agriculture

$10,000 grant awarded to PCUN Farmworker Service Center

Money will help establish center's first-ever formal training program for staff and volunteers

PCUN’s Farmworker Service Center received a $10,000 grant from the Oregon Community Foundation last year, which the Woodburn-based nonprofit and farmworkers union plans to use to strengthen services and develop a formal orientation and training program.

Jaime Arredondo, secretary-treasurer for PCUN (Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United), said that though the Farmworker Service Center has been providing accredited immigration law services to its clients for over 30 years, it has never had a formal training program for its employees, volunteers or interns.

“They have some pieces, but not something comprehensive,” he said.

The center provides a variety of services to PCUN members, including legal representation for a number of different immigration matters, referral services, verbal and written translations, public notary services and a death benefit.

“These services are vital because they provide an entry point to better economic and health stability for Oregon’s most vulnerable workforce,” Arredondo said.

Arredondo said the center already serves well over 1,000 people each year, and the demand is expected to keep growing, especially if there is an extension of immigration relief or reform in the future.

“(That) would put the FSC in a challenging place to meet the demand,” he said. “We need to be able to scale up quicker. The training program would allow the FSC to do this.”

The Willamette Valley Law Project was the center’s fiscal sponsor for the grant, since PCUN is a 501(c)(5) nonprofit, and a 501(c)(3) was needed to apply for these particular grants.

The award was part of 22 grants the OCF handed out in November 2015, totalling more than $443,000, to northern Willamette Valley nonprofits. The foundation awarded a total of over $8.4 million state-wide.

For more information about PCUN and the Farmworker Service Center, visit www.pcun.org/pcun-service-center. For full lists of grants awarded around the state and more information about OCF initiatives, visit www.oregoncf.org.
 

Washington State Fruit Grower Hit With $2.25 Million Immigration Fine

Broetje Orchards of Washington, one of the country’s largest apple growers, has agreed to pay a $2.25 million fine for hiring illegal immigrants. The fine is one of the largest ever levied against an agricultural concern, according to government officials who announced it Thursday.

A spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that the civil penalty was levied against Broetje for employing nearly 950 people who weren’t authorized to work in the U.S...

“All businesses are expected to comply with the law and to ensure the information provided on a form I-9 (employment form) is accurate,” said ICE Director Sarah R. Saldaña.

...acknowledges auditors found that it continued to employ unauthorized workers after being advised by ICE those employees didn’t have permission to work in the U.S.

Broetje is the largest employer in Walla Walla County in Eastern Washington. It has more than 1,000 permanent employees and up to 2,800 during harvest season. Many of them live on the company’s vast grounds in Prescott, Wash., where the grower built housing, school and a day care center for workers.

When the concern first came under scrutiny years ago, it already had begun to train and employ low-skilled workers in the U.S. legally, many of them refugees from Africa and Asia. But its founders, Ralph and Cheryl Broetje, said in an interview at the time that agriculture suffered from a severe labor shortage and that they hoped an overhaul of the country’s immigration system would enable their business to retain experienced workers.

They declined to comment Thursday. But a statement attributed to company management said: “We are pleased to put this process behind us and to get back the business of growing fruit. It said the case ”highlights what is clearly a dysfunctional and broken immigration system.”
 

The Obama Engineered Immigration Meltdown (and Why Securing the Border is a Red Herring)

No discussion of immigration reform in Washington gets very far without some politician boldly declaring, “The first thing we must do is secure the border,” as if that were a novel idea and panacea for illegal immigration.

Once and for all: The border is a red herring. It’s not our border that’s out of control; it’s the Obama administration that’s out of control and the border is just one of many casualties in the president’s assault on immigration enforcement.

What we have on our hands is an immigration meltdown engineered by the president and his political appointees. Our immigration courts have ceased to function, and virtually every illegal alien has been exempted from removal, even if they were operating. Work permits are being handed out to illegal aliens like lollipops on Halloween – about 5.5 million since Obama came to office in 2009.

Of course our borders out of control!

In recent days, the Department of Justice announced that because immigration courts are so overwhelmed, most people with cases pending will not have them heard until 2019 at the earliest. These courts are not overwhelmed because they’re busy deporting so many people who shouldn’t be here. Rather, they are overwhelmed by the number of people who have no business here seeking legalization and the tens of thousands of Central Americans who surged across the border last summer.

In reporting the story, AP cited as a “victim” of the delay the story of Maximiano Vazquez-Guevarra, an illegal alien from Mexico who recently won his appeal to become a legal permanent resident, but needs to make one more court appearance to make it final. Vasquez managed to tie up the courts for three years successfully fighting deportation (and gaining legal status) after coming to the attention of authorities when he was charged with his second DUI.

While the courts have ceased to function because, under the Obama administration, illegal aliens can spend years petitioning for legal residency because they get caught driving while intoxicated (and win), millions more are being given work permits because…well, because the administration just feels like it.

According to a new report by the Center for Immigration Studies, the Obama administration has been ignoring statutorily mandated limits on immigration (big shocker) and handing out Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) at will. Since 2009, 1.2 million people who were admitted on temporary visas that explicitly bar them from working got – you guessed it – EADs. Almost a million illegal aliens also received work authorization, despite the inconvenient law that bars them from being employed in the U.S. Another 1.7 million EADs were parceled out to folks whose status in this country was unclear. But, what the heck, the administration has no interest in finding out and no intention of doing anything about it anyway.

And all this is before they have even begun carrying out the president’s massive executive amnesty, which could grant give legal status and EADs to an additional 5 million illegal aliens, which is likely to trigger an even greater surge of illegal immigration.

First let’s secure the border? No, first we have to stop the president from rendering our entire immigration law meaningless.
 

Measure 88 hurts Oregon's unemployed

Campaigns are often won or lost based on slogans or a clever turn of a phrase.  But, the cold hard facts are often hard to "market" to the casual voter.

Read here the David Cross article posted on OregonLive.com regarding the impact of illegal immigration on Oregon's unemployed and how Ballot Measure 88 compounds the problem.

Who is really behind the push to give driver cards to illegal aliens?

Read OFIR President Cynthia Kendoll's guest commentary about the alliances and motives behind the driver card legislation.  Remember to vote NO in NOvember to overturn SB 833 - a new law granting state issued ID - in the form of driver cards - to illegal aliens.

 

 

Gloss is for lips - not for politics

If it weren't so infuriating it might even make me laugh. It's the regular practice of "glossing over" the facts to make the case for wrong doing.

A recent case in point is the announcement by Oregon Association of Nurseries of their favorite six legislators who have helped them to game the system even further and all at the tax-payer's expense.

The six include three Republicans and three Democrats. They are Gov. John Kitzhaber (D), U.S. Rep Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon Fifth District), Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland), State Sen. Bill Hansell (R-Pendleton), State Sen. Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River), and State Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario). These six elected officials took an oath of office to uphold the laws of the state and federal government. But, we'll gloss over that for now.

It's no secret that OAN is big business here in Oregon. It is clearly no secret, even to the casual observer, that OAN is apparently heavily invested in the use of an illegal work force. Hence their prominent position and support of SB 833 - the new law giving state issued ID in the form of driver privilege cards to illegal aliens. But, we'll gloss over that for now, too.

What is the real cost to Oregon's citizens, businesses and taxpayers?

An example:

One young man comes to Oregon illegally to work. He brings with him not only his pregnant wife and 3 children but the mind set that it's alright to break our immigration laws to come here and work.  After all, we're going to give him a driver privilege card so it must be ok - right?

The nursery business gets the benefit of the one (cheap) illegal worker which may even be using a stolen identity (perhaps yours) to get hired. Or, the employer may knowingly hire an illegal worker making it easier for them to exploit or cheat him or even pay him under the table avoiding costly employer tax contributions. But, we'll gloss over that for now. as well.

The taxpayer, however, foots the bill for the rest of his family to the tune of one billion dollars in 2012 according to a recent report by FAIR. The children will be enrolled in public school (most likely in an expensive ELL program). And, once the baby is born (often referred to as an anchor baby) and at taxpayer expense, then the real bonanza begins. Benefits begin to flood to the family and they are now living on easy street compared to life in their home country. But, we'll gloss over that for now, too.

Actions by many in our state government send a loud and clear message that this is OK - Oregonians must want this kind of business model here in our state because we keep re-electing the people who pass this kind of legislation -right? 

Businesses will lie, cheat, game the system and make a boatload of money on the backs of hard working, tax paying, honest citizens and even the unemployed get screwed while they pull it off.  Our Legislature supports this - it's the American way, right?  But, let's gloss over that, while we're at it.

It all makes me sick!  I'm ashamed of our Governor and the Legislators that support SB 833. I'm sick of our elected officials working to make life easier for people willfully breaking our laws and businesses that capitalize on weak enforcement of our employment laws. I'm sick of government officials picking and choosing which laws to enforce and which to ignore for their own benefit. I'm sick of our elected officials GLOSSING OVER the hard facts in order to make life easier for people in our country illegally, all while thumbing their noses at honest, hardworking citizens.

I refuse to gloss over the facts about SB 833 and the real truth about giving driver cards to illegal aliens. I'm proud to be the Authorized Agent of Protect Oregon Driver Licenses and will work hard to get this insidious legislation overturned when it's on the ballot in November 2014. Let Oregon voters decide!

OAN recognizes six public officials as 'Friends of Nurseries'

November 7, 2013, Wilsonville, Ore. -- The Oregon Association of Nurseries will recognize six Oregon elected officials as "Friends of Nurseries" at its 2013 Convention, to be held Friday at The Oregon Garden resort in Silverton, Ore.

The six include three Republicans and three Democrats. They are Gov. John Kitzhaber (D), U.S. Rep Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon Fifth District), Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland), State Sen. Bill Hansell (R-Pendleton), State Sen. Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River), and State Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario).

"The Oregon nursery industry is the largest single segment in Oregon agriculture, with $745 million in sales in the most recent year that was tracked," OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone said. "Our association is more than 800 businesses strong, and all of them make a positive difference in Oregon's economy. That's why we wanted to give these public officials some much-deserved recognition. All of them have shown positive leadership, ensuring that Oregon remains a great place for nurseries to do business."

Gov. Kitzhaber was recognized for taking the lead on creating a new water supply fund for irrigation, natural resource protection and other uses. He was also recognized for putting together a task force that led to creation and passage of a four-year driver's card bill. Finally, Kitzhaber has maintained critical natural resource and extension funding at the state level, which the industry relies on for sharing knowledge and managing pest and disease threats.

Rep. Schrader has been consistent ally on the Farm Bill and comprehensive immigration reform. He has secured funding for research and pest and disease issues, and successfully pushed the USDA to rescind a discriminatory order that denied Oregon growers equal marketplace access. Schrader is currently serving on a House-Senate conference committee regarding the federal Farm Bill.

Speaker Kotek provided critical support so that the water supply bill and driver's card bill could move forward.

Sen. Hansell was a key figure in the passage of the water supply bill and also sponsored the driver's card bill.

Sen. Thomsen also sponsored the driver's card bill and provided critical support to help get it passed.

Rep. Bentz helped put together a compromise that moved the water supply bill forward when few thought it could pass. It ended up passing with just one dissenting vote between the two legislative chambers.

The awards will be announced at Friday's convention. At that convention, outgoing OAN President Carson Lord of Tree Frog Nursery (Silverton, Ore.) will pass the gavel to President-Elect Matt Gold, who will assume office. Gold and a 23-member board will guide the association's direction and priorities for 2014.

The Oregon Association of Nurseries, based in Wilsonville, represents more than 800 wholesale growers, retailers, landscapers and suppliers. Nursery products are the biggest sector in Oregon agriculture, with annual sales of $745 million in 2012. Oregon's nursery industry is a traded sector; nearly 75 percent of Oregon-grown nursery plants are shipped out of state. To learn more, visit www.oan.org or call 503-682-5089.

 

Jim Ludwick, OFIR Communications Director, to speak at the Executive Club meeting

Alert date: 
2013-11-04
Alert body: 

Jim will talk about the successful referendum drive to force a vote on Senate Bill 833. There will be a question and answer time following his speech.

What: Executive Club meeting.

Subject: SB 833 referendum campaign.

When: 7:00 pm. Wednesday, November 6. (If you want dinner - come at 6:30).

Where: Shilo Inn Portland

11707 Northeast Airport Way, near the Portland Airport.

The referendum campaign to overturn Senate Bill 833 was a wonderful exercise in citizenship. People from all over Oregon went out in public and collected over 75,000 signatures. Contrast that with how Senate Bill 833 was pushed through the 2013 Oregon Legislature. It was conceived in secret behind closed doors by a select group of people who have as an agenda to diminish the value of American citizenship. It was rushed through the legislature without a hearing by any House committee.

Because of our successful referendum campaign there will be a public debate on whether or not giving an official state driver privilege card to illegal aliens is a good or bad policy.
 

11707 Northeast Airport Way, Portland
Bring a friend! ~~ $20 buffet option ~~ no host bar
And of course, the cigar room, afterward

 

 

Questions for Legislators at upcoming Townhall meetings - they want to know what's on your mind

In the 2013 regular session of the Oregon State Legislature, all Democrats present voted for HB 2787, a bill to grant instate tuition to illegal aliens, and also for SB 833, the bill giving driver cards to illegal aliens.

In the House, 5 Republicans voted for the instate tuition bill: Cliff Bentz, Vicki Berger, John Huffman, Mark Johnson, Julie Parrish. In the Senate, these 3 Republicans voted for instate tuition: Bill Hansell, Bruce Starr, Chuck Thomsen.

Voting for driver cards to illegal aliens were these Republican House members: John Davis, Vic Gilliam, Bob Jenson, Mark Johnson, Greg Smith, and these Republican Senators: Herman Baertschiger, Brian Boquist, Ted Ferrioli, Larry George, Bill Hansell, Chuck Thomsen.

If you have an opportunity to attend a town hall, or to speak elsewhere to your state senator and representative, please tell them about your concerns regarding illegal immigration. We are listing some suggested questions that could be raised with your legislators, particularly with all Democrats and those Republicans who voted for instate tuition and driver cards for illegal aliens.

 
1. A legislator’s main responsibility is to put the interests of citizens first. It is not in the public’s economic interest to encourage illegal immigration by giving accommodations to illegal immigrants and making life here comfortable for them. Unemployment and very low wages are serious problems in Oregon now. In August, over 150,000 Oregonians were unemployed; our unemployment rate was 8.1%, well above the national rate of 7.4%. The U-6 unemployment rate, which includes part-time workers who want full-time work, and discouraged workers who’ve given up active job-search, was 16.9% according to the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Are you O.K. with forcing unemployed and underemployed citizens to compete with unlimited numbers of illegal aliens for jobs?

2. Employers should not be allowed to hire illegal labor. Instead of passing laws to give illegal aliens instate tuition and official driver privileges; you could have worked in the last session of the Legislature to make E-Verify mandatory for all employers in Oregon. This would open up jobs for citizens and legal immigrants and discourage illegal immigration. Will you promote a requirement for employers to use E-Verify for current work forces as well as new hires?

3. The rule of law is the foundation for good government. It is undermined when illegal immigrants are allowed to enter and remain in this country unimpeded, and encouraged to remain here by giving them benefits paid for from public funds. How can citizens respect law when they see it so flagrantly ignored by illegal immigrants and their employers, and legitimized in the Legislature by bills accommodating illegal immigration?

4. Giving driver cards to illegal aliens will not improve safety – quite the opposite. There is no way the Oregon DMV can accurately certify the identity of the thousands of illegal aliens who will apply for driver cards. Identify theft and falsified documents are common, and hard to detect. Besides the illegal aliens now living here, others from the 45 states that don’t give driver licenses to illegal aliens will come to Oregon to take advantage of our weak law. Safety concerns focused only on possible traffic accidents miss the larger risks. Do you care about the dangers of terrorism from holders of fraudulent driver cards issued in Oregon?

5. Before the 2008 Driver License law was passed requiring proof of citizenship for driver licenses, the state did issue licenses to illegal aliens. There is no evidence that the roads were safer then than in the 5 years since the 2008 law was passed. Therefore it’s not logical to expect greater safety now by again giving illegal aliens official driver cards. Do you think it’s worth weakening the secure driver license law enacted in 2008 for an only nebulous degree of safety from traffic accidents?

6. Expenses for attending college are daunting for most citizens, and places in public colleges are necessarily limited by taxpayer funds available for maintaining higher education. The claims by some that giving instate tuition to illegal aliens will have no effect on enrollment of citizens are illogical and unbelievable. Why should our citizen young people have to step aside to make room for illegal aliens who will be in competition with them for college enrollment? -- There was no effort by leaders in the Oregon Legislature to curtail or stop illegal immigration when there are many such steps available to state legislatures, and other states have passed such laws protecting citizens.

Legislators want to hear from you at upcoming Townhall meetings

Alert date: 
2013-09-21
Alert body: 

Our state legislators hold town halls from time to time, inviting constituents to attend and express their civic concerns. As OFIR learns about the town hall schedules, we will alert members and encourage attendance. Town halls are a great opportunity to meet your legislators and question them in person. If you learn of town halls scheduled for your district, please send the information on to OFIR.

Read more about questions to ask State Legislators at upcoming townhall meetings.


 

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