Letters and Op-Eds

Elizabeth Van Staaveren
Statesman Journal

A bill that would help Oregon's unemployed and underemployed citizens directly is languishing because House leadership will not allow a hearing on it.

Sponsored by Rep. Greg Smith, R-Heppner, and Rep. Jodi Hack, R-Salem, it is House Bill 2043, calling for employers to verify the legal status of new hires, by using the free federal E-Verify program prior to deducting expenses related to the worker's employment from Oregon taxable income.

Citizens should not have to compete with illegal aliens for jobs. Whose interests should come first with legislators – citizens or illegal aliens?

E-Verify has been operating successfully on a voluntary basis for over 10 years. It enables employers to verify that their new hires are legally entitled to work in this country. Currently, over 3,400 Oregon employers with five or more employees have enrolled in the program, and it enjoys a high approval rating from participants.

Recently E-Verify added an option enabling citizens to test their Social Security number in the E-Verify program to confirm accuracy – thus anyone can make certain in advance that one's standing as a legal worker is intact.

If legislators sincerely want to help jobless citizens, they should hear HB 2043 and pass this bill.


Cindy Land
The Register Guard

Jorge Navarro was particularly hateful in his April 8 guest viewpoint, “Jan Brewer, peddler of divisiveness, crosses line.” Former Arizona Governor Brewer came to Eugene to discuss important topics affecting all Americans, including members of the Lane County Republican Party. Rational people were exercising their First Amendment rights. There was no need for hostility and bullying.

The Lane County Republican Party was honored to have keynote speaker Brewer during our annual Lincoln Day Dinner. It was a sold-out event and a great party!

The Lane County Republican Party is here to find, develop and support people who will provide public policy for better jobs, better educational opportunities and better individual freedom for all Oregonians.

Gov. Brewer’s political courage is well-documented, and her perspective was interesting. She is a strong leader who supports our constitutional civil rights — especially the first 10 amendments, which serve to limit the overreach of big government and protect our individual freedoms. It is important to listen and learn from other leaders to build future success in Oregon.

One of her topics was her experience with the issue of immigration. The Statue of Liberty is the symbol of warmth and security, welcoming immigrants to the United States. People come to America looking for better lives, opportunities and freedom as they pursue happiness, which happens to be one our party’s goals in public policy. They sacrifice everything that is familiar to work for a better life for themselves and their families. They deserve our respect.

Drawn by the opportunities created by our constitutionally guaranteed individual freedom, legal immigrants are an investment in our nation’s collective future. They’re not coming for a handful of government crumbs. Supporting the brave people who waited in line, followed the law and passed the citizenship test is the right way to begin the American dream, regardless of country of origin.

Arizona is rich with blended cultures unique to the southwestern United States. “Everyone admits that the federal immigration system is broken,” said Navarro in his column, and Brewer agreed — she discussed the broken system, with California, Texas and New Mexico having their borders defended, but not Arizona, because of its federal lands, nearly 100 miles deep, being left open by the federal government, porous and undefended.

It is a dangerous problem. The feds put up warning signs advertising the danger, but continue to stiff-arm practical solutions. Brewer believes securing the border in Arizona is an issue of public safety and states’ rights. Senate Bill 1070, which Navarro criticized so strongly, simply provided enforcement of the federal 1996 Immigration Act passed by a bipartisan Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton. Brewer’s attempts to invoke states’ rights to keep Arizonians safe were vilified, leaving the people who live there at serious risk. Supporting legal immigration is the right thing to do. Reforming the current system is urgently needed, starting with securing our borders.

While Brewer was working to protect the citizens of Arizona, the Oregon Legislature passed a driver’s card law that was referred to voters by petition as Measure 88. Many people, fearful of being called the names Navarro used in his column, did not openly participate, and candidates refused to answer questions. Grass-roots groups like Oregonians for Immigration Reform took up the effort. In a state where we can barely agree on the time of day, Oregonians overwhelmingly voted no on Measure 88. Nearly 66 percent of voters voted to respect the law.

Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano left Arizona in turmoil when she escaped to Washington, D.C., to become head of the Department of Homeland Security. Brewer took over in Arizona as it was floundering. She led the effort to cut state spending to $8 billion a year from $11.5 billion. She rebalanced Medicaid in Arizona, expanding it to include the less fortunate with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level.

Brewer defended her support for Obamacare, calling it a “moral issue” when it was certainly not popular to do so with Republicans. Brewer is a member of the National Rifle Association and strong advocate of constitutional Second Amendment rights, but she vetoed a bill that would have allowed guns on college campuses. She supported her state’s version of national standards to ensure that children were getting an education for the global future. She supported equal rights for LGBT communities, stopping Senate Bill 1062 with her veto — a proposal that would have allowed business owners to refuse services based on sexual orientation.

Oregon deserves leaders with political courage. The Lane County Republican Party was proud to listen to Gov. Brewer as our guest as we continue to stand up here at home for better jobs, better educational opportunities and better individual freedom for all Oregonians.

Cindy Land is chairwoman of the Lane County Republican Central Committee.

Jerry Ritter
The Register Guard

Oregon’s Democratic legislators learned two important lessons from the November 2014 election — one they’ve ignored, and the other they’ve taken to heart.

Lesson No. 1, from the defeat of Measure 88 (driver cards), was they’re badly out of touch with the electorate on government assistance for illegal immigrants.

Lesson No. 2 was that neither that, nor the astounding arrogance of their misguided and failed attempt to change the Measure 88 ballot title, matters. Oregon has swung so far to the left politically their jobs are secure.

Accordingly, the introduction of Senate Bill 932 (state-funded scholarships for illegal immigrants) was predictable. Also predictable was the addition of an “emergency” clause, an all-too-common abuse, to prevent it from being referred to the voters. Illegal immigrants and their supporters can rest assured that as long as Democrats rule the state, SB 932 won’t be the last effort on their behalf.

Mark Krikorian

Democratic amnesty-pushers, and their Republican collaborators, keep telling us how popular “comprehensive immigration reform” is. But the actions of those same politicians suggest they don’t believe their own press releases.

For instance, 181 House Democrats signed on to an amicus brief defending the administration’s right to unilaterally amnesty millions of illegal aliens. So far, so good. But what about the others? “The 12 Democrats who left their names off are mostly centrists and members who will face tough reelection races next year.” But if amnesty’s so popular, why wouldn’t these vulnerable Democrats campaign on their support for it?

Then there’s Oregon. You’ll recall that in November the voters there overwhelmingly voted down a measure passed by the legislature to give driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. (Lest you think they’re right-wingers, in the same election they legalized pot and reelected their crooked Democratic governor, who has since resigned.) The reason the citizenry was able to kill the license bill is that the open-borders crowd forgot to include an “emergency clause” in the bill, which would have allowed it to go into effect immediately.

As you can imagine, the anti-borders crowd isn’t going to make that mistake again. So in their latest effort at helping illegal aliens — a bill that would give taxpayer-funded scholarships to illegal-alien students at state universities — they’ve inserted that crucial emergency clause. The only “emergency” is that voters might be given an opportunity to stop this latest giveaway of their money to intruders.

A new Rasmussen poll suggests that amnesty-pushers’ fear of letting voters express their thoughts on immigration at the ballot box is well-founded. Yes, you can ask questions in any number of ways and, yes, Americans are ambivalent about the issue. But when you ask the same question over time you get a sense of trends, and these don’t look good for the anti-borders crowd. Sixty-two percent of likely voters said the government is ”not aggressive enough in deporting those who are in this country illegally,” up from 56 percent in November and 52 percent one year ago. When asked, “Should illegal immigrants who have American-born children be exempt from deportation?” 51 percent said no, up from 42 percent in November. Also, 54 percent oppose automatic citizenship for children born to illegals, and 83 percent said people should prove legal status before receiving welfare.

Mencken wrote that “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” If only.

Lou Barletta
The Buffalo News

We have immigration laws in this country for two basic reasons: to preserve jobs and to protect national security. President Obama’s unlawful executive actions to grant amnesty to at least 5 million illegal immigrants violate both of those principles. Any objective review must find that his policies have placed the concerns of those who have broken our laws ahead of the interests of U.S. citizens and legal residents.

Obama’s systematic dismantling of our immigration laws began in 2011 with the so-called Morton Memos, which instructed immigration officials to ignore broad categories of people for deportation purposes. That policy was expanded the following year by his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA abuses the practice of prosecutorial discretion by halting the deportation of illegal immigrants and by proactively granting them work permits, if they arrived in the United States when they were younger than 16 and have been present for five years, among other criteria. These actions culminated in November 2014, when he acted unilaterally to grant amnesty and work permits to millions more who were already illegally present in this country.

Employment is difficult enough to find for millions of Americans who woke up this morning without a paycheck. On top of that hardship, Obama has now introduced millions of new applicants who will compete for jobs that are already scarce. It is difficult to imagine how such a policy is beneficial to American workers.

Worse, the president has laid out the welcome mat for anyone around the world who seeks illegal access to the interior of the United States. More than a decade ago, the 9/11 Commission warned us terrorists want two things more than anything: to gain entry into this country, and to be able to stay here. Obama’s policies make it unmanageable to screen all those who apply for amnesty, and therefore impossible to know who we are dealing with. This is an open invitation for terrorists to infiltrate our borders.

In recent contentious debate, Congress voted to extend funding for the Department of Homeland Security. I support defending this nation, but Obama’s position that the funding of his executive amnesty was more important than protecting national security was something I could not agree with. I cannot understand the argument that providing work permits and federal benefits to those who have broken our laws is more important than funding the defense of our country.

This is a president who said at least 22 times he did not have the constitutional authority to do what he eventually did – ignore the immigration laws enacted by Congress. This is a clear issue involving the separation of powers of the three branches of the federal government.

Thankfully, a federal judge in Texas has granted an injunction, which will allow a lawsuit brought by 26 states to proceed.

And so the question remains for the administration: Whose rights are more important? Lawful citizens and residents of the United States, or those who would willfully break our immigration laws?

Rep. Lou Barletta is a Republican from Pennsylvania.

Dwight L. Schwab Jr.
News Blaze

Here is a way for the Federal Government to save a lot of money - shut down the Border Patrol.

We may as well, because they are capturing and then releasing criminal aliens into our communities.

In 2013, the border patrol released 36,007 criminal aliens. Then in 2014, according to a report from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 30,558 criminal illegal immigrants were released by federal officials in the fiscal year.

These aliens were convicted of many different kinds of serious and even violent crimes. They include homicide, sexual assault, aggravated assault and kidnapping. There were also more than 16,000 DUI (drink or drug) driving convictions.

Most of the homicide convicts released were court-ordered, according to ICE.

Convictions of those released in fiscal 2013

193 homicide
426 sexual assault
303 kidnapping
1,075 aggravated assault
1,160 stolen vehicle
9,187 dangerous drug
303 flight escape
16,070 driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

While we are shutting down the Border Patrol, we should probably change the name of the Department of Homeland Security to the Department of Homeland Insecurity. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is managed by DHS. Information for this report thanks to The Washington Times.

Included in the fiscal 2013 figures, in February 2013, more than 2,000 criminal illegals were released due to the planned sequestration cuts. Remarkably, more than 600 of them were known criminals. The head of ICE, Sarah Saldana, who started there in August, 2014, said "it still concerns me."

Well, guess what, it concerns us too.

Saldana promised that overcrowding would no longer be the primary reason for releasing criminal illegals, and all pending cases will be approved by a top supervisor.

What difference will that make?

Speaking to The Washington Times, Saldaña said, "I am determined to continue to take every possible measure to ensure the public's safety and the removal of dangerous criminals." The illegals are required to have "supervised release" monitoring by federal authorities, but Saldaña said those efforts would be toughened to try to prevent them from committing new crimes.

Part of the problem is that some countries refuse to take back their criminal citizens. Republicans want to rewrite the law, forcing serious criminal illegals to be held longer. Additionally, they want the administration to deny visiting visas to the leaders of countries that refuse to take their own citizens back. The Obama administration refuses to do that.

Releasing these criminal aliens into our communities is dangerous. Law-enforcement officials say it endangers all Americans.

This ridiculous state of affairs tells criminal aliens there are no consequences for their illegal activities. If they are caught, they can be released within days.

Stephen Miller, a spokesman for Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, who has long battled the White House on immigration reform, told Newsmax, "The administration's immigration lawlessness knows no bounds."

Michael F. Burt
The World

I am all for eliminating needless paperwork but I am having trouble with this new law that was just passed by the Senate. "Automatically enrolling residents with driver's license records into the state's voter rolls."

How do they plan to distinguish between citizen and non-citizen? Their are thousand of resident aliens out there with drivers licenses, but they are non-citizens and can't vote. Right?

Oregonians, something is fishy here. When phrases like, "I care that they vote, and you should, too" and "removing technical barriers for voters," another phrase for eliminating the U.S. citizenship as a requirement to vote. You know what this means, right?

James B. Faulkner
Statesman Journal

In the discussions about immigration, I see no mention of Section 1 of Amendment XIV to the U.S. Constitution, which provides that anyone born in the U.S. is a citizen. Consequently, we have the situation of legal children of illegal parents.

This amendment was passed three years after the one to free the slaves and had a different intent.

A new amendment should provide that to be a natural-born citizen, a child should have at least one parent who is a citizen of the U.S.

Why is this not being included in any immigration reform?

Elizabeth Van Staaveren
Statesman Journal, Salem
Rep. Kurt Schrader's speech to Causa advocating open borders was an insult to U.S. citizens.
He spoke at Chemeketa Community College in Salem on Feb. 21, saying that the current debate on immigration policy is "the civil rights battle for the younger generation," likening it to the campaign by blacks for civil rights 50 years ago, and overlooking the fact that blacks were citizens – they were not illegally in this country.
He told the group that illegal immigrants have rights that are being denied to them. Thus he reveals his belief that immigration to the U.S. is a universal civil right that should be freely available to anyone in the world, without limits, and without any input from current citizens on the subject.
"Immigration reform is probably the biggest issue of the 21st century," he was quoted as saying. "It will decide who is in charge of this country for the next 20 or 30 years."
Honest polls show that U.S. citizens don't approve of President Obama's amnesty plans. Nor did voters in Rep. Schrader's district approve of driver licenses for illegal aliens here. They vetoed the proposal overwhelmingly in the November 2014 election.
Elizabeth Van Staaveren
Cynthia Kendoll
Statesman Journal

In the 2015 Oregon Legislature, Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer, has introduced Senate Bill 104.

If approved, the bill will require that all state agencies use the federal E-Verify program to ensure their newly hired employees are U.S. citizens or legal residents. SB104 has been referred to the Senate Workforce Committee, which should report it to the chamber’s floor immediately.

E-Verify, run jointly by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration, is free to employers and easy to use. It enables an employer to go online, enter the name and Social Security number provided by a new hire and determine — in the vast majority of cases, almost instantly — whether that hire is eligible to work in the United States. In Oregon, 17 county governments and more than 3,200 businesses use E-Verify.

Why should Oregon’s elected leaders enact SB104 and mandate E-Verify’s use by state agencies?

First: SB104 would help ensure our state government complies with the federal law prohibiting employment of illegal immigrants. This would be no mere symbolism; respect for law begins with government itself. At a time when many state and local governments — and even the president of the United States — actively undermine federal immigration statutes, passing SB104 would help place Oregon firmly on the side of law, order and accountability.

Second: The bill’s adoption would tell Oregonians, “Your state government will strive to ensure your hard-earned tax dollars pay the salaries of U.S. citizens or legal residents, and not the salaries of people here illegally.” This would be a profound and welcome message to the Oregon taxpayers still drained by the recent recession.

And last: By going the extra mile, says Sen. Thatcher, to use “tools which offer a better chance of hiring people who are in our country legally,” the state of Oregon would “lead by example.”

Such leadership could have a far-reaching impact. Today, some 130,000 Oregonians are unemployed. Close to an equal number want full-time work but can find only part-time work, or have become so discouraged they’ve stopped looking for work altogether.

Yet, according to studies by the Pew Hispanic Center and Federation for American Immigration Reform, between 97,000 and 120,000 illegal immigrants recently have held jobs in our state. If SB104’s adoption were to induce a good number of private businesses to begin using E-Verify themselves, it could prove critical, in the future, to putting many unemployed and underemployed citizens into jobs currently held by illegal immigrants. As well, it may help to discourage further illegal immigration to Oregon and to prompt illegal immigrants already here to leave.

SB104 would manifest respect for law. It would help ensure responsible stewardship of Oregonians’ tax monies. And it would provide an example, if emulated by private businesses, that could re-employ many jobless citizens. Oregonians should tell members of the Senate Workforce Committee – and their own state legislators – to support SB104.

Cynthia Kendoll of Salem is president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform. She can be reached at ofir@oregonir.org.