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.

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.)

By:
William R. Schneider, Salem
StatesmanJournal.com
2011-10-16

In Alabama they have started to enforce immigration laws. The effect was that many jobs previously held by illegal aliens have opened up for U.S. citizens.

The lines to fill these jobs was long and they were being filled with U.S. citizens.

If we want more jobs for citizens, we in Oregon should also enforce our immigration laws. One good start would be to make E-Verify mandatory, eliminating illegal aliens and opening many jobs for our own U.S. citizens.

By:
Richard F. LaMountain, Northwest Portland
Beaverton Valley Times
2011-10-06

The front-page story "Laborers hold out hope" (Sept. 1), which profiled the Voz Workers' day-labor hiring facility on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, omitted a couple of significant facts.

First, as noted by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, some 84 percent of day laborers are illegal immigrants. Second, the Voz facility does not require its users to provide proof of legal U.S. residence.

Today, 380,000 Oregonians either are unemployed or working only part-time. And yet, during the past several years the city of Portland has committed hundreds of thousands of taxpayers' dollars to help illegal immigrants find work through Voz's facility.

It is immoral for Portland to undermine the job prospects of unemployed Oregonians. Here's a better idea: Rather than undermine U.S. law by subsidizing illegal immigration, Portland should require all businesses within its jurisdiction to register as users of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's automated "E-Verify" program, which helps employers assure their new hires are U.S. citizens or legal residents.

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