Letters and Op-Eds

Jerry Ritter
The Register Guard

“Immigrant families illegally in U.S. fail to report as ordered,” a Sept. 26 article reported. What a shock!

Did anyone seriously believe the tens of thousands of illegal immigrants who recently flooded across our southern border would later show up to meet with federal immigration agents?

They’re staying, and joining the 11 million illegal immigrants already here. Some will come to Oregon, where Gov. John Kitzhaber is reported to have said they’ll be “welcomed with open arms.”

The governor and Lane County’s Democratic legislators want us to pass Measure 88 on Nov. 4 to help the immigrants by giving them driver cards. So do Oregon employers who hire illegal immigrants to work for low wages.

The state Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division found “no major difference” in the number of unlicensed and uninsured drivers prior to 2008 — when illegal immigrants could get driver’s licenses — and the later period when they cannot. Measure 88 would do nothing for “road safety” as claimed.

All Measure 88 would do, if passed, is lure more illegal immigrants to Oregon, where they will continue to take jobs, increase classroom sizes, put further strain on social safety nets and help keep a lid on wages. Vote “no” on Measure 88.


The Argus Observer

Editor’s note: Because she reported on the driver-card issue for Friday’s Argus Observer, Assistant Editor Leslie Thompson has recused herself from this editorial.

In a little over a month, Oregon voters will decide the fate of Measure 88, which upholds four-year driver cards for people who cannot prove they are legal U.S. citizens.

It’s an issue with passionate supporters and opponents. The Argus editorial board heard this week from four people who urged our support for the driver card. They made some good points, but at this time, we can’t endorse the cards.

Jeff Stone, executive director of the Oregon Association of Nurseries, and Matt Swanson, executive director of Service Employees International Union Oregon State Council, addressed the editorial board via conference call. They said that while the driver card issue stems from the federal government’s failure to address immigration reform — a fact they both lamented — the driver card is really about public safety, not immigration.

We don’t argue the fact that requiring everyone to pass written and practical exams before hitting the road makes Oregon’s highways safer. Tim Cable, from Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, further pointed out that driving in Mexico, where many of our immigrants come from, is culturally much different than driving in the United States. Requiring those who’ve moved here to learn America’s rules of the road would make our roads less dangerous.

But we can’t completely separate the driver card issue from the broader immigration issue. This card is specifically for people who cannot prove they are here legally.

Because of that, we wonder how many people would take advantage of the cards. Swanson estimated 80,000 people would benefit from the cards immediately. But if they are in this country illegally, why would they get a card that announces to all and sundry they are here without authorization? Why not just continue driving illegally? Which is the greater risk?

The United States is generous to immigrants. We are a nation of immigrants, and we have always welcomed people with open arms. It’s right there on the Statue of Liberty, quoting Ezra Lazarus’ “The New Colossus”: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

Yet somehow, even with our melting pot background, we are one country. We may welcome everyone, but we ask them to become Americans.

We agree the path to citizenship is difficult, and the immigration system needs reform. That does not, however, mean we should circumvent it or ignore it altogether, which is what the driver cards do. Why should the state of Oregon provide a legal driving option to people who are here illegally? Driving may be necessary, particularly in rural areas like ours, but make no mistake: It is a privilege, not a right.

Our view is based on the consensus opinions of the Argus Observer editorial board. Members of the board are Publisher John Dillon, Editor Kristi Albertson, and community member John Taggart.


David Olen Cross
FG Leader

The action by Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and the state Legislature on Senate Bill 833 last year granting some form of Oregon driver's license, called a driver's card, to foreign nationals illegally present in the state, passed in part under the pretense that the legislation was a matter of public safety...

But the law is disconnected from the reality of driving in our state, considering the previous dangers illegal immigrant drivers have posed to Oregonians...

Here are seven victims whose lives were extinguished violently and prematurely by those illegally present that chose to drive their motor vehicles impaired and recklessly.

Judyth Anne Cox, a 66-year-old wife and mother of two, was killed in Yamhill County on Dec. 3, 2007, by Mexican national Ignacio Merendon-Zerega. He had six prior DUIIs. Merendon-Zerega had no driver's license or insurance.

Carma Colleen Smith, a 52-year-old wife and mother of seven, was killed in Yamhill County on May 11, 2008, (Mothers Day) by Mexican national Leonel Zurita-Loeza. He was on a diversion for a previous DUII at the time he killed Smith. Zurita-Loeza had a driver's license but no insurance.

Justin Daniel Dougherty, a 23-year-old single father of one, was killed in Lane County on March 4, 2008, by Mexican national Eduardo Gutierrez-Duarte. He had a previous DUII in 2004. Gutierrez-Duarte had a driver's license but no insurance.

Kay Blaser, a 26-year-old mother of one, was killed in Clackamas County on Oct. 12, 2008 by Mexican national Fernando Deanda-Moreno. He had no driver's license or insurance.

Barbara Jean Bier, a 52-year-old wife and mother of seven, was killed in Polk County on Nov. 21, 2008, by Martin Martinez-Aguilar, who had a driver's license but no insurance.

Albert Lloyd Rowland, a 53-year-old homeless man, was killed in Multnomah County on May 13, 2010, by Mexican national Alvaro Lugos-Ponce, who had no driver's license or insurance.

John Zupan (founder of Zupan's Markets), a 66-year-old father of two, was killed in Multnomah County on Aug. 30, 2011, by Mexican national Edy Porfirio Reynoso-Ramirez. He had no driver's license or insurance.

Oregon voters concerned about future public safety of the state's roads can stop SB833 from becoming state law on Nov. 4, during the 2014 Oregon general election, by voting "no" on Measure 88.

David Olen Cross of Salem writes on immigration issues and foreign national crime. He can be reached at docfnc@yahoo.com.

Frank W. Brown
The Register Guard

It’s getting really hard to read The Register-Guard when it promotes illegal immigrant driver cards.

The Sept. 14 editorial (“Approve driver card measure”) only encourages more immigrants to come to the United States illegally.

It appears the editors need to get a dictionary so they can look up the meaning of the word illegal. Political correctness is going to destroy our country if it’s not forcefully countered.


David Olen Cross
The Bulletin

On Aug. 1, the Oregon Secretary of State’s Elections Office assigned a title to the Protect Oregon Driver Licenses citizen’s veto referendum #301, Ballot Measure 88, to put before the state’s voters Senate Bill 833.

The passage of Ballot Measure 88 by the state’s voters during the upcoming Nov. 4 general election would require the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles to grant to persons “who cannot prove legal presence in the United States” a special state-issued identification called a driver card.

In reaction to state driver card legislation, current and past members of county, local and federal law enforcement have stepped forward to oppose the ballot measure.

The Sheriffs of Oregon political action committee (SOO PAC), representing the political and public safety interests of the state’s 36 county sheriffs, has come out in opposition to the legislation with the following statement: “The Sheriffs of Oregon support the citizens veto referendum #301 to overturn SB 833. We urge a no vote.”

Tom Bergin, the current Clatsop County sheriff and past president of the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association, made these statements about the driver card legislation: “It is wrong to provide special driver’s licenses to people who cannot prove legal presence in the United States. For Oregon to do so, will only enhance the ability for criminal behavior, thus creating a larger risk to our citizens public safety. The Sheriffs of Oregon urge you to oppose this measure.”

Tim Mueller, recently retired sheriff of Linn County, made his thoughts known on driver cards: “Giving a person a driver’s license who is in this country illegally is flat out irresponsible and does nothing to protect the citizens of this state.”

Duane Fletchall, a retired Marion County sheriff’s sergeant, reacted this way to the undocumented being granted driver cards: “I am against Oregon Senate Bill 833, for two main reasons: the safety and tranquility of all (Oregon residents) and to protect our national security.”

Dave Driscoll, a retired Salem police officer, had strong words on whether those who could not prove legal presence in the state should be legally allowed to drive: “Fair and equal treatment under the law. This is just a way for a select group of people to avoid Oregon law. It will not increase traffic safety or lower the number of uninsured drivers in this state. If allowed to stand, Oregon could become a safe haven for criminals and terrorists.”

Moving beyond county and local law enforcement opposing Ballot Measure 88, opposition has arisen to driver cards for those not legally in the country from nationally recognized experts on federal immigration law enforcement.

Derek Hernandez, vice president of the Western Region National Border Patrol Council, the labor union representing U.S. Border Patrol agents, had this to say to Oregon voters on the granting of driver cards to foreign nationals illegally in the country: “You must oppose SB 833 in its entirety as this is a gateway to illegal citizenship and the benefits that one can receive from US citizenship.”

Michael W. Cutler, a retired senior special agent, formerly with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, expressed these thoughts on the possibility of SB 833 becoming an Oregon law: “Providing such documentation (driver privilege cards to illegal aliens) is wrong for a number of reasons beginning with national security and public safety. America’s immigration laws were enacted to achieve two primary goals, protect innocent lives and the jobs of American workers.”

Oregon voters should heed the wisdom of members of the law enforcement community across the state and nationally who have joined together with the citizens from Protect Oregon Driver Licenses to oppose driver cards for those “who cannot prove legal presence in the United States,” and vote no on Ballot Measure 88.

David Olen Cross of Salem writes on immigration issues and foreign national crime. He can be reached at docfnc@yahoo.com.

Richard Warren
The Register Guard

Passing Measure 88 won’t make our roads safer. What about illegal immigrants who fail or decide not to bother taking the written and road tests to qualify for driver cards?

What can we expect from drivers who consider auto insurance too expensive? And how many illegal drivers will resist outing themselves at Driver and Motor Vehicle Services offices?

Will those dangerous drivers decide to stay home and make our roads safer? Of course not. If they were concerned about the law, they wouldn’t be on the road to begin with.

No one should seriously believe that driver cards — official documents issued by the state — will be used only for driving. It’s clearly a nose under the tent for the state’s liberals/progressives to override the will of the citizens who have so far refused any official recognition of illegal immigrants.

Even more outrageous is the blindness of the political class — they’re obviously being used by the state’s commercial interests to strengthen and further facilitate the use of illegal labor.

Our current immigration laws should be reformed, but until then they should be enforced, and Measure 88 should go down — hard.


Elizabeth Van Staaveren

It's a terrible mistake to let sympathy for individual illegal immigrants set the standard for immigration law....

The U.S. cannot admit all the millions of people in the world who would like to live here. Considering the huge sums of money this country has spent for decades to help poor countries improve their economies and governments — plus all the technical assistance — we don't need to feel guilty about enforcing our immigration laws.

First and foremost, U.S. immigration law and policies should always prioritize the interests of citizens as a whole...

... Immigration laws are an important safeguard. All advanced countries have them, and if the laws are not enforced, citizens pay a heavy price.

Concerning the driver's card issue here in Oregon, there is no way the DMV can accurately certify the identity of an illegal immigrant. They do not have the necessary resources or expertise...

Because of our neglect in enforcing immigration laws adequately for many years, we now have a large illegal population. Public expenses in Oregon for their presence and their U.S.-born children run to millions annually for education, social services and health care — while they pay little in taxes due to low wages. The Treasury Department reports that illegal immigrants in the U.S. collected $4.2 billion in 2010 alone through the Additional Child Tax Credit program.

Accommodating illegal immigrants with benefits encourages more illegal immigration...

Illegal immigration has mushroomed in recent years because it's very profitable to employers. Providing official driver's cards to illegal immigrants is a government subsidy to their employers, stimulates further illegal immigration and dangerously downgrades the value of citizenship.

We need mandatory use of E-Verify for current work-forces and new hires...

Contrary to misinformation from supporters of illegal immigrants, Oregon and all states do have many options to help control immigration. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a former law professor, summarized them well in a Reuters article entitled, "Immigration isn't just a federal matter." One of the most useful tools is the restriction of driver's licenses to citizens and legal residents only.

Elizabeth Van Staaveren, a longtime member of Oregonians for Immigration Reform, lives in McMinnville.


The current ongoing immigration surge, call it an invasion, across the United States of America’s border with Mexico by persons who have illegally entered the country is really old news revisited to those who have been victimized by foreign national criminals in Oregon.

An unpublished July 1, 2014 report from the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) indicated there were 1,099 foreign nationals (criminal aliens) incarcerated in the state’s prison system.

Criminal aliens made up approximately 7.5 percent of the DOC’s July 1 prison population.

All 1,099 DOC criminal aliens had U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, detainers. A detainer placed on a prisoner is an indicator that the department believes he or she may be a deportable alien.

According to the DOC’s July numbers, 28 of the 36 counties in the state (77.8 percent) had been affected by at least one alien crime that resulted in a foreign national being sent to prison.

(See list “Counties” for where the crimes were committed.)

The types of crimes, the level of violence, being committed by aliens who have illegally entered the country against the state’s residents are the type of crimes one might read about in an international newspaper or view on a television news program covering Mexico or third-world counties located in Central and South America or the Caribbean.

(See accompanying chart and list “Countries of origin.”)

Criminal aliens incarcerated in the Oregon prison system by numbers per county, by types of crime or even by countries of origin, reveal only three elements of how foreign national crime has affected and victimized the residents of this state.

Another element of foreign national crime that has affected the residents of this state is the cost to incarcerate criminal aliens in the state’s prisons; 1,099 alien prisoners cost the state’s taxpayers $34.9 million per year.

Unfortunately for Oregonians, this seemingly unchecked wave of foreign national crime and violence has gone on in the state under watch of recalcitrant Washington, D.C. politicians like Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden along with Representatives Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Kurt Schrader, Peter DeFazio and Greg Walden; politicians whose political parties during their elected tenure in office at one time controlled all three elected branches of government (The Presidency, The Senate and The House of Representatives).

These congressional representatives have done nothing legislatively that has been passed and signed into law by President Barack Obama to stop the invasion of criminal aliens preying on the residents of this state.

With leadership comes responsibility, they as a collective group of lawmakers, it would be fair to say, have the blood of those victimized by alien criminals on their hands.

Oregon’s registered voters during Oregon’s Nov. 4, 2014 election will have a chance to replace six of the seven politicians who have failed to protect citizens and resident aliens from the invasion of foreign national criminals, only Sen.Wyden is immune from the voters’ wrath during this election cycle.

Along with the possibility of replacing their congressional representation, voters in the state also will have the unique opportunity in the fall to show their members of Congress leadership on immigration legislation by voting “no” on Measure 88; legislation that would grant Driver Cards for those who cannot prove legal presence in the United States; legislation if it were to pass that could send a new wave of foreign national criminals into the state.

James Angus

Measure 88: I agree with The Oregonian editorial board; it is a little "weird" — as the board mildly put it — to reward driver's cards to immigrants who come here illegally ("Oregonians should support driver card measure," Sept. 3). Allowing them to drive "legally" only facilitates more lawbreaking...

...Even the statistics quoted by driver card supporters like Juan Carlos Valle ("Measure 88 will mean safer roads," Aug. 24) fail to show unlicensed illegal immigrants are any more likely to cause accidents than our licensed and insured citizens....

Jim Elvin
Statesman Journal

The Oregon voters have made some real mistakes in the past and one of those mistakes was to elect John Kitzhaber as our governor.

He has no respect for the concerns or wishes of those who elected him, whether it’s the capital punishment that we voted in, the illegal alien nightmare or anything else that doesn’t fit his thoughts in the matter.

He must think that we should be proud of him while he misrepresents us, wearing blue jeans and cowboy boots.

He welcomes the illegal alien here for us to care for with our tax dollars. If he was doing that with his own money, that might look a little better except for the illegal aspect, which he has a tendency to ignore. But there again he has little concern for our wishes or our money.

The one thing that Kitzhaber is very good at is making his opponent, Dennis Richardson, look like the best choice in November.

The Oregon voters surely aren’t dumb enough to re-elect a governor who refuses to represent us.

We’ll be OK if we can just get the voters with a little common sense to vote.