agriculture

Drive-thru signature gathering event Friday, Agust 23

Alert date: 
2013-08-22
Alert body: 

If you haven't had the opportunity to sign the referendum petition to overturn SB833 - the new law giving driver privilege cards to people in the country illegally - it doesn't get any easier than this.  Just drive up, sign the petition and drive away.  You don't even need to get out of your car!

Protect Oregon Driver Licenses will be hosting a DRIVE-THRU signature gathering event this FRIDAY, August 23, from 12 noon until 8:00pm in the parking lot at Market St. and Savage Rd., just west of the freeway at exit 213. Watch for the signs guiding you in.

Volunteers will be available if you have any questions, or if you would like to pick up supplies so that you can collect signatures of your friends, neighbors and family members, too. The deadline of October 4th is rapidly approaching and we need 58,142 valid signatures.

PODL will also be hosting a booth at the Oregon State Fair - just outside the southeast corner of the Columbia Exhibit Hall. Please drop by and say hello!

 

 


 

Hillsboro Migrant Summer School brings in Mexican teachers for culture lessons

Osorio Pacheco was one of three elementary teachers from Mexico brought to the Hillsboro School District in June under a federal migrant education program. The teachers integrated lessons of culture into the Migrant Summer School's regular curriculum focus of reading, writing and math.

The Bi-national Migrant Education Teacher Exchange Program is part of an initiative that started in 1976 to help migrant students in California. The departments of education in Mexico and the United States have since partnered to improve schooling for children who travel frequently between the two countries.

Read the full Oregonian story here:   http://www.oregonlive.com/hillsboro/index.ssf/2013/07/hillsboro_migrant_summer_schoo.html

 

Merkley intros H-2B amendment

WASHINGTON — Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., introduced an amendment Wednesday to the massive immigration bill under consideration in the Senate that would tighten loopholes that Oregon companies used to hire foreign workers to complete local forestry projects.

The amendment is virtually identical to the American Jobs in American Forests Act, a bill Merkley introduced in May.

Merkley’s legislation would require companies to make an extensive effort to hire American workers before they could apply for an H-2B visa.

The H-2B visa program, which received a major injection of stimulus funding from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, authorizes American companies to import foreign workers for nonagricultural seasonal work if they are unable to find U.S. citizens to fill the positions.

As The Bulletin first reported, four Oregon companies received more than $7 million in federal funds to hire foreign workers for forestry projects through the H-2B program in 2010. At the time, Oregon was suffering through double-digit unemployment.

A subsequent review of the H-2B program by the Department of Labor’s inspector general could find no evidence that the Oregon companies made any effort to recruit in Oregon.

“I am pleased that the Senate is moving forward to fix our broken immigration system," said Merkley in a prepared statement. “But we need to ensure that in fields like forestry where there are thousands of Oregonians looking for work, companies are not allowed to abuse the H-2B visa program and just blindly assert that there are no Oregonians willing and able to work in our forests."

Under the current system, companies have to advertise only in states where the jobs “originated," which often are not the states in which the work was to be performed. The companies can self-attest that they were unable to find U.S. workers before asking permission to hire foreign labor.

Consequently, unemployed workers in Oregon, many with forestry experience and expertise, might never learn about job openings for local forestry projects. Oregon’s database of those actively seeking work includes 3,492 forest and conservation workers and 1,489 forest and conservation technicians, according to the Oregon Employment Department.

Under Merkley’s proposal, companies must bolster their efforts to recruit locally by advertising on local radio and Internet job sites, as well as consulting with the state workforce agency to make sure local job seekers learn about potential openings. The state workforce agency would have to certify that a robust effort had been made before a company could apply to bring in foreign labor, and would put in stricter recruiting rules for multistate projects so companies couldn’t advertise exclusively in one state for a project that will take place in another.

While many details and disagreements remain, including over border security and a possible path to citizenship, leaders from both parties have said passing immigration reform is a priority.

By attaching his bill to the larger legislation, Merkley increases its chances of actually becoming law, since large, heavily negotiated and debated bills are generally more likely to secure a majority of votes than smaller, one-issue bills. The Senate must first agree to the amendment, and a vote on it has not yet been scheduled.

After the inspector general’s report, the Labor Department tried to change the rules governing the H-2B program to close some of the loopholes, but its changes were successfully challenged in federal court by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others.

The program has continued to grow under the old rules. Over the past four years, the number of visas issued has grown from 44,847 in fiscal year 2009 to 47,403 in 2010 and 50,826 in 2011, according to the U.S. State Department. Figures for 2012 were not available.

Oregon is not one of the top 10 states for total positions certified, according to Department of Labor figures. In 2012, forest worker was the second highest H-2B worker category, behind landscaper. For 2013, forest worker ranks fourth, behind landscaper/groundskeeper, maid/housekeeper/cleaner, and amusement and recreation attendant.
 

OFIR VP explains the flawed thinking behind SB833

Rick LaMountain is a gifted writer and has, once again, written such a clear headed article explaining why SB833 is not good for Oregon.  He explains the flawed and harmful thinking that went into the jettisoned legislation that went from first introduction to law in under one month.  Read Rick's article here.

From his blog to ours, Rep. Richardson speaks out

The Driver Card Bill (Senate Bill 833), passed the Senate, the House and has been signed into law by Gov. Kitzhaber.

I voted against issuing driver cards to those who cannot prove legal residency after learning the experience of other states where such laws have been tested. (Watch a video of my floor debate against Senate Bill 833 on YouTube.)

New Mexico’s illegal immigrant drivers’ law failed to achieve its goal of lessening the number of uninsured drivers. Investigations revealed New Mexico’s law was a magnet that attracted additional illegal immigration into their state. In addition, New Mexico’s governor says she wishes their law could be repealed — citing problems relating to fraud, human trafficking, organized crime and national security.

After several years, Tennessee repealed its driving certificate laws. Investigators discovered non-residents were being shuttled to Tennessee and driving certificates were being issued based on false residency documents and even bribery of government officials.

In short, the desire to help thousands of undocumented workers and their families be assimilated into Oregon society may be well-intended, but the new Oregon driver card may have unintended consequences. When states such as Tennessee and New Mexico have documented, widespread fraud and abuse of their driver cards, and have either repealed their laws or have a governor who wishes the laws were terminated, Oregon should beware.

Like it or not, the Oregon driver card law will become effective Jan. 1, 2014. Time will tell whether or not the Oregon driver card was good policy or fraught with negative unintended consequences.

Rep. Dennis Richardson

http://blogs.esouthernoregon.com/southern-oregon-legislators/2013/05/03/why-i-voted-against-driver-cards/

 

Esquivel files to kill new driver's licence law

SALEM — Medford state representative Sal Esquivel and a fellow GOP legislator want voters to decide whether to overturn a new law that allows illegal immigrants in Oregon to obtain driver's licenses.

Esquivel, Rep. Kim Thatcher of Keizer and Portland activist Richard LaMountain with the group Oregonians for Immigration Reform are sponsors of a referendum submitted to the Secretary of State's Office Wednesday.

Referendum supporters will have to work quickly if they want to make the November 2014 ballot. They'll have to gather more than 58,000 valid signatures from registered voters within 90 days after the Legislature adjourns.

The law is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, but it would be put on hold until after the election if referendum proponents successfully force a vote.

Critics say the law rewards illegal actions and might encourage more people without legal documents to come to Oregon.

"If someone is willing to disregard immigration laws, what other laws are they willing to disregard?" Thatcher said last month.

Esquivel, the son of immigrants, questioned the value of the law in a May 1 story in the Mail Tribune.

"They broke the law getting in the country, broke the law working, broke the law driving and broke the law by being uninsured," Esquivel said. "... I don't see where the card makes them buy insurance. Let's face the facts. They're not going to buy it."

Supporters, however, say it would make Oregon's roads safer by reducing the number of unlicensed and uninsured drivers.

"(The referendum) is trying to make this about immigration when this is a public safety issue about Oregon's roads," said Jeff Stone, director of Oregon Association of Nurseries and an architect of the law.

Stone said he's disappointed by the referendum, especially because the legislation passed with bipartisan support.

Gov. John Kitzhaber signed the bill last week before a throng of cheering supporters in front of the Capitol.

The law would allow tens of thousands of immigrants living in Oregon without legal permission to get driver's licenses good for four years, half as long as a standard Oregon license. Immigrants and others who don't have documents proving they are in the country lawfully, including elderly and homeless people, could apply for the driver's licenses if they've lived in Oregon for at least a year and meet other requirements.

The restricted driver's licenses could not be used to vote, board a plane or buy a firearm. The licenses would be marked "Driver's Card" to distinguish them from a standard Oregon license.
 

SB833 Referendum preparing for take off

Alert date: 
2013-05-10
Alert body: 

The final preparations are being completed as the "Protect Oregon Driver Licenses" referendum campaign is nearing take off.  Fasten you seatbelts!

Petition signature sheets are in their final approval stage and soon we will begin printing and distributing supplies.

If you are interested in helping to collect signatures, please click on the "contact us" link and sign up.  We are compiling a list of volunteers.

If you are interested, and are able to help financially, please do!  The expense to undertake such a project is great.  Any financial assistance you can give would be appreciated and would be put to very good use over-turning this destructive legislation.

Another suggestion, while we are dotting all the "i's" and crossing all the "t's" would be to write a letter to the Editor.  We would like to flood the papers with letters of support for this campaign.  For inspiration, visit the letters section of our website.

Standby for take-off!
 

Please send your personal thanks

Alert date: 
2013-04-30
Alert body: 

For years OFIR has worked tirelessly to secure Oregon driver licenses by insisting they be issued only to those whom could prove their legal presence in the US.  In 2008 the Oregon Legislature, which, at that time, was dominated by Democrats on both sides of the aisle, passed the current driver license bill with overwhelming support from both sides.  Then Governor Kulongowski had the wisdom to protect Oregonians and the bill was signed into law.

Fast forward five years and witness great legislation passed by a Democrat majority then, unwound by a Democrat majority now, in the name of "public safety".

There were 20 Republicans that stood strong under immense pressure from the bills proponents.  They didn't buy into the line that illegal aliens needed drivers licenses so they could buy car insurance.  They had the insight to see what this bill was really all about and had the courage and the strength to vote NO today.

Please call or email them and thank them for being true Representatives of the people of Oregon.  The Legislators that voted for the bill need to hear from you, as well.

SB833 bill was carried by Jenson and Harker.

Passed.Ayes, 38

Nays (voted no), 20--Bentz, Berger, Cameron, Conger, Esquivel, Freeman, Hicks, Huffman, Kennemer, Krieger, McLane, Olson, Parrish, Richardson, Sprenger, Thatcher, Thompson, Weidner, Whisnant, Whitsett;

Excused, 2--Hanna, Lively.

Debate on immigrant licenses gets personal

A two-hour debate Thursday on issuing state driver’s licenses without proof of legal presence got personal for both sides.

Mariana Alvarez Flores, a Salem farm worker and mother of three, told lawmakers in Spanish through a translator she doesn’t like driving without a license but she currently has no other option.

“In my case, I’m unable to take my children safely to their doctor’s appointments, to school and to the babysitter,” she told lawmakers during a public hearing.

By getting a short-term license, under Senate Bill 833, supporters argued it would create safer roads because these drivers would be required to go through training and purchase automobile insurance.

Some Salem residents and lawmakers disagreed, arguing that the bill only condones illegal behavior and would make the state a magnet for illegal immigrants while doing nothing to increase public safety.

Rep. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer, shared the story of Craig and Judy Cox, who were hit twice by drunken drivers she said were here illegally. Judy Cox died in the second accident while traveling with her husband between St. Paul and Newburg in 2007.

“I tell you this story not because I think all people without documents are driving around drunk,” Thatcher said. “But I tell you this story because this is an illustration of what can happen when we issue licenses to people who shouldn’t have them.”

While opponents geared the debate toward immigration, proponents — including the Oregon Farm Bureau, the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, the Oregon Commission on Hispanic Affairs and immigration groups — said the bill is merely a matter of public safety.

Applicants would still need to pass the written and driving-skills test and prove their identity, date of birth and residency in Oregon for one year, under Senate Bill 833.

The license, which cannot be used for identification, would last four years.

Sybil Hebb, the director of legislative advocacy of the Oregon Law Center, said the bill would help break down the barriers to poverty by helping low-income people get to work safely.

Victims of domestic violence and the homeless are among people who may not have proof of legal presence, she noted.

Proof of legal presence was required under a 2008 law, which lawmakers passed to comply with the requirements of the federal Real ID Act. The act does allow states to issue other licenses clearly marked as invalid for federal identification purposes.

Other states such as Washington and New Mexico currently issue licenses without proof of legal presence.

The driver’s license bill is not the only legislation that has pitted immigration-rights groups against immigration critics this session. Gov. John Kitzhaber signed into law in April a bill that would allow in-state tuition for students whose parents came to the United States illegally.

Dozens of people signed up to testify on the bill Thursday and the Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee said after the hearing he’s not sure yet if there will be enough votes to move the legislation to the floor.

“I haven’t polled the committee so I have no knowledge of that. We have a few amendments that we need to discuss and see what’s there,” said Sen. Lee Beyer, D-Eugene.

After the hearing, hundreds of immigration advocates from Causa Oregon gathered outside the Capitol.

“Sí, se puede,” they chanted as they pumped their fists in the air.

Translation: Yes, We Can.

Reporter Peter Wong contributed to this report.

Oregon is heading toward failure

Oregon is at risk of demise. What was once a beautiful state full of promise and potential, has become a magnet for foreign nationals that want the option to pick and choose which laws to obey and which to ignore. When our lawmakers and those who benefit from their presence, plot and scheme to advance the agenda of people in our country illegally then our state is doomed. Law abiding, tax paying citizens will take a back seat to rallying mobs of illegal aliens demanding their rights.

I am a lifelong Oregonian and I fear for the future of my state. The culture of corruption that is ruining our neighbors to the south is now making its way to the steps of our Capitol.  The rule of law is what defines a civil society.  Oregon is moving away from that and moving toward failure.  What a shame.

OFIR VP, Rick LaMountain, wrote a thoughtful article about the choices our Legislature is facing.


 

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