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.

Gary Will
Statesman Journal, Salem
The earth population today is well over 7 billion, and very quickly heading toward 8 billion people.
I live in a nation that is struggling with opposing philosophies regarding open borders and globalization.
I cannot understand for the life of me how anyone can suspend their practical, logical, and ultimately basic common sense mind, and support such nonsense.
Considering the conditions that exist in the world today, it is not at all unreasonable to assume that at least one half of the current world population would be more than happy to trade its current life conditions with what they perceive to be the standard of living in the United States.
Without a great amount of mathematical prowess, that would mean 3.5 to 4 billion people walking across our borders and saying, "Here I am take care of me."
Really? Are liberals purely idealistic or just plain stupid?
- Gary Will
Jim Speirs
Portland Tribune
Is this too simple to understand? If I take my family to Disneyland and sneak my kids in without paying, then get caught, would it come as a surprise if my family is escorted out of the park? Would that be considered cruel or unjust? Would my underage kids be allowed to stay and wander throughout the park with no money or supervision? 
Can I go to any casino in operation in America and be allowed to play Texas Hold 'Em without ante money? Would there be no "buy-in" and would I be allowed access to the same "pot" if I didn't ante up the cost of entry? 
Trying to figure the logic here and to find some sort of analogy. So far ... it hasn't worked. 
Jim Speirs
North Portland
Alan Gallagher
Capital Press
Subtitle:  DACA recipients, and their parents, have no respect for rule of law, and believe that they may pick and choose which laws to obey.
The Capital Press has advocated for total amnesty for over 12 million illegal aliens, for DACA, for DAPA, and has said, of illegal immigrants that, in their place, “we would do the same.”
These are all wrong positions, legally and morally. Systematic breaking of American law should not be rewarded. Illegal aliens and DACA recipients have broken American law by illegal entry or overstay, and violated American law every day — every day — by using false/forged/stolen documents to obtain work and benefits, by lying and using false documents on I-9 forms, by tax fraud, driving without licenses and insurance, and so on. These are not minor crimes, and are deeply corrupting to America’s Rule of Law.
American citizens are properly prosecuted and punished for such crimes. DACA recipients, and their parents, have no respect for rule of law, and believe that they may pick and choose which laws to obey. This is a deeply corrupting and immoral idea. Perhaps they learned from Mexico’s deep corruption that laws have no moral content, but are only something to be dealt with. They fled Mexico, but brought its corruption here.
Complicit in this are many Americans, who likewise are corrupted by using and defending illegal aliens, especially as workers when the employers know they are illegal. These are crimes when committed by American citizens, and are no less crimes, and moral wrongs, when committed by illegal aliens or complicit Americans. Over and over again, the Capital Press justifies law-breaking under a plea of “necessity.”
Please note that President Trump did not “end” DACA, a temporary program which would have expired on its own terms. Instead he temporarily extended it, which passing the responsibility to Congress to approve it or not. When you say that “Congress must act,” Congress has acted: we have an immigration law. It is illegal aliens and law enforcement who have broken the law and/or failed to enforce the law, and who “must act.” Many readers of the Capital Press know illegal aliens, and know precisely of what I write: every day they break the law, and they teach their children by example to break the law.
The 1986 Amnesty was attended by huge amounts of fraud, and extended by outrageous courts for decades for those who were never intended to be eligible. DACA already is attended by huge amounts of fraud, by lack of vetting and interviews, and by approval of those recommended for denial. We are told to be sympathetic to “children” who have “no connection with their home country,” yet over 50,000 promptly visited their home countries with Advance Parole, and then obtained Green Cards based on these visits.
I know many Mexican families here, who retain deep family ties with Mexico. In decades of working with legal and illegal Mexican families, I know of scarcely any who lack deep ties to Mexico, and those who can go there regularly to visit. The “no connection” idea is a myth or lie.
Moreover, DACA children in the U.S. have had the benefit of a free education, some through college, and free health care (not available in Mexico) and years of welfare benefits, which would give them significant advantages if they returned to Mexico, which needs such educated people. Many have abused the U.S. tax system, claiming unqualified dependents, illegally claiming Earned Income Credits, using false/stolen Social Security numbers, and so one. We watch DACA recipients easily leave home to go to college, but then are told they cannot go to Mexico, the major destination of American tourists and where thousands of Americans live. Mexico is an advanced country, No. 12 in the world in GDP. In spite of its very real problems (Have you all visited Chicago or Baltimore recently?), it is an incredibly rich and beautiful country, which needs educated citizens for its culture and economy. We would not be sending DACA recipients or illegal aliens to Hell, but to a great country, which needs and wants them (in spite of the potential loss of billions of dollars in remittances, $120 billion in total, $23 billion to Mexico).
Mexico exports its problems to the U.S., and receives $23 billion in remittances annually, while U.S. employers gain cheap employees. The economic advantages to some are clear, but it is morally wrong.
Wayne Hatch
The Register Guard

I find it rather sad that there are so many of our state and local politicians, local leaders, and citizens who want to support illegal entrants over citizens of the United States.

I know that in the liberal town of Eugene it is considered heresy to make a statement like that. However, as Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said, we are a nation of laws that need to be followed.

Since many of our elected leaders support not following immigration laws today, what laws will they not want to follow tomorrow? Maybe tomorrow there will be no penalty for robbery, murder, rape, speeding, abusing a child, not following affirmative action or allowing a pet to overheat in a car.

For the benefit of all the citizens of the United States, we need to follow all the laws of our country. If you don’t like a law, do what President Trump just did with Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival executive order. He asked Congress to take a look at it and add or modify the law as it saw fit.

Please don’t allow state and local politicians and leaders to spend one cent of our tax dollars fighting for something that clearly needs to be addressed by Congress.

David Luck
Portland Tribune
Reading the "My View" in the Aug. 24 Portland Tribune by Rep. Diego Hernandez, it seems anything he does not agree with is "hate speech." He also apparently believes that only his views are protected by the First Amendment. It is worth noting that the people that Oregonians for Immigration Reform are focused on are people who have violated federal law (in many cases, multiple laws): The "immigrants" Hernandez sides with are lawbreakers, pure and simple, and must be subject to the laws of the United States of America like the rest of us. 
Hernandez goes on to attempt to tie requiring adherence to the laws of the land to "white supremacy" — a ludicrous position on the face of it. The bottom line is that folks who support groups like OFIR are "racist" only if "criminal" is a race.
That Hernandez believes he should be able to dictate to the Tribune what it does and does not print certainly says something about him.
David Luck
Lake Oswego
Jerry Ritter
The Register Guard

State Rep. Phil Barnhart’s Aug. 28 polemic, “Rolling back initiative rules bad policy,” is rife with false accusations, inaccuracies and hypocrisy and begs a response.

Barnhart’s central theme is that allowing initiative petitioners to begin gathering signatures before a ballot title is established is bad policy. He has a point, but his argument ignores history — including factors that led Secretary of State Dennis Richardson to propose the change. And while Barnhart slams Richardson for meddling in the “direct democracy” process, he has repeatedly done so himself.

Ballot titles are frequently contested by those who oppose a proposal. This delays signature gathering, sometimes to the point of there being insufficient time to qualify a petition. It’s an effective “first strike” against a proposal with which one disagrees.

It’s also a tactic that has amounted to outright sabotage. A classic example was Measure 88 in 2014 to refer the Legislature’s ill-advised illegal immigrant driver card bill (Senate Bill 833) to the voters. Barnhart joined his fellow Democrats in supporting an 11th-hour underhanded political move called a “gut and stuff” (House Bill 4054) for the sole purpose of eviscerating the ballot title.

This was done in an attempt to defeat the whole intent of the measure. Never before had such action been taken to undermine a citizen referendum. Any legislator with a sense of the public pulse knew what the voters’ verdict on the driver card issue was likely to be.

Barnhart calls Richardson’s proposal a “cynical ploy.” That’s exactly one of the many unflattering terms used by newspaper editorial boards in condemning HB 4054. The Oregon Supreme Court eventually upheld the original ballot title and the voters overwhelmingly rejected SB 833.

Barnhart labels Oregonians For Immigration Reform a right-wing extremist group engaged in “a crusade against people of color.” That’s nonsense. OFIR wants America’s immigration laws to be enforced. Barnhart, by his actions, seems to disagree. OFIR’s membership comprises ordinary people from varied walks of life and political affiliations concerned about over­population, jobs and respect for the law.

Barnhart also claims that these groups “have repeatedly failed to qualify their ballot measures.” OFIR was the driving force behind Measure 88. Given the nearly 1 million voters who supported OFIR in soundly rejecting SB 833, Barnhart is way out of line with his “extremist” accusation.

More recently, Barnhart joined his fellow Democrats in passing House Bill 3464 this year to implement a second “sanctuary” law for illegal immigrants. The bill was introduced within a week after OFIR filed Initiative Petition 22 to allow voters to weigh in on Oregon’s existing sanctuary law, Oregon Revised Statute 181A.820. A frivolous “emergency” clause was attached to the bill to prevent another referendum. Are we to believe HB 3464 and its timing were purely coincidental?

In the wake of Measure 88, legislators began to take stronger actions to prevent citizen oversight of decisions that they know would likely be opposed by most voters. Accordingly, every illegal immigrant support measure since then has included an “emergency” clause. Barnhart has endorsed all of these.

Barnhart hammers Richardson’s proposal but voted “aye” on Senate Bill 229. This bill made major changes to current protocol and specifically targeted the referendum, now underway, of portions of the $550 million health care and medical tax package passed by the 2017 Legislature (House Bill 2391).

Because “emergency” clauses cannot be attached to tax measures, Barnhart and his fellow Democrats had to find another way to disrupt this particular referendum. This included moving the voting schedule to January instead of November and giving Democratic legislators majority power over the ballot title. This action was also criticized by editorial boards.

Barnhart claims to be “proud of our process of direct democracy,” which gives “everyday voters the ability to make or amend laws.” I believe he means that — as long as he agrees with a particular example of “direct democracy.”

He also states, “The process has been abused and exploited by self-serving politicians ... .” He should know. That abuse includes “gut and stuffs,” specifically targeted rule changes, bogus “emergency” clauses and direct legislative interdiction against citizen initiatives and referenda. Phil Barnhart has participated in all of the above.

Given the foregoing, I find Representative Barnhart’s accusations unjustified and galling.

Jerry Ritter of Springfield works on legislative issues for three statewide organizations, including Oregonians for Immigration Reform.

Elizabeth Van Staaveren

There is no acceptable reason why Oregon should not fully cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. We are suffering the consequences of Oregon's misguided 1987 law (ORS 181A.820) that restricts cooperation. It should be repealed, and Initiative Petition IP 22 can do that.

The Center for Immigration Studies has issued a five-page fact sheet on immigration enforcement and community policing that proves there is no evidence of a "chilling effect" from local police cooperation with ICE. New DOJ testimony confirms the claim is spurious.

Legislators should put the safety and well-being of citizens first, not dream up protections for illegal immigrants such as HB 3464's "privacy" for illegal immigrants. Every Democrat in the Oregon Legislature but one (Sen. Betsy Johnson) voted to put the "privacy" of illegal immigrants above the interests of citizens.

Illegal, unlimited, unrestricted immigration will quickly destroy a nation. ICE is responsible for interior enforcement of our immigration laws. It's essential to give ICE agents full cooperation and let them do their job. They should be thanked for the difficult, dangerous work they do on the public's behalf.

Richard F. LaMountain

Oregon's population already tops 4 million. Between 2015 and 2016, Portland State University's Population Research Center has calculated, that population grew by more than 62,000, or 1.6 percent - a rate that will double the number of people here in slightly more than 40 years.

A half-century ago, Oregon Gov. Tom McCall had a message for residents of neighboring states. "Come visit us," he implored. "But for heaven's sake, don't come here to live."

McCall understood that a rapidly expanding population would stress the state's air, water and land. But today's "environmentalists?" Not only do they eschew sustainable population growth, they champion that part of the population whose presence here is the most preventable — and violates U.S. law to boot.

In a recent joint statement, Doug Moore and Erica Stock — representing, respectively, the Oregon League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club's Oregon chapter — lambasted the efforts of Oregonians for Immigration Reform to stem illegal immigration to our state. "How can we not welcome," they asked, the illegal immigrants "who move in search of a better life?"

Here are some answers to their question.

Already, the Federation for American Immigration Reform has estimated, some 170,000 illegal immigrants reside in Oregon.

Their impact? "One acre of natural habitat or farmland is converted to built-up space or highway for each person added to the U.S. population," reports the Carrying Capacity Network, which advocates for sustainable U.S. population levels. Every additional person in our country, environmental scientist Peter H. Gleick has estimated, uses 1,600 cubic meters of fresh water annually. And every added car, notes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, "emits about 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year."

Oregon's population already tops 4 million. Between 2015 and 2016, Portland State University's Population Research Center has calculated, that population grew by more than 62,000, or 1.6 percent — a rate that will double the number of people here in slightly more than 40 years. Absent restraints, the illegal immigration championed by Moore and Stock will exacerbate the growth that will degrade our air quality, stress our water supplies, and eat up ever more undeveloped and arable land.

Oregonians for Immigration Reform has worked successfully to deter illegal immigration to our state. In 2014, OFIR spearheaded the ballot measure via which two-thirds of voting Oregonians rejected the Legislature's attempt to grant state driving privileges to illegal immigrants — privileges which would have drawn even more of them here.

This summer, OFIR activists are collecting signatures to put Initiative Petition 22 onto the November 2018 statewide ballot. If they succeed, Oregonians will have a chance to repeal the state law that keeps police and sheriffs from offering their full help to federal immigration authorities — a law that has made our state an inviting destination for illegal immigrants.

Were he alive today, David Brower, the Sierra Club's first executive director, likely would have supported OFIR's efforts. "Overpopulation is perhaps the biggest problem facing us, and immigration is part of that problem," he stated flatly. "You don't have a conservation policy unless you have a population policy." Moore and Stock endorse a population policy that encourages unbounded illegal immigration. What does that say about their commitment to a clean, sustainable, liveable Oregon?

One can't be both pro-environment and pro-illegal immigration. Even if their "leaders" don't understand this, many rank-and-file members of OLCV and the Sierra Club doubtless do. They should join with members of Oregonians for Immigration Reform to help reduce illegal immigration to our state.

Elizabeth Van Staaveren

There is no acceptable reason why Oregon should not fully cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. We are suffering the consequences of Oregon's misguided 1987 law which restricts cooperation. It should be repealed, and Initiative Petition 22 can do that.

The Center for Immigration Studies has issued a five-page fact sheet on immigration enforcement and community policing which shows there is no evidence of a "chilling effect" from local police cooperation with ICE. New DOJ testimony confirms that claim is spurious. Legislators should put the safety and well-being of citizens FIRST, not dream up protections for illegal aliens such as HB 3464, "Privacy" for illegal aliens. Every Democrat in the Oregon Legislature but one, (Sen. Betsy Johnson), voted to put the "privacy" of illegal aliens above the interests of citizens. Illegal, unlimited, unrestricted immigration will quickly destroy a nation. ICE is responsible for interior enforcement of our immigration laws. We owe ICE agents full cooperation and encouragement to do the job. They should be thanked for their difficult, dangerous work on the public's behalf.

President Trump is trying to rectify out-of-control immigration resulting from the policies of previous administrations. Help him and ICE; don't put road blocks in the way.

Billy J. Williams
The Oregonian

A man who successfully evaded detection and detention by immigration officials is charged with assaulting two innocent women in Portland; his alleged crimes are tragic. That he was able to commit the alleged crimes at all defies the law and insults common sense.

Let me be clear: I am addressing the problem of illegal aliens who commit criminal acts in our state. This is not about lawful alien residents or even about illegal aliens who simply come to Oregon to work. The reality is that criminals who are here illegally are being released into communities throughout the state on a daily basis. Some of these illegal aliens commit more crimes, and because of Oregon's "sanctuary" declaration, those aliens are not being arrested and prosecuted for violating federal immigration laws.

Oregon sheriffs and other law enforcement officers are caught in the middle of a highly politicized local and national debate over immigration policy. They are not to blame. Their jobs are more difficult as a result of the conflict between state and federal law.

In an effort to cure this impasse, we began meeting with federal, state and local law enforcement partners in 2015...The goal? To reestablish our common interest in crime prevention and protecting our communities. To accomplish this, we must share information. We must communicate.

Right now, there are sheriffs who do not notify U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement when they arrest illegal aliens. Some sheriffs do not disclose basic identifying information such as booking photos, fingerprints, and addresses. Some sheriffs, even after receiving an ICE detainer, will not notify ICE of an impending release....

Some sheriffs suggest that, short of ICE agents obtaining a federal criminal arrest warrant, they do not have any legal obligation to share information or hold an individual in custody who is subject to a detainer. This requirement is inherently unreasonable as illegal aliens are frequently held for only a matter of hours. Furthermore, it is nearly impossible to obtain a federal criminal arrest warrant without basic identifying information.

Simply put, Oregon's sanctuary status declaration directly contravenes federal immigration law and threatens public safety....

Two weeks ago, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced new immigration compliance requirements for recipients of the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Programs.

The Byrne JAG grant program is the primary source of federal criminal justice funds for state and local jurisdictions and it provides millions of dollars annually for police and sheriffs in Oregon. 

Under the new compliance provisions, program participants are required to communicate with ICE, allow ICE agents access to detention facilities to meet with aliens held in custody, and provide at least 48 hours advance notice of any scheduled alien releases. As a result, federal funding for local law enforcement in Oregon is at risk.

My fear is that if our community cannot overcome this politicized legal impasse, we'll be witness to more preventable crimes. This problem is fixable; we must stop pretending it is not.

The law enforcement community in Oregon enjoys a remarkable history of working together in multi-jurisdictional partnerships...

I invite community leaders and our partners in law enforcement to join us in adopting a pragmatic approach to immigration enforcement.

We need to stand up and work together for public safety. Our communities deserve leadership.

Billy J. Williams is the United States Attorney for the District of Oregon.