Letters and Op-Eds

Welcome to the OFIR Letters and Op-Eds section.  Here you can read Letters to the Editor and Op-Eds that have been published in various newspapers and news sources.

Richard F. LaMountain
Herald and News

So says Michael Bloomberg’s Partnership for a New American Economy, whose 2016 study — “The Contributions of New Americans in Oregon” — was lauded by Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek in her recent call to legalize many so-called “undocumented” workers.

PNAE’s study, however, is riddled with omissions and misrepresentations that mask illegal immigrants’ harm to Oregonians. Here, let’s take a fuller, fairer look at the subject.

One of PNAE’s flimsiest assertions is that Oregon’s illegal immigrants “are not displacing the U.S.-born, but rather taking jobs few Americans are interested in pursuing.” (PNAE puts the state’s illegal-immigrant population at 114,000; the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates for immigration reductions, recently set it at closer to 170,000).

And, no doubt, industries like food preparation, custodial services and construction, which rely heavily on lower-skilled manual labor, teem with workers here illegally.

This is not, however, because Americans “won’t do” physically arduous jobs. Rather, in great part, it’s because a huge influx of low-skilled illegal immigrants — almost three-fifths of whom, labor economist Vernon M. Briggs Jr. has estimated, possess less than a high-school education — has so depressed wages for those jobs that U.S. citizens can’t afford to take them.

As per Americans and manual work, “the only catch is that they want to make enough money to actually be able to support their families,” writes David Seminara of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). “When companies offer attractive wages and benefits, they generally have little trouble finding American workers to do jobs in...fields like garbage collection, custodial work and dishwashing.”

But when illegal immigrants overinflate the labor supply, take jobs, and drive down wages and benefits, they contribute to environments like Oregon’s — where, the state Employment Department reports, some 200,000 people, the great majority of them American, are officially unemployed, “marginally attached to the labor force” or part-time workers wanting full-time work.

Also consider: Many illegal immigrants’ wages are paid “under the table” in cash, are not reported to government authorities — and, so, go untaxed.

In Arizona in one recent year, CIS’ Steven Camarota has estimated, fully 45 percent of illegal immigrants were under-the-table workers. Nationwide, Dennis Sebayan has reported on SmartAsset.com, this illegal immigrant-fueled “underground economy” may recently have cost American governments, including those in Oregon, $450 billion to $500 billion a year in lost revenue — revenue that could have been used to fix roads, fund schools, and balance budgets. All this, however, goes unmentioned in PNAE’s study.

So too does the fact that illegal-immigrant workers remit much of their U.S. income to relatives abroad. In one recent year, the World Bank has reported, foreign-born U.S. residents sent some $32 billion to Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador — the home countries, estimates the Migration Policy Institute, of two-thirds of the United States’ illegal immigrants.

If the money sent abroad by Oregon’s illegal immigrants was earned instead by the state’s U.S. citizens, it would remain here to help support our own people and fuel our own economy.

And last: “We are currently unable to calculate the amount spent on any public benefits or services used by [Oregon’s] undocumented immigrant families,” laments the PNAE study.

Well, its authors must not have tried too hard. In a detailed report published in December 2012 — the most recent to examine the subject in depth — the Federation for American Immigration Reform determined that Oregon’s illegal immigrants and their U.S.-born children used $1 billion-plus a year in state- and local-government services but that illegal immigrants paid only $77 million a year in state and local taxes. In the four years since, their cost to Oregon’s taxpayers almost certainly has increased.

The facts are clear: Illegal immigrants take jobs from Oregonians and siphon money from the state’s private economy and government coffers. In response, Oregon’s state government operates under a self-imposed “sanctuary” law that impedes illegal immigrants’ removal.

In the 2017 legislative session, lawmakers should repeal that law and pass a new one mandating that the state’s employers use the federal E-Verify system to vet new hires for proof of legal U.S. presence. This would help shrink Oregon’s illegal-immigrant population — and reduce its drain on our unemployed and underemployed, our overall economy, and our taxpayer-funded government services.

Donald Rose, MD
Hood River News

Your editorial of Jan. 7, “Support Sanctuary,” requires a response. I think that making Hood River a sanctuary city would be a mistake for the following reasons:

1. Apparently, climate change would be addressed. Climate has always changed and is minimally influenced by mankind. Solar activity does seem to be the major factor for climate change. Being a sanctuary city or not has no effect on climate.

2. I agree that we should not turn our backs on men and women here from other countries, but they should be here legally.

3. Local resources should be used to enforce immigration law. Our country has the right and responsibility to decide who will and who won’t enter our nation.

4. Federal funding should be revoked to sanctuary cities. Why should funds be given to cities who thumb their noses at U.S. law?

5. Deportations of felons should be automatic. More stringent measures should be taken for illegal reentries of everyone. Consider the case of Kathryn Steinly in San Francisco, who was shot and killed by an illegal alien, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who had been deported five times.

6. A wall would be a great help to prevent the huge influx of people entering our country illegally.

The decision whether Hood River should be a sanctuary city is too serious a matter that should not be determined by the handful of people on the city council. If the issue is seriously considered, it should be made by the citizens of the Hood River area.

David Olen Cross

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler declaring the city will continue to be a sanctuary to foreign nationals illegally in the country (undocumented immigrants) is promoting a culture of corruption that has historically resulted in the residents of the city being plagued by foreign national crime.

On Nov. 1, 2016, an Oregon Department of Corrections report exposed that Multnomah County was No. 2 in foreign national crime with 210 — 21.8 percent — of the state's 964 criminal undocumented immigrants incarcerated in the DOC prison system.

Here is the DOC numerical breakdown of the 12 types of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants against Multnomah County residents: 35 rapes; 34 sex abuses; 33 assaults; 26 homicides; 24 robberies; 23 drug offenses; 11 sodomies; 10 burglaries; seven driving offenses; three kidnappings; two vehicle thefts; one theft; and one other type or a combination of the preceding crimes.

All 964 criminal undocumented immigrants previously mentioned in the DOC prison system had U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement detainers placed on them.

Important facts: The recidivism rate for DOC prisoners is 24.4 percent. Eventually most of these criminal undocumented immigrants will be released from prison. Some of them will return to Portland even if ICE officials remove them from the country.

So Mayor Wheeler, to be responsible and accountable to the public safety of the residents of Portland, should reject any ideas about declaring Portland a sanctuary city and not fully cooperating with ICE officials, because undocumented immigrants, far too many of them criminals, should be removed from the United States by federal immigration officials.

Bend Bulletin Editors
The Bulletin

Some colleges and universities across the nation have declared themselves “sanctuary campuses.” The meaning of that designation can differ from campus to campus, but the movement arises from concern about what the election of Donald Trump might mean for students who are in this country illegally.

In Oregon, the state’s three largest public universities — the University of Oregon, Oregon State University and Portland State University — and Portland Community College have declared themselves sanctuary campuses to similar degrees.

For instance, UO has said it “will not facilitate immigration enforcement on our campus without a warrant or a clear demonstration” of exigent circumstance, the campus police will not act on behalf of federal officials enforcing immigration laws, and the university will not share the immigration status of any student without a court order.

In a way, Oregon is already a sanctuary state. State law prohibits any law enforcement agency in Oregon from taking action against someone solely because they are a foreign citizen and in violation of federal immigration law.

The largely symbolic “sanctuary campus” designation should worry Oregonians anyway, as it signals a willingness to defy federal law in the event that state law changes.

Earlier this week, Gene Pitts, the chairman of Portland Community College’s board of directors, resigned because he objected to the sanctuary designation. He said it “places risk on the backs of the 40+ percent of the college’s students that receive Pell grant monies (and ultimately on the college’s federal funding), and alienates a percentage of voters as we approach the college’s next bond campaign,” according to The Willamette Week. The federal government might withhold funding if colleges defy the law.

That’s a potentially high price to pay for what is little more than a symbolic gesture of opposition to the country’s new president.

Edwin Tabibian
The Bulletin

Regarding the letter by Janice Dolan: Her grandfather’s story is inspirational, but is a statistical sample of one, and therefore irrelevant. Nonetheless, he presumably entered this country legally. So too did my father. Her grandfather may have had difficulties in the old country, but MY father managed to escape the Turkish genocide, the murder of over 1 million Armenians during the First World War. Then he returned to help other members of his family escape as well.

He went to school here and earned a law degree while working nights in an automobile factory. But he came here LEGALLY. I capitalize the word in the probably forlorn hope that those who refuse to acknowledge that resistance to illegal immigration is not a form of racism but an adherence to the law, and is something which seriously impacts our society negatively.

But I think it is more likely that people who continue to carry on about the election result are just looking for something to whine about. There really is a difference between legal and illegal immigration.

Get over it, folks.

David Olen Cross
The Bulletin

One of the detrimental impacts of having a significant foreign national population residing in the United States, be they legally or illegally present in the country, is crime.

The scope and impact of foreign national crime on the U.S. citizens and residents of this country is virtually going almost unreported in mainstream news sources online, on television or in hard-copy newspapers.

For example, information on foreign national crime has been readily available to any mainstream news source that has the ability to do a simple search on the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons inmates statistics website under the heading of inmate citizenship.

Here is what a search of the U.S. BOP website reveals on the number and percentage of criminals living in the country illegally in federal prisons on Oct. 29 (the most recent crime numbers available).

Inmate citizenship:

• Mexico: 27,815 inmates, 14.6 percent.

• Colombia: 1,702 inmates, 0.9 percent.

• Dominican Republic: 1,685 inmates, 0.9 percent.

• Cuba: 1,228 inmates, 0.6 percent.

• Other/unknown countries: 9,516 inmates, 5 percent

• United States: 149,194 inmates, 78.1 percent

• Total inmates: 191,140

Putting these preceding inmate numbers and percentages into words:

On Oct. 29, there were 41,946 inmates in the country illegally in the BOP prison system. They were 21.9 percent of the federal prison population; more than 2 in every 10 prisoners were in the country illegally.

The 27,815 Mexican nationals in the BOP prison system were a staggering 66.3 percent, almost two-thirds, of those in the country illegally in federal prisons.

An interesting fact, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons breaks down the federal prison population into 13 types of offenses.

A significant fact, one of the top five offenses, the reason BOP inmates were incarcerated in federal prisons, was for immigration crimes. There were 15,580 inmates in the BOP prison system incarcerated for immigration crimes; they were 8.7 percent of the federal prison population.

Although data are less readily available, any mainstream news source can contact a state senator or representative in the Oregon Legislature representing the news sources’ state senate or house district and find out the number of foreign nationals in the Oregon Department of Corrections prison system.

On Nov. 1, 964 people in the country illegally were incarcerated in DOC prisons. They were 6.55 percent of inmates in the state’s 14 prisons. At 778 inmates, Mexican nationals were 80.71 percent of those illegally in the country in DOC prisons. The four Canadian nationals were 0.41 percent of criminals in the country illegally in DOC prisons.

The fourth estate, defined as “the public press,” needs to exercise due diligence in reporting on foreign national crime so governmental officials responsible for law enforcement at a national, state and local level will be held accountable in enforcing laws written to protect U.S. citizens and residents from criminal aliens that have and continue to invade our country.

Dennis Ortega

FOLLOW THE LAW: It should be obvious to all that Portland (and Oregon) should not be a sanctuary city for the simple fact that it is willfully ignoring and breaking federal law when it refuses to report and relinquish illegal aliens to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This unlawful act has been confirmed by the Department of Justice's Inspector General through a published memorandum finding that the practices of sanctuary jurisdictions violate federal law.

Simply put, this act of lawlessness is anarchy. If all the citizens of Portland decided to selectively break a law they did not like the city officials and police could hardly complain as they too are the same law breakers.

The worst corruption of Portland as a sanctuary city is that by spitefully defying coordination with ICE, Portland is helping to thwart the deportation of illegal criminal aliens. This includes those illegal aliens who are known murderers, rapists, thieves and narcotic traffickers. This means that Portland is partially culpable for any citizen that is murdered, raped or has acts of violence perpetrated upon them by an illegal alien who was not previously detained and turned-over to federal authorities. This act of unlawful defiance by Portland leads to violence against its own citizens. And further, this defiance weakens the sovereignty of the United States of America. Unforgivable on all counts.


Cal Graham

LAWLESS CITY: To declare your city a sanctuary city is to declare your city a lawless city. Politicians will pick and choose what laws to enforce or ignore. Ignoring federal laws will have local consequences in increases in crimes and an influx of undesirable people looking for a hiding place. Even terrorists will seek a lawless sanctuary city.

The federal government has a responsibility to enforce our laws and that should include cutting funding to lawless sanctuary cities. It should then increase U.S. Marshals in those cities to enforce the law and keep us safe.

Christopher Dunn
The Register Guard

The guest viewpoint by Eric Suchman (“Five reasons why Eugene should be ‘sanctuary,’ ” Dec. 1) is an insult to intelligence.

That Suchman is teaching this despicable nonsense to our children is another example of why Oregon public schools are an absolute embarrassment.

Checked immigration was great for Native Americans who welcomed this trade. Unchecked immigration produced the Trail of Tears that led to Oklahoma, where my Chickasaw family is from.

To escape abject poverty, my grandma and her kids thumbed a ride to Oregon, coming here homeless and destitute to look for work in agriculture.

Suchman is teaching our children that citizens like my family should have to compete for a job with cheap illegal labor, claiming that depressing our wages is great for the economy.

My mother went to work full time when she was 13 years old so she could attend high school. She should not have to compete for an education with the children of illegal aliens.

Suchman accuses anyone who disagrees with his deluded diatribe as being “hateful” against race. That’s the argument of someone who has no business teaching children. Our schools are now filled with people who are indoctrinating our children with this despicable diatribe.

No, Eugene should not become a sanctuary city for cheap illegal labor that has hammered the working poor like my Chickasaw family.

Our funding should be addressing the poverty of Native Americans, but it is being diverted to supporting cheap illegal labor at our expense.

David Olen Cross
ALBANY Democrat-Herald

One of the detrimental impacts of having a significant foreign national population residing in the United States, be they present legally or illegally, is crime.

The scope and impact of foreign national crime on U.S. citizens and residents is going almost unreported in mainstream news sources.

For example, information on foreign national crime is readily available to any news source by simply doing a search on the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons inmates statistics website under the heading of inmate citizenship.

Searching the website reveals the number and percentage of criminal aliens in federal prisons on Oct. 29, 2016: México 27,815 inmates, 14.6 percent; Columbia 1,702 inmates, 0.9 percent; Dominican Republic 1,685 inmates, 0.9 percent; Cuba 1,228 inmates, 0.6 percent; aliens from other or unknown countries 9,516 inmates, 5.0 percent.

Totaling up the numbers, the 41,946 criminal alien inmates were 21.9 percent of the federal prison population.

The 27,815 Mexican nationals were a staggering 66.3 percent of the criminal aliens in federal prisons.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons breaks down its inmate population into 13 types of offenses. Immigration crimes were one of the top five offenses. The 15,580 inmates incarcerated for immigration crimes were 8.7 percent of the federal prison population.

The press needs to exercise due diligence in reporting on foreign national crime so that governmental officials responsible for law enforcement will be held accountable in enforcing laws written to protect U.S. citizens and residents from criminal aliens who have continue to invade our country.