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.

bend bulletin.com
2012-02-19

President Barack Obama recently assured El Salvador that the United States would not deport more 200,000 Salvadorans residing illegally in the United States. As the election nears, and the president looks to court Hispanic voters, he also created a new position of “public advocate” for illegal immigrants. His duties would appear to be to advocate that millions circumvent, rather than follow, current federal law.

The administration has also said it will focus enforcement only on those who have committed crimes — with the implicit understanding that it is no longer a crime to illegally enter and reside in the United States. In contrast, Obama has caricatured those supporting completion of a fence on the border as wanting to place alligators in the Rio Grande.

It is time that Americans revisit the issue and ponder very carefully the morality of entering the United States illegally.

True, American employers have welcomed in illegal aliens as a source of cheap labor. Employers were happy to pass the ensuing social costs on to taxpayers. To summarily deport those who have resided here for 20 years, obeyed the law, worked hard, stayed off public assistance and are now willing to pay a fine, demonstrate English proficiency and pass a citizenship test would be impracticable, callous and counterproductive.

Most, however, probably do not fit those reasonable criteria.

More importantly, we forget that the influx of millions of illegal aliens unfairly undercuts the wages of the working American poor, especially in times of high unemployment.

Crossing the border was also hardly a one-time “infraction.” It was the beginning of serial unethical behavior, as illegal aliens on everyday forms and affidavits were not truthful about their immigration status.

The legal process of immigrating to America was reduced to a free-for-all rush to the border. Millions of applicants abroad wait patiently, if not naively, in line to have their education, skills and capital resources evaluated. But they are punished with delay or rejection because they alone follow immigration law.

Billions of dollars in state and federal social services do not just help provide parity to illegal aliens, but also free them to send back about $50 billion in remittances to Latin America each year. That staggering sum also suggests that Mexico and other Latin American governments, as an element of national policy, quite cynically export human capital to gain U.S. dollars, rather than make the necessary economical, social and political reforms to keep their own at home.

Nor is it very liberal to turn illegal immigration into an issue of identity and tribal politics. Too many advocates for open borders and amnesty argue about the politics of ethnic solidarity rather than considerations of immigration law. In other words, we do not hear much national outrage over the plight of the occasional Pole, Nigerian or Korean who overstays his tourist visa, but rather equate the circumvention of immigration law almost exclusively with social justice for Latinos.

How reactionary and illiberal that debate has become, when Mexican Americans who object to the undermining of immigration law are slandered as sellouts, while non-Hispanics who do the same are smeared as racists and nativists.

In fact, illegal immigration unfairly warped perceptions of undeniable Hispanic success. If one does not include millions of recently arrived poor Latin American foreign nationals in federal and state surveys, then Hispanic American citizens prove statistically to be assimilating, intermarrying, integrating, and finding economic success at rates comparable to many other immigrant groups of the past.

To mean anything, laws have to be followed. When newcomers choose to ignore them, then the entire structure of jurisprudence crashes as well. If aliens are free to ignore federal immigration law, then cannot citizens likewise pick and choose which statutes they find inconvenient?

Finally, illegal immigration has wrongly been couched in terms of a xenophobic and insensitive exploiter preying on a more noble and defenseless guest. In truth, the United States is the most generous host in the world, and never more so than during the present age.

There are now about 40 million foreign-born people residing in the United States, both legal and illegal immigrants. That is both the greatest absolute number and percentage of the population in our nation’s history. No other country in the world is more liberal in its legal immigration policies or has been more caring toward new arrivals. To suggest otherwise is dishonest and shows an ignorance of how most countries, who now export their citizens to the U.S., treat any who would do the same to them.

We can argue about the history or the future of illegal immigration. But please spare us the psychodramatic appeals to a higher morality.

In most regards, illegal immigration has proven as immoral as it is unlawful.

— Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
 

By:
Bill Atherton - Madras
bend bulletin.com
2012-02-11

“Lackluster job growth is expected” was the headline in the paper’s Feb. 3 business section. The report stated that the number of jobs being added — averaging about 137,000 per month — is “just about the number needed to keep up with population growth.”

Population growth! How can this be? The citizens of the United States have been maintaining (since 1973) a fertility rate lower than required for replacement of the population. The article in the paper implies that the population growth is a result of births in the U.S., but this is not the case.

The population “growth” is from immigration. Why can’t the paper report this fact as well as the fact that the Obama administration (like the Bush administration before it) continues to allow 125,000 foreign workers into the U.S. every month?

Newspapers need to print what readers need to know ... and readers need to know the full story on employment/unemployment numbers

By:
David Olen Cross
Mail Tribune - Southern Oregon's News Source
2012-02-03

Oregon's state senators and representatives during the 2012 legislative session have an opportunity help unemployed Oregonians by supporting and passing House Bill 4052, which would require that all state agencies use the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Citizen and Immigration Services E-Verify system.

Sponsored by Reps. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer; Jeff Barker, D-Aloha; Vicki Berger, R-Salem; Katie Eyre Brewer, R-Hillsboro; Sal Esquivel, R-Medford; Tim Freeman, R-Roseburg; Sherrie Sprenger, R-Scio; Jim Thompson, R-Dallas; Gene Whisnant, R-Sunriver; and Matt Wingard,R-Wilsonville; HB 4052 would put the state of Oregon more in line with the federal government, which requires all federal agencies use the E-Verify system.

Requiring all state agencies use the E-Verify system would not be a matter of starting from scratch for the state of Oregon because all or portions of six state agencies already use the system (Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Military Department, Oregon Parks and Recreation, Oregon Corrections Enterprises, Oregon State University, University of Oregon, Oregon Health Science University and Portland State University).

The importance the Legislature passing E-Verify legislation really becomes apparent when looking at Oregon's unemployment rate for December 2011 being at 8.9 percent, the state ranking in the top 14 of 50 states for percentage of unemployed residents and 175,830 Oregonians being unemployed. Legislators should also be aware that Oregon's unemployed are in competition for scarce jobs with an estimated 97,000 foreign national workers illegally in the state, 4.9 percent of the state's domestic workforce.

If Oregon legislators need some convincing examples of E-Verify system success, they won't have to look to far because at least 17 states — 34 percent — have laws requiring that their state governments use the E-Verify system; nine of those states had December 2011 seasonally adjusted unemployment rates lower than Oregon: Alabama (8.1 percent), Arizona (8.7 percent), Idaho (8.4 percent), Missouri (8.0 percent), Nebraska (4.1 percent), Oklahoma (6.1 percent), Tennessee (8.7 percent), Utah (6.0 percent) and Virginia (6.2 percent).

State legislators need not look beyond Oregon for success stories because 15 of Oregon's 36 county governments — 42 percent — use the E-Verify system: Clatsop, Coos, Crook, Deschutes, Harney, Jefferson, Lake, Lane, Lincoln, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Washington and Yamhill.

Statewide, 2,787 Oregon public- and private-sector employers are successfully using the system, which is 98.6 percent accurate, features a fast response time and is free to the user.

The Legislature's passage of HB 4052 requiring the state of Oregon — the largest public employer — to use the E-Verify system would be far more than a symbolic gesture, considering that over the past four years Oregonians have suffered and continue to suffer unemployment numbers not seen since the Great Depression.

Oregonians should call or e-mail their state senator and representative and ask them to support and pass HB 4052, requiring all state of Oregon government agencies use the E-Verify system, so if a job opening becomes available to work for the state, a qualified person with authorization to work in the country will be first in line for that job.

David Olen Cross of Salem (docfnc@yahoo.com) lobbies the Oregon Legislature on issues related to immigration and foreign national crime.
 

By:
Representative Lamar Smith (R-Texas)
StatesmanJournal.com
2012-01-25

In his Jan. 21 editorial, "Memo to politicians: Latinos are not interchangeable," Ruben Navarrette insinuates that support for E-Verify alienates Hispanic voters. But Hispanics support E-Verify.

E-Verify is a web-based program that helps ensure jobs are reserved for citizens and legal workers. It doesn't ask race, creed or ethnicity. E-Verify merely checks a worker's name and Social Security number to verify that they are eligible to work in the United States. E-Verify does not discriminate based on race but it does distinguish between legal and illegal, as it should.

The American public has consistently supported E-Verify. A recent Rasmussen poll found that 82 percent of likely voters think businesses should be required to use E-Verify to determine if a potential employee is in the country legally. And the breakdown of the Rasmussen poll shows that individuals from all races support the use of E-Verify. In fact, 78 percent of black voters and 72 percent of other minorities, primarily Hispanics, agreed.

E-Verify could open up millions of jobs for unemployed Americans, especially for low-skilled workers who compete most with illegal immigrants for scarce jobs. Twenty-five percent of Hispanic Americans with only a high school education can't find a job. The facts show E-Verify actually benefits minorities by opening up jobs, increasing wages and reducing job competition from an illegal workforce.

By:
Elizabeth Van Staaveren
Yamhill Valley News-Register
2012-01-14

In the race for Congress in Oregon’s 1st District, voters need to know Suzanne Bonamici’s troubling legislative history on issues related to illegal immigration during her tenure in the Oregon Legislature.

During the 2008 legislative session, in spite of the role drivers licenses played in the 9/11 tragedy, she voted to continue giving Oregon driver licenses to illegal aliens when she voted against Senate Bill 1080, which required proof of legal status to obtain a driver license.

In the Oregon Senate’s 2011 session, she voted for Senate Bill 742, legislation granting in-state tuition to illegal aliens in perpetuity with little fact-checking.

A vote for Suzanne Bonamici for Congress, taking into account her tenure in the state legislature, and statements supportive of amnesty which she has made in recent debates, is a vote for lax-to-no enforcement of our country’s immigration laws and for enticing more illegal immigration.

In contrast, Ron Cornilles opposes amnesty. His website has a section on border security, in which he points out the dangers of uncontrolled immigration and shows strong support for better border security. He discusses how Oregon businesses which have the technology to secure the borders could help both locally to boost our economy and nationally to stop illegal immigration. These businesses, he said in a recent debate, now feel they are not being heard in Congress, and he would be a voice for them.

For an immigration policy in the best interests of citizens, not illegal aliens, Rob Cornilles is our best choice for Congress.

 

By:
David Olen Cross
The Chronicle online.com
2012-01-11

Columbia County Commissioners Tony Hyde, Earl Fisher and Henry Heimuller should require Columbia County government to use the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Citizen and Immigration Services E-Verify system.

The importance of Columbia County using the E-Verify system really becomes apparent with Oregon's unemployment rate in November being 9.1 percent, and 167,563 people unemployed.

The county's November unemployment numbers were at 10.4 percent; 2,311 residents were unemployed.

Unemployed Oregonians who are U.S. citizens or foreign citizens legally present with authorization to work in the country should not have to compete for jobs with a purported 97,000 undocumented foreign national workers illegally in the state, a number that equates to 4.9 percent of the state's civilian labor force.

If all Oregon government and business entities not currently using U.S. DHS E-Verify system were required to use it, Oregon's unemployment rate would drop dramatically because all new jobs created in the state would go to U.S. citizens or those legally present to work in the country.

Currently, 2,227 Oregon employers use the 98.6 percent accurate E-Verify system; 15 of 36 Oregon county governments now use E-Verify (Clatsop, Coos, Crook, Deschutes, Harney, Jefferson, Lake, Lane, Lincoln, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Washington, and Yamhill counties).

In Columbia County, 14 businesses and government entities (City of Vernonia, Clatskanie School District, Columbia Drainage Vector Control District, Scappoose Bay Watershed Council and the Scappoose School District) presently use the E-Verify system.

Columbia County residents should contact the commissioners ask them to require Columbia County government use the U.S. DHS CIS E-Verify system so if a job opening becomes available to work for the county a qualified U.S. citizen or foreign citizen legally present with authorization to work in the country can be first in line for that job.

By:
David Olen Cross
HermistonHerald.com
2011-12-14

Umatilla County Commissioners Hansell, Givens, and Doherty should require Umatilla County government use the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Citizen and Immigration Services (CIS) E-Verify system. The importance of Umatilla County using the U.S. DHS CIS E-Verify system really becomes apparent with Oregon’s unemployment rate in October being 9.5 percent, 177,350 were unemployed. The county’s October unemployment numbers were at 9.6 percent; 3,026 residents were unemployed.

Unemployed Oregonians who are U.S. citizens or foreign citizens legally present with authorization to work in the country should not have to compete for jobs with a purported 97,000 un-documented foreign national workers illegally in the state.

If all Oregon employers not currently using the E-Verify system were required to use it, Oregon’s unemployment rate would drop dramatically because all new jobs created in the state would go to those authorized to work in the country.

Currently 2,227 Oregon employers use the 98.6 percent accurate E-Verify system. Twelve of thirty-six Oregon county governments are now using the E-Verify system (Clatsop, Deschutes, Harney, Jefferson, Lake, Lane, Lincoln, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, and Washington counties). Thirty-two Umatilla County businesses and government entities (City of Milton-Free-water, Umatilla School District 6R, and Umatilla School District No. 7) presently use the E-Verify system.

Umatilla County residents should contact Commissioners Hansell, Givens, and Doherty and ask them to require Umatilla County government use the U.S. DHS CIS E-Verify system so if a job opening becomes available to work for the county a qualified U.S. citizen or foreign citizen legally present with authorization to work in the country can be first in line for that job.

By:
Elizabeth Van Staaveren, McMinnville
StatesmanJournal.com
2011-12-01

So Ruben Navarrette Jr. thinks Newt Gingrich’s plan for “legality” for longtime illegal aliens is a great idea (“Gingrich deserves credit for a good, bold idea,” Nov. 30).

I think it’s a terrible idea.

It says in effect, if illegal aliens have cheated and committed fraud for 25 years, they get to stay here, but if illegal aliens have done the same for only two or three years they must go home. Huh?

How much would the citizen review boards cost that decide each case? Who will sit on these boards? What is acceptable proof of applicants’ statements?

Illegal aliens use stolen or counterfeit Social Security numbers, which is a federal felony. Is this to be overlooked?

Did the alien ever complete an I-9 form for employment? Did he/she provide false information on it? Another federal felony.

Did the illegals misuse Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) to collect “Earned Income Tax Credit,” a federal program that pays billions to low-income families?

I think we need to take a closer look at Newt’s “good, bold idea” — and at the man proposing it.

By:
Elizabeth Van Staavern
News-Register
2011-11-26

Letters recently have expressed alarm at the rapid growth of population, worldwide and in Oregon, and the toll it takes on the environment and natural resources. The statistics are frightening and raise questions about why this is happening and what we can do about it.

The spread of family planning knowledge around the world, led by philanthropic groups and governments, is helping people work toward sustainable numbers in many countries.

Here in the United States, population growth is triggered mainly by immigration. The U.S. reached a replacement level fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman in the year 1972. Absent the enormous increases in immigration from 1970 to 2010, U.S. population would have peaked about 2050 at around 260 million people and then start to decline.

Instead, today we are fast approaching 313 million, and if present immigration levels are not reduced, we’re on track to reach 439 million by 2050. Even higher projections have been made by the Census Bureau. Their highest series projection for 2100 was over 1 billion.

Immigration is a public policy issue to be decided by the citizens. It is not a natural phenomenon over which we have no control. Unfortunately, Congress has opted too often to increase the numbers, and recent presidents have used their power to curb enforcement of immigration laws. Citizens must re-assert their right to set immigration policy and have it carried out according to the law.

At this time of economic hardship, it is especially senseless to continue importing a million immigrants a year who will be in competition with Americans for jobs, education and living space.

By:
Richard F. LaMountain - Guest Opinion
Beaverton Velley Times
2011-10-16

Earlier this spring, after almost a year in Iraq, 2,700 Oregon Army National Guardsmen came home. Now, many of them face another challenge: "Veterans advocates," noted The Oregonian several weeks ago, "believe that fully half the (returning) soldiers . . . are unemployed."

Across America, disproportionate joblessness afflicts not only demobilizing guardsmen and reservists, but veterans as a whole.

"The Labor Department announced in March that the unemployment rate for 18- to 24-year-old veterans was 21.1 percent in 2009," reports the May issue of VFW magazine, "significantly higher than the 16.6 percent rate for non-veterans in the same age group . . . the jobless rate for all veterans who have served since Sept. 11, 2001, is 12.5 percent."

What makes the job search tougher for unemployed veterans: the presence of illegal immigrants who, in violation of U.S. law, hold jobs those veterans might otherwise get.

Of the 12 million to 20 million illegal immigrants in America, two-thirds are estimated to hold jobs. Some 100,000 of them are believed employed in Oregon. Illegal immigrants have been especially prevalent in building maintenance and groundskeeping, where, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, they recently have comprised 19 percent of the U.S. workforce; in construction, where they have comprised 17 percent; and in food services, where they have comprised 12 percent. These are among the fields that provide the "first rung on the ladder" to millions of American youths - and that could do so as well for many young veterans returning from abroad.

This summer and beyond, how can Oregon employers help assure their new hires are citizens and legal residents - including, especially, returned guardsmen and other veterans - and not illegal immigrants? Simple - by registering to use the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's "E-Verify" system, which some 1,600 Oregon employers, including Nike, Jeld-Wen and Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, already have done. E-Verify enables employers to confirm, instantly and at no cost, the legitimacy of many new hires' Social Security numbers - and, thus, their eligibility to work legally in the United States.

E-Verify is effective. Historically, the system has flagged about 5 percent of submitted Social Security numbers, which corresponds to the estimated percentage of illegal immigrants in the U.S. workforce. Rather than seek to prove legal work status by other means, writes former Homeland Security official Stewart Baker, those with the flagged numbers usually "walk away when they are challenged." For most, this is a tacit admission of illegal presence in America, and it opens the jobs for which they had been considered to citizens and legal residents.

At great personal expense, Oregon's guardsmen stepped up to defend our nation. Now, by registering to use E-Verify, the state's employers can step up for them - and help assure their future hires are not illegal immigrants, but our returned heroes.

(Richard F. LaMountain, a former assistant editor of Conservative Digest magazine, serves on the board of directors of Oregonians for Immigration Reform. He lives in Cedar Mill.)

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