Immigration group seeks respect for the law

Letter date: 
Sunday, November 29, 2015
Letter publisher: 
Mail Tribune
Letter author: 
Cynthia Kendoll
Letter body: 

"If thought corrupts language," observed George Orwell, "language can also corrupt thought." And as in Orwell's time, leftists today corrupt thought by ascribing base motives and actions to patriotic citizens.

Case in point: An open letter issued recently by CAUSA, Oregon's self-proclaimed "immigrant rights organization," which alleges that opponents of illegal immigration are driven by "hate," propagate "dehumanizing and deceiving political rhetoric," and "pit communities against one another with racially coded messages."

You can read the letter at

Let's look at the letter's primary contentions.

On the national level, it maintains, "presidential candidates are engaging in hateful rhetoric that demean[s] our communities" and "inflame[s] racist and xenophobic attitudes." Though the letter does not name names, there is little doubt that it refers, mainly, to the statements of Donald Trump. But of what, exactly, does Trump's "hateful rhetoric" consist?

"A nation that does not serve its own citizens is not a nation," asserts Trump's platform ( "Any immigration plan must improve job opportunities, wages and security for all Americans." To this end, among other prescriptions, Trump would:

Require U.S. companies to hire first "from the domestic pool of unemployed" rather that from the ranks of foreign nationals living abroad.

Apprehend and deport illegal-immigrant gang members and return "all criminal aliens ... to their home countries."

Deny federal grants to "sanctuary cities" that obstruct U.S. agencies' enforcement of immigration law.

Are these policies motivated by "hate"? No. They seek, instead, to safeguard the lives, livelihoods and interests of American citizens — the people to whom an aspiring president owes his or her foremost responsibility.

On the state level, CAUSA alleges, "anti-immigrant forces are proposing statewide ballot measures targeting immigrant families." It is clear who CAUSA considers the leader of those "anti-immigrant forces": Oregonians for Immigration Reform, which I serve as president.

Our group spearheaded 2014's Measure 88, through which Oregon voters rejected illegal-immigrant driving privileges. And we are preparing measures for the 2016 ballot to make English Oregon's official language and to mandate that the state's employers, via the federal E-Verify system, assure their new hires are U.S. citizens or legal residents.

These two measures do not, however, "target" immigrant families. On the contrary, they would benefit those families. By promoting the use of America's "linguistic glue," the official-English measure would help immigrants assimilate to and thrive in their new country. And at a time when almost 120,000 citizens and legal residents in Oregon still are unemployed, the E-Verify measure would help assure that immigrants who come here legally are not kept from jobs by those who don't.

In 2016, we're confident that Oregonians will reject CAUSA's shrill misrepresentations. And we're confident they'll support sound proposals — like OFIR's official-English and E-Verify initiatives — that are predicated on love of country, respect for the rule of law and concern and compassion for Americans and legal residents.

Cynthia Kendoll is president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform