticulously recorded in volumes and volumes of handwritten records she now keeps in her office.

Lynn Arnold at The Retreat, her new birthing center in El Paso (Alana Semuels / The Atlantic)

Venus Alvares, the woman who had given birth to four children at Maternidad La Luz, said she has seen the border controls get tighter in the 21 years she’s been coming across. Now, she said, some women bring proof that they have money in the bank and will sometimes still be refused a visa. And if border-patrol agents see that a woman is visibly pregnant, which is more likely for women who are walking across, rather than driving, they may refuse to let them pass. When border agents saw that Alvares’s sister was noticeably pregnant, they took her visa and cut it to prevent her from re-entering, she said.

“It depends on who is there when you cross, if they’re going to give you a hard time or not,” she told me.

Acquiring a Border Crossing Card is not cheap or easy. Mexican residents must present proof of their intentions to return to Mexico after their trip to the U.S., which usually requires at least $10,000 in a bank account, Gurley said, as well as a job and a school diploma. The best way to ensure that you won’t be stopped at the border, Gurley and others told me, is to bring proof that you’ve paid in cash for medical services and that you have the resources to continue to do so.

But even with the proper documentation, some Mexican women and their U.S.-born children have been denied some services by the U.S. government. In 2008, the State Department began denying passports to children with Mexican mothers whose births were presided over by midwives. A lawsuit made them change the practice, but some midwives say they still see the government trying to intimidate women away from crossing the border and having their babies in a birthing center. Trish Gurley says her clients would come in alarmed because they’d have received a letter from Homeland Security warning them that Gurley was under suspicion for selling false documents, which is not true.

“It triggers me because I know these women and I know these families,” Gurley told me. “They are not just looking for a birth certificate, they are here because they are not getting what they need somewhere else.”

It’s not just midwives who are running into trouble with a skeptical government. According to a lawsuit filed by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, some Texas counties are refusing to offer birth certificates to children of women who don’t have papers showing they’re in the country legally. If they don’t have those papers, women must present foreign driver’s licenses or national-identity cards, but some of the mothers left their countries when they were young and don’t have those cards, the lawsuit says.

“By denying the Plaintiff children their birth certificates, Defendants have created a category of second-class citizens, disadvantaged from childhood on with respect to, inter alia, health and educational opportunities,” the lawsuit argues.

It’s not surprising that the government restrictions affect the poor the most: Since the 19th century, U.S. immigration policy has focused on preventing people from migrating who might be a burden on the state, said Kramer, the Vanderbilt professor.

At the same time, wealthy and middle class families from around the world aren’t having as many problems accessing the benefits of the Fourteenth Amendment. Cities such as Los Angeles and Miami that aren’t that close to a land border now host birthing centers for the wealthy from around the world. Rolling Stone reported in August that some Chinese couples pay $20,000 to a service that puts them up in a “maternity hotel” in Los Angeles until they give birth, and those couples were buying a “middle of the road” option. (The total cost of birthing the baby, including flights and medical bills: $35,000.)

The Fourteenth Amendment was passed in the wake of the Civil War to ensure that former slaves would have access to citizenship and the benefits of being an American citizen. It’s now benefiting a very different type of person. That is perhaps not surprising—everything seems to have a price, even a green card, which the EB-5 visa program lets rich foreigners buy with a $500,000 investment, for instance.

But it’s one of the great stories of the border that as it has become more difficult for poor women who live just a stone’s throw away to cross and give birth, it has become more popular and easier for wealthy women from around the world to so. Just about everybody wants U.S. citizenship. But like much else, who receives it is another matter.

 

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