Letters and Op-Eds

Welcome to the OFIR Letters and Op-Eds section.  Here you can read Letters to the Editor and Op-Eds that have been published in various newspapers and news sources.

Michael Robinson
Statesman Journal

There seem to be many who are upset about the crackdown on illegal immigration.

These individuals assert the United States is a nation of immigrants, but deny the historical fact that controlled, legal immigration enabled our safe growth and prosperity.

These same people lock their doors at night and are careful who they invite into their homes because they enjoy their safety and privacy.

Perhaps they should open their doors to all and invite everyone to share their food and bank accounts. Perhaps when their homes were trashed and their bank accounts emptied they would realize the foolishness of an open, borderless welfare state.


Rick Johnson, Newberg
News-Register, McMinnville OR

U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici’s July 2 bulletin describes the Oregon congressional delegation’s visit to see first hand the 123 immigrant detainees at the federal prison in Sheridan. In the bulletin, she states twice, “It is not a crime to come to the United States and request asylum”

She is correct, but we do have rules on how to do that. My questions for Bonamici are: Did you ask these 123 detainees how they got into the country and at what point they requested asylum? Did they follow our laws in their effort to obtain asylum?

While there has been an uproar about how our southern border is being protected, Bonamici indicated the largest group of detainees is from India. She said these detainees were “planning to request asylum because they faced severe religious persecution in India.”

Rep. Bonamici: Just how did these people arrive here? Could they have overstayed visas or sneaked across the border, both illegal acts justifying their deportation?

The congresswoman then outlines the plight of two Spanish-speaking men, one who had been shot twice and the other who suffered an open leg wound. She says both men responded negatively when she asked if they had been seen by a doctor.

Rep. Bonamici: Did you bother to verify this claim with prison officials? If not, I am highly skeptical.

There was more to the bulletin ­ about ongoing issues with our southern border, the removal of children from their parents and our country’s heritage as a nation of immigrants.

I don’t dispute any of that, but do find it disingenuous. That’s because the problems date back generations, but our politicians use them to gin up their bases instead of working toward solutions.

I ask all members of the entire delegation to work both sides of the aisle and do the job you were elected to do.

Rick Johnson, Newberg

Richard F. LaMountain
Portland tribune
"Sanctuary policies," says Luis Balderas Villagrana, "do not ... encourage criminal disobedience" ("New PSU student body president a 'Dreamer," June 7). What?
Via sanctuary policies, state and local governments tell illegal immigrants — foreign nationals who have made a conscious decision to violate U.S. immigration law — that they'll work to shield them from the consequences of their lawbreaking. How can that do anything but encourage criminal disobedience?
"I see these policies," Balderas Villagrana continues, "as protesting the federal government on their (sic) neglect to fix our immigration system founded on racism and stereotypes."
First: The main "fixes" our immigration system needs are simple — to enforce existing laws that aim to vet foreign nationals before they enter our nation, and to remove foreign nationals who have circumvented that vetting or remained here after their visas have expired. 
Thanks to President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, both these fixes are in the works.

Second: Immigration laws are not "founded on racism and stereotypes." They apply equally, regardless of race, to all foreign nationals who seek to come here. Their purpose is not punitive, but to assure an orderly influx of immigrants which, in numbers and quality, accords with the needs of the American people.

Sanctuary policies mock Americans, their country and their laws. Be part of the solution: Sign the petition (at StopOregonSanctuaries.org) to help put a measure onto Oregon's November ballot that will enable voters to repeal the state's illegal-immigrant sanctuary law.         


Earle Culbertson
The Oregonian

If I commit a crime, I go to jail. "Commit the crime, do the time," no hesitation. Whether or not my family depends on me to survive is not a concern. They are just out of luck and nobody cares. But then, I am a legal citizen and must follow all laws. If I were an illegal alien, I could select only those laws that please me, and if I do get caught it is "inhumane" to take me away from my family.

At one time, we were a nation of laws. Now they apparently apply only to persons who are legal citizens. This is a very sad situation and there seems to be no interest in holding the illegal invaders to task. The persons guilty of putting their children in danger are the illegal invaders, not our government. If it is perfectly acceptable to separate families of legal citizens, why is it such a crime to separate families of illegals who break laws?

Tony Alvarez
The Oregonian

In regard to your June 7 article, " Debate over detained migrant kids heats up as number tops 10,000," about children being separated from parents illegally entering our country I offer this observation. An American citizen who leaves a child alone in a hot car for two hours will get arrested for child endangerment and have his or her kid taken away by Child Protective Services. Meanwhile, an illegal immigrant who drags their children through the hot desert with inadequate food and water only to make them an accomplice of violating U.S. border law is supposed to be rewarded with assistance from social services and maybe even sanctuary immunity from arrest.

It's these egregious double standards that are tearing our country apart.

Tony Alvarez, Gresham

Elizabeth Van Staaveren
Portland Tribune

This nation's history of generously helping so-called 'underdeveloped' nations to improve their lot is probably unparalleled among nations of the world. We do not need to feel guilty about limiting immigration to protect the viability of our nation and the quality of life for U.S. citizens.

"Dreamers" are much in the news now. I have a dream, too. I'm dreaming of my country and its citizens having a good quality of life — clean, safe cities; honest administrators; little congestion anywhere; pure air; plenty of good, pure water; thousands and thousands of acres of beautiful forests and farmlands; peace and trust among residents.

In my lifetime I've seen this in reality, or very close to, from 1923 to the mid-1960s, when things began to change. The major uncredited trigger for change was the immigration law of 1965 sponsored by Sen. Ted Kennedy that opened the gates to virtually unlimited legal immigration and set the stage for ever-greater population increases through tolerance and encouragement of illegal immigration.

A nation cannot exist without borders and tight controls over how many and which noncitizens may enter and reside. Today, we see the effects of overpopulation, caused not by high birth rates among native-born citizens, but by excessive immigration.

Public conversation is all about rising costs of land, housing, schools and education, overcrowded roads, traffic congestion, large numbers of destitute citizens living on the streets. These problems are mainly caused by overpopulation due to excessive immigration.

Nearly every day, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection report large-scale seizures of illicit drugs coming into the country from foreign sources. How many other shipments get through undiscovered? Even the "opioid crisis" is heavily involved in international drug trafficking aided by illegal immigration.

Congress is responsible for the immigration situation. Oregon's senators and most of our representatives always support increases in legal immigration, benefits for illegal immigrants, and lax-to-no enforcement, thus enticing further illegal immigration. See their immigration voting records on NumbersUSA's website.

We need mandatory E-Verify throughout the country to check on the employment eligibility of new hires, yet Oregon's members of Congress either oppose this worthwhile program or do nothing to promote it.

The federal E-Verify program has operated successfully now for over 10 years. Every worker can easily examine his/her own record in E-Verify and correct any errors that might be found. It's time to require use of the program by all employers. This one step would remove the greatest incentive to illegal immigration — jobs. There are plenty of citizens to do this country's work.

We should continue to welcome a reasonable number of immigrants, reducing the present annual level of over a million yearly to around 200,000, and giving preference to immigrants who have some special skill or attribute that might be wanted here.

This nation's history of generously helping so-called "underdeveloped" nations to improve their lot is probably unparalleled among nations of the world. We do not need to feel guilty about limiting immigration to protect the viability of our nation and the quality of life for U.S. citizens.

Oregon voters now have an opportunity to help stop illegal immigration by supporting Initiative Petition 22, Stop Oregon Sanctuaries, currently being circulated. If enough signatures are collected by the end of June, the initiative will be on the November ballot.

See the SOS website at www.stoporegonsanctuaries.org.

Elizabeth Van Staaveren is a co-founder and longtime member of Oregonians for Immigration Reform. 

Wayne Thompson

I found your June 3 article "Sanctuary Repeal Effort Challenged" interesting. I didn't know there was a petition circulating to repeal the sanctuary law.

I visited the website of one of the mentioned groups, Oregonians for Immigration Reform. It doesn't seem like a hate group to me. It seems like a common sense group. I gleaned a lot of information from it. In the recent past when our elected officials in Salem gave driver's licenses to illegal immigrants it was Oregonians for Immigration Reform that took the issue to the voters. And Oregon voters by almost a 2-to-1 margin said no driver's licenses for illegal aliens. Does that make Oregon voters haters ? Why should we extend any assistance, benefits, or rights to people who sneak into our country? I know the story, they come here seeking a better life. Half the world would like to come here for a better life. Do it legally. Get in line and wait your turn.

I also learned that illegal aliens cost Oregon taxpayers more than a billion dollars a year.

You can send Oregonians for Immigration Reform a donation that will cost you nothing. It's a registered political action committee. Visit its website, sign the petition.

Should we continue to remain a sanctuary state and coddle illegal aliens? Let the voters decide. That's called democracy. And democracy is hated by some liberals.

Lyneil Vandermolen
Gazette-Times, Corvallis

Ricardo Small's May 24 letter about immigration substituted cliches and emotion for critical thought.

First, no one says that people are illegal. This is a deflection used by no-borders advocates who can't logically justify millions of people illegally invading the U.S. I think Mr. Small would see the error of his logic immediately if a group of robbers broke into his house and asserted their right to stay because "no human is illegal."

Second, Small's indignation about OFIR (Oregonians for Immigration Reform) having an "O" in its logo because the University of Oregon already has one exemplifies the manufactured outrage of the left. Instead, he should question the worthiness of the Southern Poverty Law Center to tell him which "hate groups" to oppose. The Southern Poverty Law Center believes that mainstream American organizations such as the Family Research Council, Oath Keepers, the American College of Pediatricians, and various conservative and Christian organizations are "haters." Yet it ignores Antifa, the Nation of Islam, the Hamas-linked Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), and Hispanic racialist organizations such as LaRaza and MeCha. MeCha is dedicated to "re-claiming" the entire Southwestern U.S. for Hispanics, and its University of Oregon chapter convinced the university to threaten OFIR with a lawsuit over the use of the letter "O."

Its actions show that the Southern Poverty Law Center is trying to undermine and suppress American culture while tacitly advancing terrorists and racial identity agitators. Why would anyone take their word for anything? Given his attitude, I think Mr. Small should remind himself that no American is illegal and thank Rep. Nearman.

Richard F. LaMountain
The Register Guard

In a May 15 editorial, The Register Guard extended “kudos” to a group of University of Oregon students affiliated with the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlan, or MEChA. In a letter to the university’s general counsel, the MEChA students had objected to the “O” logo of Oregonians for Immigration Reform — a group that advocates policies to stem illegal immigration — as too closely resembling the university’s “O” logo.

The impetus for MEChA’s letter: OFIR’s recent designation by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “hate” group. MEChA’s letter, in turn, inspired the university to threaten to sue OFIR for trademark infringement.

We’ll discuss the SPLC and the logos in a moment. But first, let’s take a closer look at MEChA.

The “A” in “MEChA” stands for “Aztlan” — an imaginary nation comprised of a number of Western states including Oregon. Who, maintains MEChA, has the right to this territory?

“Aztlan belongs ... not to the foreign Europeans,” proclaims MEChA’s website (www.chicanxdeaztlan.org). “The Chicano inhabitants ... of Aztlan” are intent on “reclaiming the land of their birth... . We do not recognize capricious frontiers on the bronze continent... . We declare the independence of our mestizo nation.”

The kicker: “Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada.” Translation: “For The Race, everything. For those outside The Race, nothing.”

This is the group that accused OFIR of trying to “normalize a message of hate”? This is the group whose bidding is done by a university that trumpets fealty to “diversity” and “inclusion”?

MEChA’s letter to the university “bodes well,” posited the editorial, for its members’ “potential as future leaders.” Well, fine — if one considers good “future leaders” members of a group whose website advocates a race-based “reconquista” of Oregon.

As for the SPLC? It exists mainly to slander patriotic Americans and the organizations that represent them as racists and xenophobes. Via “distortion, smear, and character assassination,” writes Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Jerry Kammer, the SPLC “seeks to stifle one of democracy’s most vital functions, the vigorous discussion of important public issues.” Intelligent, informed people don’t take the SPLC seriously — and neither should The Register-Guard or the UO.

And OFIR’s logo? The May 18 Register-Guard printed the university’s and OFIR’s logos side by side. Take a look. Where’s the resemblance? Other than being the same letter of the alphabet, there isn’t any — which is why OFIR has informed the university it will retain its logo.

And now, finally, to OFIR itself.

OFIR is as mainstream as it gets. Its mission, simply, is to advocate for an immigration policy that puts respect for law and the interests of U.S. citizens first. Its members are upstanding, hardworking Americans from all walks of life — and include Hispanics and immigrants. If the SPLC considers OFIR members “haters,” it must think the same of the 63 million Americans, comprising majorities or winning pluralities in 30 of the 50 states, who elected a president who champions stronger border control and an end to illegal-immigrant sanctuary policies.

“Chicano is our identity,” MEChA members have declared. OFIR could not be more different. Its members believe our nation’s identity turns not on race, but on shared citizenship and devotion to country.

The MEChA students, the editorial stated, “chose to channel their ... frustration into a constructive response.” Well, Oregonians frustrated with sanctuary policies that mock American law and sovereignty can do the same.

OFIR activists are collecting signatures to qualify a measure for the November 2018 ballot that would enable voters to repeal Oregon’s illegal-immigrant sanctuary law. To find out more, visit www.StopOregonSanctuaries.org
OFIR is confident that its message of patriotism and respect for law — and, yes, of inclusion — will triumph over MEChA’s message of anger, separatism and rejection of those outside “La Raza.”

Richard F. LaMountain of Portland is a former vice president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform.

Cynthia Kendoll and Richard F. LaMountain
East Oregonian

On the issue of illegal immigration, what will it take for the Legislature to heed Oregonians’ will?

Just more than three years ago, in the November 2014 general election, Oregon voters rejected Ballot Measure 88 and the illegal-immigrant driver cards the Legislature had approved in 2013. The statewide margin was almost two-to-one; more than 983,000 Oregonians including a majority in 35 of 36 counties and 80 percent in Umatilla County voted no. The magnitude of Ballot Measure 88’s rejection made clear: The vote transcended the single issue of driver cards to constitute a broad mandate against all forms of state-government benefits for illegal immigrants.

Did lawmakers get the message? They did not. Ever since, they’ve legislated as though Ballot Measure 88’s outcome had been the opposite.

In 2015, lawmakers credentialed many illegal-immigrant university students to compete against American citizens for taxpayer-funded Oregon Opportunity Grants. In 2017, they extended Oregon Health Plan coverage to 14,000 additional illegal immigrants and broadened existing “sanctuary” protections.

And in the session that ended last month, via House Bill 4111, lawmakers granted illegal immigrants enrolled in former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program the right to renew Oregon driver licenses this despite the unequivocal outcome of Ballot Measure 88, via which Oregonians rejected driving privileges for all illegal immigrants without exception.

Earlier this month, Gov. Kate Brown signed HB 4111 into law. Oregonians have every right to be angry. What, they may ask, can we do to make lawmakers hear and heed the mandate of Ballot Measure 88?

One way is to send the same message again. Activists affiliated with Oregonians for Immigration Reform are circulating petitions to qualify a measure for the November 2018 ballot to repeal the “sanctuary” law which keeps Oregon’s police and sheriffs from using their money, personnel and equipment to detect or apprehend reputedly “non-criminal” illegal immigrants. If, by early July, 88,000 registered Oregon voters sign OFIR’s petition Initiative Petition 22  voters will be able to strike that law from the books.

If they did, that would be two citizen-initiated ballot measures in four years via which Oregonians gave a thumbs-down to laws that benefit illegal immigrants. Would lawmakers, then, finally get the message and stop introducing and voting for such legislation? Those with safe seats in liberal urban districts probably would not. But those in competitive “swing” districts ever cognizant that the next election is just around the corner may, perhaps in sufficient numbers to make the difference.

Ours is a government of, by and for the people. So send your elected representatives the message they need to hear. This spring, sign the IP 22 petition. And in November, vote to repeal the sanctuary law. By doing so, you’ll take another step to force our lawmakers to listen to us and to stop enacting policies that encourage illegal immigration to our state.

Cynthia Kendoll is president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform. Richard F. LaMountain is the group’s former vice president. To sign Initiative Petition 22, go to www.StopOregonSanctuaries.org