Letters and Op-Eds

Thomas Shipler
Statesman Journal

Right now, record numbers of Central American children are crossing the border into South Texas and turning themselves in to the border patrol.

They are banking on a policy that allows youngsters from Central American countries to be released to an adult already living in the U.S. while awaiting their hearing.

These youth are flooding in with the intent of exploiting this loophole in our policy and ultimately receiving amnesty. If all these children are allowed to remain in our country, it will place an additional drain on an already shrinking budget and more stress on available services.

While I sympathize with the children and the conditions they are fleeing, I believe our resources should be used to take care of our own citizens first. Unemployment is still high, services continue to be cut and the cost of living continues to rise. The government needs to take a hard stance and send these children home.

In addition, we must do whatever is needed to close our borders, even if this means calling out the National Guard. The increasing tide of illegal immigration must be stopped.

David Olen Cross

Continuing the trend, much of the illicit drugs killing Oregonians are produced, manufactured and smuggled into the state by drug cartels operating out of Mexico.

On April 24, the Oregon Medical Examiner (OME) reported 222 drug related deaths in 2013 were caused by the illicit drugs...

....Multnomah County had the dubious distinction of leading all 36 Oregon counties with 102 drug related deaths...

Putting these numbers into perspective, Multnomah County residents are just over 19 percent of Oregon's population of 3.9 million, yet the county experienced nearly 46 percent of the state's illicit drug deaths.

Not only last year, but over the last eight years Multnomah has led all Oregon counties in OME reported illicit drug related deaths...

The cartels' drug mules and dealers operating motor vehicles bringing drugs into the state or distributing drugs across the state need some form of identification like an Oregon driver's license or driver card to move around the state...

Senate Bill 833, driver card legislation passed during the 2013 legislative session, could literally give the cartel members operating motor vehicles in this state a get-out-of-jail-free card...

One common-sense solution to reduce future drug deaths in Oregon, case in point Multnomah County, which is now literally a drug den of death, is to make it more difficult for Mexican drug cartel operatives to access licenses.

Oregon's registered voters will have the opportunity ... to put the brakes on Mexican drug cartels' ability to distribute drugs in this state by voting "No" ..sending Senate Bill 833's driver cards for those who cannot prove legal presence in the United States into the archives of bad legislative history.


The Oregonian Editorial Board

Prospects for public safety, particularly in a few of Oregon's rural counties, became unreadable this week as a state task force predicted that Mexican drug trafficking organizations would not only continue to flourish in Oregon but expand by importing and distributing more heroin...

...Oregon already ranks fourth in the United States in the percentage of residents using illegal drugs, and the report, Zaitz wrote, also warns "the number of young users will likely grow as abuse of prescription opioids continues to serve as a gateway to heroin use." In 2013, pharmacists filled 1.9 million prescriptions for hydrocodone and another 1.1 million prescriptions for oxycodone – together accounting for 43 percent of all prescription drugs in Oregon.

...Heroin, by contrast, is easier to smuggle and has a far wider profit margin. Of Mexico sources supplying the trafficking organizations, Bovett was plain: "They've really ramped up heroin production."

...No schools or employment or business discussion can go anywhere if any of our counties is overrun by opportunistic, dangerous drug-trafficking organizations.


Rich Lowry

The seeds of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's shocking primary loss may have been sown in January.

That's when House Republican leaders insisted on floating a set of immigration principles ...

His offense was speaking in favor of an unspecified version of the DREAM Act....

...The message of the district's primary voters on immigration was, "We don't trust you."...

The insurgent candidate's opposition to amnesty was part of a larger anti-Washington and anti-Wall Street working-class message. Brat constantly linked immigration to jobs and wages. In his closing argument, he said, "Cantor continues to work with multinational corporations to boost the inflow of low-wage guest workers to reduce Virginians' wages and employment opportunities." ... He tweeted out a picture of Cantor posing with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg - an enthusiast for the importation of more foreign workers - with the caption "Eric Cantor doesn't represent you."...

The Brat message is one that all Republicans should heed....

If he and other members of the leadership had unmistakably slammed the door on the Gang of Eight bill or any permutations of it, he would probably still be on his way to the speakership. Now, the bill is dead, and so is his House career.


Jeani West

Why do we have laws in America? Obviously they are not needed.

We have a president of the United States who can change any law he chooses for political purposes, by executive order.

We have an attorney general of the United states who will not enforce the laws of our land.

We have a governor of the state of Oregon who does not follow the law.

We have an attorney general in Oregon who does not enforce the law and will not defend it in court.

We have millions of illegal immigrants in the Unities States who break the law every day and expect to be rewarded.

We have IRS workers who do not follow the law when it comes to paying taxes and they get a big bonus. (You try that.)

We have a senator from Oregon who signed a letter encouraging the illegal targeting of people of the opposing political spectrum. (Merkley, shame on you.)

We have the same senator voting against upholding the Second Amendment that prevents the United States from turning our gun laws over to the enforcement of the United Nations. (Way to go, Merkley.)

We have congressmen from both sides of the aisle disregarding the rule of law in order to benefit their own agenda.

Yet, they all think that they either deserve to be rewarded by re-election, or at the least treated with respect by the rest of us who believe in the law.

Enough said.


Jerry Ritter
The Register Guard

The Oregon Supreme Court decision March 31 certifying the original ballot title of the Citizens’ Veto Referendum on Oregon Senate Bill 833 (Strauss et al. vs. Rosenblum) was a black eye for Democrats in the Oregon House of Representatives.

It was Democrats who tried to change the ballot title and torpedo a legitimate democratic process. In so doing, they incurred the wrath of editorial boards across the state and thousands of Oregon voters, while bringing disrespect upon themselves and their institution.

SB 833, passed by the Oregon Legislature in 2013, was written to restore driving privileges to illegal immigrants by providing them resident driver cards.

Faced with the federal Real ID Act, the Legislature in 2008 grudgingly passed Senate Bill 1080. SB 1080 required proof of legal U.S. residency to obtain an Oregon driver’s license.

It effectively revoked driving privileges for undocumented immigrants. Immigrant advocacy groups and their allies in the Legislature soon began looking for ways around SB 1080. Gov. John Kitzhaber aligned himself with this effort.

What became SB 833 was concocted in 2012 by a secretive governor’s panel, the very existence of which was denied by state officials. Multiple requests for information on the makeup of the group, its meeting minutes and its agendas were also denied. The 2013 Democratic leadership then partially bypassed the normal legislative hearing process and rammed the bill through the 2013 Legislature. Every Lane County Democrat in the Legislature supported the bill.

On May 1, of last year, Kitzhaber symbolically signed SB 833.

It can only be surmised that the secrecy was prompted by concern that most (legal) Oregon residents would oppose the plan. Any such concern was tempered by the desire to appease certain constituencies and business interests, which was the real purpose of the bill.

SB 833 and the process through which it was passed did indeed provoke widespread anger around the state. That anger made it easy for opponents, led by Oregonians for Immigration Reform, to gather quickly more than enough signatures to force the referendum. That’s when the dirty politics really ramped up.

The original ballot title of the SB 833 referendum, written by the state attorney general’s office, reads, “Provides Oregon resident ‘driver card’ without requiring proof of legal residence in the United States.” No matter how legislators may try to spin the intent of SB 833, that is what the bill did. Accordingly, that ballot title is appropriate and accurate. Because at least some voters decide a measure based solely on its ballot title, the wording is critical.

But regardless of where they stand on the referendum, all Oregonians should be alarmed at what happened next.

Legislative sources advised Oregonians for Immigration Reform that a poll of likely Democratic voters showed solid opposition to the “driver card” measure. Facing the strong possibility of an embarrassing rebuff in November, House Democrats, joined by three Republicans, did an eleventh-hour maneuver called a “gut and stuff” they gutted House Bill 4054 of its original contents and stuffed the bill with new provisions.

The revamped bill contained alternate wording of the referendum ballot title: “Establishes limited purpose, duration driver card for individuals who prove Oregon residency, meet driving requirements.”

Gone was the reference to “legal residence in the United States,” an omission that would have defeated the whole purpose of the referendum. In a final act of arrogance, a provision was added prohibiting any challenge to the revised title.

Never before had the Legislature rewritten the ballot title of a citizen referendum. Clearly, it was done to undermine the purpose of the referendum and sway the outcome.

Newspaper editorial boards slammed the action, calling it “an act of mass lunacy,” “mocking the voters,” “blatantly trying to game the system” and “a breathtakingly cynical ploy,” among other unflattering characterizations.

Despite the uproar, HB 4054 passed the House with every Lane County Democratic representative voting “yea.” In part due to the uproar, smarter heads prevailed in the Senate, where the bill died the death it so deserved.

Because of the successful citizens’ referendum, now certified by Oregon’s highest court, Oregon voters will decide this November whether SB 833 is good or bad public policy. There are, understandably, strong feelings on both sides of the issue, and the campaigns are likely to be heated.

But the opponents of SB 833 followed the rules and played by the book. Legislators who should have known better tried to hijack the process and write their own rule book.

I will respect the voters’ decision, no matter which way it goes. One can only hope our legislators will do likewise and not repeat this sorry chapter in Oregon politics.

Jerry Ritter of Springfield works on legislative issues for statewide citizens’ groups, including Oregonians for Immigration Reform, of which he is a member

Elizabeth Van Staaveren
East Oregonian

Advocates of driver cards for illegal aliens (for example, letter of Virginia Garcia, May 28) prefer the term “undocumented” to the true legal and correct designation, “illegal alien.”

They would like people to ignore the fact that illegal aliens have broken the law by coming here uninspected instead of honoring the sovereignty of the U.S. and its right to control immigration.

Immigration laws exist in all countries for good reason. In the U.S. immigration laws are there to protect U.S. citizens from possible harm from enemies and from flooding of the labor market with adverse consequences for citizens.

Illegal and excessive legal immigration have already caused wage depression and loss of employment opportunities for citizens, also out-of-control population growth, overcrowding, and unsustainable burdens on taxpayers for education, health care and other public services.

Illegal immigration is estimated to cost Oregon taxpayers over $1 billion yearly. Employers hiring illegal labor profit in the short-term, but they are being heavily subsidized by taxpayers to the detriment of the whole society.

Unlimited access to cheap labor retards progress in mechanization which is needed to compete internationally. Other countries already are ahead of the U.S. in mechanization of agriculture. Hiring illegal labor is not only immoral and disloyal, it’s bad for business.

Lyneil Vandermolen
East Oregonian

The editor who accused the state representative campaign of racism displayed the fear of truth that plagues most journalists today. Illegal immigration is a behavior and a fact, not a race — and accusing a candidate of racism for warning against the effects of illegal alien driver cards represents a phobic avoidance of reality.

I have collected a sickening record of deaths, rapes, assaults, thefts, welfare fraud, ID theft, drug dealing and welfare fraud committed by illegal aliens in Oregon. Allowing driver cards to attract more of these problems is a matter of action and consequence, not race. Twisting this subject into a racial one indicates the editor’s attempt to change the subject. He refuses to admit that illegal aliens create problems. He even tried to dismiss illegal alien-on-American crime by claiming they hardly have anyone around them to assault but Americans. Poor dears.

Your editor believes it’s too racist, especially in politics, to mention the damage we suffer because of illegal immigration. Ironically, this new ethnic right to break the law doesn’t strike him as being a form of prejudice against citizens. All change agents try to shame aggrieved citizens into silence, but journalists who stoop to it are advocates for mob rule. I believe your editor should leave earnest candidates alone and instead, confront his own self-loathing, white guilt and reflexive indifference toward victimized Americans.

Lyneil Vandermolen


Richard F. LaMountain
The Bulletin

“Preventing millions of foreigners each year from violating our nation’s immigration laws with impunity,” commentator Michael Lind has written, “is the central law-and-order issue of our time.” How ironic, then, when the people charged with safeguarding that law and order — America’s judges — aid and abet the immigration lawbreakers.

In mid-April, as reported by The Oregonian, U.S. District Judge Janice Stewart ruled that “Clackamas County violated a woman’s Fourth Amendment rights by holding her in jail 19 hours after her case was settled to allow (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents to launch an investigation into her residency status.” The woman, Maria Miranda-Olivares, a longtime illegal resident of Oregon, had been arrested by county authorities for violating a domestic violence restraining order. Once that charge had been resolved and she had served her sentence, she was detained by the county at ICE’s request until its agents took her into their custody.

Stewart disapproved. Absent a warrant or court order from ICE, “upon resolution of (Miranda-Olivares’) state charges, the county no longer had probable cause to justify her detention,” the judge wrote. “The Fourth Amendment requires that seizures be objectively reasonable in light of the facts and circumstances … prolonged detention after a seizure, such as full custodial confinement without a warrant, must be based on probable cause.”

Stewart’s ruling defies common sense. ICE is staffed by more than 20,000 employees, many of them attorneys, investigators and field agents expert in immigration law, who have access to copious intelligence on legal and illegal immigrants resident in our country. Was it not, then, “objectively reasonable” and sufficient in “probable cause” for Clackamas County to respect ICE’s request that it hold Miranda-Olivares, present in the ICE database as a possible deportable alien, for a few extra hours until the agency had resolved her immigration status?

In response to Stewart’s ruling, the sheriffs of Deschutes, Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas and a number of other Oregon counties announced they no longer will honor ICE detainer requests. This will harm our state. Local law enforcement agencies, notes attorney Charles Smith, are “in a very advantageous first-line-of-defense position to help enforce the nation’s immigration laws on a day-to-day basis” and can provide ICE agents a valuable “force multiplier.” If Oregon’s police and sheriffs stop providing ICE their routine help, our state will become more inviting to illegal immigrants than it already is.

But Stewart’s ruling is damaging for an even broader reason.

“The social contract,” writes Mark Levin, a former chief of staff to a U.S. attorney general, “is a compact between and among Americans, not Americans and the world’s citizens.” And the Fourteenth Amendment and its “equal protection of the laws” clause, ratified in 1868 to assure citizenship to freed slaves, never was intended to apply to foreigners who intentionally violate our immigration laws.

Which means, among other things, this: Foreign nationals in our country are here at our sufferance. But when a judge cites the Constitution to defend those of them who are here illegally, he or she can create a de facto right for them to stay — which can encourage others to come here illegally as well. This subverts the rule of law upon which Americans’ sovereignty depends.

Stewart should post on her courthouse wall the legendary dictum of Robert Jackson, the late U.S. Supreme Court justice and prosecutor of Nazis: “If the court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact.” For absent a stable society undergirded by the rule of law — the kind of society that is weakened by judges who fetishize the “rights” of illegal immigrants — the grand experiment that is the United States of America will come, at last, to an ignominious end.

The Denver Post Editorial Board
The Denver Post

The decision by some Colorado sheriffs to release inmates wanted by immigration authorities may make legal sense, given recent court rulings.

But those decisions should be tempered by policies to protect the public from truly bad actors.

In recent weeks, a half-dozen Colorado county sheriffs said they would no longer hold inmates for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement if the prisoners posted bail or otherwise settled their cases.

ICE often asks local authorities to detain inmates suspected of being in the U.S. illegally. The hold lasts 48 hours (more if a holiday or weekend is involved) after they otherwise would be released.

However, recent court decisions made clear such action violates Fourth Amendment protections against detention without probable cause. The most recent was just a couple weeks ago in Oregon.

It is a valid civil liberties issue and sheriffs have sound legal reasons for not honoring the detainer requests.

But there are public safety issues to consider, too.

Some of those inmates may be truly dangerous and should be deported, but instead could be released. They could go on to commit serious crimes.

People in the Chicago area know a little about that. In 2011, Cook County commissioners passed an ordinance barring the county's sheriff from heeding ICE detainer requests.

Since then, there have been disturbing examples of authorities ignoring ICE detainers and — this is key — failing to even tell ICE they were about to release the inmates.

One case involved the killing last month of a 15-year-old girl who was shot, authorities say, by her obsessed ex-boyfriend.

Though there is a lot of blame to go around in that case, ICE clearly wanted the suspect and he should have been deported or at least put in federal custody before having the chance to commit the crime he is accused of.

The key is communication.

There should be strong cooperation between local and federal authorities so immigration officials can move quickly to detain the most dangerous individuals before they are released.

Such policies would take recent court decisions into account, but also would acknowledge the high priority of public safety.