Letters and Op-Eds

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.


Morrow County Sheriff Kenneth W. Matlack
East Oregonian

I would like to express my opinion as to how some of the illegal immigration issues in Morrow County have gotten to this point. These comments are my personal beliefs after nearly 40 years of law enforcement experience mostly in Morrow and Umatilla counties.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Morrow and Umatilla County experienced the start of the great southern border migration.¡¨ This transformation was largely due to the advent of circle pivot irrigation systems. With circle pivot irrigation and new water sources, farming turned a mostly desert environment into nothing less than a Garden of Eden.

The soil and growing season could grow just about anything. I believe it changed our agricultural system dramatically and was a new source of income and employment. We had development in the abundance of more crops and newly developed processing plants in both Morrow and Umatilla counties where farming and farm work became a new source of income both for owners and the labor force that worked the industry. The traditional transient legal Mexican laborers became a labor force of growing numbers of illegal workers that were staying and working illegally.

The blame of the long-term problem with illegal immigration rests with our federal government from both political parties.

I am not against illegal immigrants, I am against illegal immigration. We are a nation of laws and I have sworn an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution and laws of my state. So have many other thousands of elected city, county, state and federal officials, including all elected members of our federal government.

Do I blame the illegal immigrants for coming to America for a better life? No. Did they break the law? Yes. Do I expect 12 million people to be deported for their crime? No.

I see the need to develop a federal plan that allows legal status for a path for citizenship and temporary work, and removal for the many others who have committed crimes or acts that would disqualify them from being allowed to stay, and they should be deported. This cannot occur until our southern border is secure and it should be our No. 1 priority. This is not to say that the border must be totally secure before the process can begin but the border must have the resources, manpower and equipment to secure it now. This is not a separate issue as expressed by the editorial board, it is the issue.

Our broken immigration system is the responsibility of our federal government and they are responsible for the problems we have today.

I have been to Washington, D.C., two times in the last couple of years to participate in a program where various sheriffs from around the country went to speak to radio talk show audiences from across the country on the issue of our broken immigration system in efforts to get our federal officials to make real bipartisan change.

We have held our own news conferences, but I believe the word has not been spread enough to educate the voters who have the power to cause the changes that need to be made in our broken immigration system. It is obvious our federal government has not done its job and more voters need to be informed that this is the time for bipartisan change to repair this broken and inadequate system.

I have been to the southern border in Texas twice to see for myself what it is really like, and attended training by Texas law enforcement officers and others dealing with border crime from drugs, human smuggling and gross and heinous crimes being committed by the Mexican cartels. Many of our large illegal marijuana grows in the national forests in Oregon, including Morrow County, are Mexican drug cartel-run. It continues to grow with many of our national inter-city gangs being paid and directed by the cartels as well.

Measure 88 would be part of the problem. It is a local effort to fix a federal problem. Some states try it this way and others try it that way. It is a jerry-rigged system to fix a problem that has been caused by years of neglect by our federal government and it needs to be comprehensively changed but not by measures like 88.

Vote no and make real change happen by holding our representative¡¦s feet to the fire by our votes and new bipartisan leadership to make the changes we need now.

Jim Ludwick
Statesman Journal

 “By summer’s end,” The Washington Post reported last month, President Obama may “announce new measures that would potentially allow millions of illegal immigrants to remain ... without fear of deportation.” Under consideration: Legal residence and work permits for those “closely related to U.S. citizens or those who have lived in the country a certain number of years – a population that ... could reach as high as 5 million.”

Alarmed? There’s still time for Oregonians and citizens across the nation to dissuade the president from this action.

As with his 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program – which lifted the threat of immediate deportation from more than half a million illegal immigrants under the age of 31 – Obama’s new measures would turn upon an expansive interpretation of “prosecutorial discretion.” That discretion enables law enforcement officials to throw the book at serious criminals but apply leniency toward lesser scofflaws.

Obama’s new measures, he has contended, would shift enforcement from reputedly “law-abiding” illegal immigrants to (as per The New York Times) “felons, violent criminals, public-safety and national-security threats.”

Historically, however, prosecutorial discretion has been applied to individual lawbreakers on a case-by-case basis, not used to exempt broad categories of them from punitive action. Indeed, notes Bloomberg View columnist Megan McArdle, “At the point at which you are announcing that the law won’t be enforced against a large fraction of the people who are violating it, you are effectively rewriting that law.”

And if Obama shields 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation (a group more numerous than the population of Oregon), he will not just rewrite law, but compromise the very purpose of our immigration system. For that purpose is not merely to deport the worst of the worst. It is to assure a rational, orderly process by which foreigners are admitted to our nation and to determine the conditions and duration of their residence. It is to deter illegal entry. And it is to remove those who come or stay illegally.

Though not all illegal immigrants are violent, all of them harm the integrity of that system and the Americans it was created to serve. Illegal immigrants take jobs from and depress the wages of U.S. citizens – especially youths, minorities and unskilled workers. “The average illegal alien,” writes Jon Feere, legal policy analyst of the Center for Immigration Studies, “violates numerous statutes” beyond those pertaining to immigration, notably, “laws related to employment such as perjury and identity theft.” And illegal immigrants and their U.S.-born children burden tax-paid social services (including, to the tune of more than $1 billion, those administered by Oregon’s state and local governments, according to a recent estimate of the Federation for American Immigration Reform).

The interests of Americans – not illegal immigrants – should drive our nation’s immigration regime. This week, Oregonians should contact the White House and tell President Obama to scuttle his plan to reward immigration lawbreakers.

Jim Ludwick of McMinnville is a founder of Oregonians for Immigration Reform and served as president for 10 years. He can be reached at ofir@oregonir.org.

To contact President Obama, go to whitehouse.gov or call (202) 456-1111.

Laura Mulligan
The Register Guard

I agree 100 percent with Greg Williams about driver’s cards being special privileges (letters, Aug. 25). We’ll be voting Nov. 4 on whether to allow illegal immigrants to have the cards.

Williams’ letter also got me to thinking about voting rights. We need to be able to prevent illegal immigrants from voting by asking for photo ID and by validating all votes.

People who say they can’t afford an ID card can take a bank statement, tax return, etc., to the Driver and Motor Vehicle Services to prove they can’t afford an ID card and DMV will issue them a card at a cost based on a sliding scale.

For those who can’t mail their ballots, I’m sure we can find volunteers to go to their homes and pick them up.