Congress

You're invited! Senator Merkley to Hold Town Hall in Washington County Saturday, March 12

Alert date: 
2016-03-09
Alert body: 

Senator Merkley will hold a Town Hall for Washington County constituents on Saturday, March 12, in Tualatin. Please attend, if possible, and ask questions or make comments concerning immigration issues.

In his announcement, he says: "I invite all residents to come and discuss what we need to do to strengthen our state and our nation."  This is a great opportunity for you to attend and ask specific immigration related questions.

What: Washington County Town Hall

When:  Saturday, March 12, 2016, 3:00 PM

Where: Tualatin High School, 22300 SW Boones Ferry Road, Tualatin, OR 97062

NumbersUSA gives Sen. Merkley a grade of F for recent years 2013-2016.  We recommend that you view and print out a copy of his voting report to give to him:

https://www.numbersusa.com/content/print/my/congress/1341/printreportcard//

If you are able to attend the meeting and speak or ask a question, please share the information with OFIR at ofir@oregonir.org.

Backsliding on communicable diseases brought to the US by illegal aliens

Rick Oltman has described, in no uncertain terms, the threats brought right into our nation's living room by the utter disregard for the well being of the citizens of this great country.

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A Weapon of Mass Destruction – A Weapon of Cultural Destruction?

By Rick Oltman, February 29, 2016

Back as early as the mid-1990s, parents of grade schoolers in California were learning that diseases that were once believed to have been eliminated were back in the public schools.  Head lice was epidemic in many schools.  Products, once discontinued, were brought back to market to deal with the disgusting infection.

Measles and whooping cough were spreading rapidly.  To many Californians, the cause was obvious:   illegal alien students were bringing these infections back into the schools...

Scarlet fever also reappeared.

A polio-like disease caused partial paralysis in California children.

Remember H1N1, aka “swine flu,” from a few years ago?...

We seemed to have escaped widespread infection from Ebola.  Will it be the same with the Zika virus?

More recently, as a result of the massive influx of (not only) illegal alien children from Central America who were not being medically screened, the U.S. has had outbreaks of other illnesses that were once eradicated; TB:  Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Chickenpox and Smallpox.

MDR – TB, multiple drug resistant tuberculosis, rampant in South East Asia, has been coming across the southern border for years.

Multiple drug resistant diseases are the result of improper use and overuse of antibiotics.  Evolution and natural selection can produce organisms that we cannot defeat.  And, in an environment where diseases can travel halfway around the world in a single day, the possibility of an outbreak of a deadly epidemic is as real as your worse science fiction nightmare.

However, just this week, Health and Human Services has announced that in a month, on March 28th, three sexually transmitted infections will no longer bar you from entering our country....

What is a Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD)?

WMD is often referred to by the collection of modalities that make up the set of weapons:  chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive.

WMD is defined in U.S. law (18 USC §2332a) as “Any weapon involving a disease organism.” ...

Now, ask yourself, “What possible benefit to America is there in allowing people infected with communicable diseases to come into our country, legally or illegally?  What possible explanation can there be for a government to be so irresponsible as to expose our populace to any disease like those listed above?”

Read the full article at USInc.com

Townhall meetings coming your way

Alert date: 
2016-02-08
Alert body: 

Next week, Representative Kurt Schrader will be hosting town hall meetings around the district  These meetings are a chance for you to visit, talk about what's been going on in Washington, and find out ways that his office can be of service to you.

Oregon City Town Hall - Tuesday, February 16th, 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Providence Willamette Falls Community Center Auditorium
519 15th Street
Oregon City, OR 97045

Salem Town Hall - Wednesday, February 17th, 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Salem Library - Loucks Auditorium
585 Liberty Street SE
Salem, OR 97301

Military Academy Day Open House - Saturday, March 5th, 10 a.m. - noon*
West Linn High School
5464 W A Street
West Linn, OR 97068
*Presentation begins at 11 a.m.
 

Concern over refugee re-settlement widespread

Americans are the most compassionate people on earth.  Yet, who is looking out for the best interests of Americans?  Clearly, citizens across the country are growing ever more concerned and worried for the impact that thousands of immigrant refugees will have on our country, our culture, our jobs, our environment, and ultimately, our personal safety in our own country.

Letters from across the country paint a vivid picture of the worry folks are facing every day. 

If you are able, please write a Letter to the Editor of your local paper.  Be concise, be passionate and be accurate in your statements.  Let OFIR know if you get a letter published and we will add it to our OFIR website's letter section.

 

 

50 refugees to come to Salem in February


Fifty refugees from various countries will be coming to Salem between February and September.

Catholic Charities is leading the effort to find housing and services for the refugees.

Jennifer Barischoff has helped resettle hundreds of refugees from around the world and was looking for more feasible ways to help them in Oregon.

Housing in Portland is limited and expensive, she said, so she started exploring Salem.

Salem offers a lot of advantages over other areas of Oregon for refugees, she said.

Salem housing is less expensive, employment at entry-level positions is more available and appealing, and it is a smaller, calmer city, something that can be beneficial to someone who has been through a traumatic situation and for someone who doesn't have any prior networks, she said.

Catholic Charities has helped resettle four or five families in Salem in the past year.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Office for Refugee Resettlement. Such funding goes toward the Match Grant Program, which has worked with the Catholic Charities program in Salem.

The conference recommended 50 people to go to Salem since it is a new program.

Due to the conflict in Syria, the United States is expected to take in 85,000 refugees this year, up from the average of 70-80,000 a year the country has maintained in recent years, Barischoff said.

She said Catholic Charities, on average, helps to resettle about 350 refugees per fiscal year statewide. This year, they will be helping an additional 100 refugees to resettle in Oregon.

Although several governors asked President Obama last year to reject all refugees from Syria, at least temporarily, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said in November the state would accept and "open the doors of opportunity" to refugees.

Catholic Charities staff and volunteers will work to provide the refugees with secure housing and furnishings, food with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  and health insurance with the Oregon Health Plan, a Social Security card, a rapid employment program and more.

They will provide English language programs and are partnering with local businesses and organizations to help them find work within four to six months of being in Salem.

The incoming refugees are from multiple countries, Barischoff said, including Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Burma, and Syria, though this is an estimate at this time.

Ultimately, Barischoff wishes for one thing for the refugees: a "renewed sense of hope for (their lives) and future(s)."

"It's hard to emphasize how it feels to go from a place of fear and trauma, one in which your life is in limbo, to a feeling of safety, where you can plan for the future and your life is no longer on hold," she said.

Pritam Rohila is one of the five dozen volunteers working to help the refugees coming to Salem this year.

Rohila came to the United States in 1967 and said he understands what it feels like to be in an unfamiliar place and have a deep desire to connect with what you know and love.

"I came voluntarily," Rohila said. "They did not. They came under threatening conditions. They are coming under duress.

"Producing a sense of home for them is much more important."

It's worse than you can imagine! The TPP - what is it and how will it impact Oregon?

Alert date: 
2016-01-05
Alert body: 

Plan to attend - register today!

Salem City Club Luncheon:

The TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP:  A Look at the TPP through an Oregon Lens

Friday, January 8, 2016
11:30AM, Lunch; 12 Noon, Program
Willamette Heritage Center at the Mill

 
There are few programs presented by Salem City Club with a “call for action” national time line for its citizens. This is one of them. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a “trade and investment” pact between the United States and eleven other Pacific-Rim countries, which represented approximately 44% of Oregon’s international trade in 2014. Oregon agriculture and labor interests are said to be significantly impacted by this agreement.

The TPP countries are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam. China, Oregon’s largest export destination, is noticeably absent. TPP negotiations began in 2008 with little public input and calls for more transparency. WikiLeaks released various sections of the TPP being considered. This was the first public look at possible provisions.

Although the TPP is billed as a trade pact, providing for reduced tariffs on products imported by member countries, the pact also impacts a broad range of issues such as food safety, Internet freedom, medicine costs, financial regulation and more. Congress voted to give the Obama administration Fast Track Authority, which provides for an up or down vote by Congress after a 90-day review period…no amendments allowed.

On January 8, we will be about 60 days into the review period. As of now, members of Oregon’s congressional delegation are still studying the TPP agreement and appear to be split on the subject. The 6,000 page agreement is available on-line from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Additionally, an internet search for TPP Oregon will result in a number of relevant articles.

An hour does not provide enough time for a detailed analysis of the agreement, but we hope to provide you with helpful information as you develop your own analysis of this far reaching trade and investment pact. Public input is critical to this process and the clock is running!   

Dr. Russ Beaton, nationally recognized scholar of sustainable economics, will guide us through a summary of the TPP and provisions directly impacting Oregon. Although much of the attention will be given to Oregon-specific products, Dr. Beaton also will address some of the more global aspects of the agreement.

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/68e5e95f95dd9e0d73059ae6e/images/5416e36a-02ec-485c-a0ef-88ac5d2db02a.jpgBeaton received his bachelor’s degree from Willamette University and his Master’s and Ph.D. from Claremont University.  His original training was in mathematical economics and econometrics, although his doctoral thesis was in location theory and urban land economics, which became a lifetime interest. 

After teaching at California State College at Fullerton – now Fullerton State University, and at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Beaton returned to his alma mater, Willamette University, where he taught economics and did research for 33 years, retiring in 2003.

His teaching interests included Microeconomic Theory, Environmental Economics, Energy Economics, and Regional Economics and the Economy of Oregon – all courses which he developed and introduced.
His research interests have always gravitated toward useful policy efforts that have the capability of directly and immediately affecting the lives of people. He has consulted and done policy-based contract research for several State of Oregon agencies in areas such as land use, agriculture, timber, transportation, energy, housing and general economic policy.

Co-author with Chris Maser of three books, all in the area of sustainable development, Russ has also participated in drafting the legislation, passed by the 1973 Oregon Legislature that created Oregon’s widely acclaimed land use planning system.

For Jan. 8 luncheon reservations, register online or call (503) 370-2808
by noon, Wed. Jan. 6.


 

Senator Merkley to hold Town Halls - plan to attend

Senator Merkley has announced a series of town halls in January.  Please check the list and plan to attend one of the town halls near you.  Invite your neighbors and friends to come along, as well.  You can raise many questions about the Senator’s positions on immigration issues.  You can view and print out a copy of his voting record to give to him, here:

https://www.numbersusa.com/content/my/congress/1341/reportcard/CONGRESS/

In his announcement, he says:  “Senator Merkley will update constituents on his work in Washington, D.C. and answer their questions and invite their suggestions about how to tackle the challenges facing Oregon and America.”

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January 5, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

Jefferson County Town Hall

Central Oregon Community College Open Campus - Community Room

1170 E Ashwood Road, Madras, OR 97741

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January 5, 2016 @ 3:00 PM

Crook County Town Hall

Crook County High School - Auditorium

1100 SE Lynn Blvd, Prineville, OR 97754

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January 5, 2016 @ 6:30 PM

Deschutes County Town Hall

Central Oregon Community College - Wille Hall

2600 NW College Way, Bend, OR 97701

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January 6, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

Lake County Town Hall

Memorial Hall - Lake County Courthouse

513 Center Street, Lakeview, OR 97630

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January 6, 2016 @ 3:30 PM

Klamath County Town Hall

Oregon Institute of Technology - Mazama Room, Student Union

3201 Campus Drive, Klamath Falls, OR 97601

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January 7, 2016 @ 9:00 AM

Jackson County Town Hall

Hanby Middle School - Cafeteria

806 6th Avenue, Gold Hill, OR 97525

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January 7, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

Josephine County Town Hall

Grants Pass High School - Library

830 NE 9th Street, Grants Pass, OR 97526

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January 7, 2016 @ 5:00 PM

Curry County Town Hall

Southwest Oregon Community College - Community Meeting Room

96082 Lone Ranch Parkway, Brookings, OR 97415

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January 8, 2016 @ 9:00 AM

Coos County Town Hall

Myrtle Point High School - Cafeteria

717 4th Street, Myrtle Point, OR 97458

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January 8, 2016 @ 12:30 PM

Douglas County Town Hall

Douglas High School – Cafeteria

1381 NW Douglas Blvd, Winston, OR 97496

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January 9, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

Benton County Town Hall

Monroe Community Library - Large Conference Room

380 N Fifth Street, Monroe, OR 97456

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January 9, 2016 @ 1:30 PM

Linn County Town Hall

Brownsville City Hall - City Council Chambers

255 N Main Street, Brownsville, OR 97327

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January 9, 2016 @ 4:00 PM

Lane County Town Hall

Coburg City Hall - City Council Chambers

91136 N Willamette Street, Coburg, OR 97408

Remember - the good Senator works for us.  Attend the meeting, ask questions, get answers.  Share your experience with OFIR.
 

A Quick Peek at the House Funding Bill

The House of Representatives has weighed in on its 2,000-plus page version of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, H.R. 2029 – which is an amendment to the Senate's amendment of the House's original version, if you follow that.

From an immigration perspective, it's a cornucopia of disappointment. If establishment politicians are wondering why the presidential campaigns in both parties have tilted toward non-establishment outliers as represented, left and right, by Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump or Ben Carson, then they need only look at their own handiwork to find the answer.

The American electorate is not so completely filled with ingénues or naifs that we don't recognize Congress's institutional incapacity to take on hard issues in any meaningful way, leaving the vacuum to be filled with various and sundry executive pronouncements from the Obama administration in every avenue of public life.

It is in no small measure this fecklessness and failure of will on the part of our legislative branch that has led even establishment conservative stalwarts such as George Will to bemoan the rise of a huge and constitutionally-unmentioned fourth branch of government – the bureaucracy, which he describes as "the administrative state".

I have neither the patience nor desire to devote to an analysis of the entire omnibus bill represented by H.R. 2029, but here are a few highlights:

  • Transfers $4 million from the Immigration Examinations Fee Account of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) in the Department of Justice (DOJ). That account is where fees collected from aliens for the filing of various applications are deposited, so as to ensure that adjudication of their applications is self-funding. EOIR is the name of the DOJ agency which handles immigration court removal hearings. USCIS is quite flush with cash these days, because for years it has been skimming money off these immigration fees to build a “reserve fund” that it had hoped to use to administer the president’s plan to issue work permits to millions of illegal aliens, which was blocked by a federal court.
  • Appropriates $476 million in Byrne state and local law enforcement grant funds but does not in any way require that those state or local agencies comply with immigration detainers or not enact "sanctuary" policies of the type that have resulted in so many murders by illegal aliens in the recent past. (See here and here.)
  • Appropriates $210 million for State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) funds – again, with no caveats that to receive the money, state and local governments must honor detainers and take no steps to impede immigration law enforcement.
  • Appropriates an additional $187 million in COPS grants to state and local law enforcement agencies for hiring and retention of officers. Once again, no caveats on the funding to require cooperation with federal immigration agents in enforcing the laws against alien criminals.
  • Provides $9.2 million to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which recently exceeded its statutory mandate and did a one-sided hatchet job on the federal immigration detention system.
  • Provides $385 million to the Legal Services Corporation without specifying that such funds may not be used in support of aliens in removal proceedings, contrary to Section 292 of the Immigration and Nationality Act – although the appropriation language very specifically outlines other areas in which the money may not be used contrary to statute.
  • Appropriates the DHS Office of the Secretary almost $137.5 million for operations and executive management provided that Congress receives within 30 days of enactment two reports – one on the biometric entry-exit system, and one on visa overstays. (Note that both of these reports are already statutorily required, and so demanding that the law requiring the overdue reports to be complied with seems in many ways an exercise in both redundancy and futility.)
  • Appropriates more than $447 million for border fencing, infrastructure, and technology.
  • Also provides more than $802 million to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for a variety of purposes including salaries and benefits – but also for unmanned aerial systems (drones), even though the DHS Inspector General has repeatedly panned the program as ineffective, with weak internal controls and repeated cost overruns without evidence of value. (See here and here.)
  • Appropriates more than $5.79 billion to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for operations, equipment, and salaries, subject to several provisos. One of them is that $5 million will be withheld until the ICE director briefs Congress on the agency's efforts to increase the number of state and local law enforcement agencies participating in the "Priority Enforcement Program" (PEP).

    The problem with this proviso is that by mere mention of PEP, Congress legitimizes it even though it was created as a part of the administration's constitutionally dubious "executive action" memos. At the same time, merely demanding a "report" in return for release of the money provides the spinmeisters at DHS and ICE a prime opportunity to put together a pseudo-document purporting to show the wonders of the program notwithstanding its obvious shortcomings and the fact that many sheriffs and police chiefs dislike it intensely, or have rejected it out of hand.

  • Provides U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the immigration benefits-granting agency, nearly $119.7 million, most for administration of the E-Verify system. (As noted above, most of USCIS is funded out of its fee account.)

These are just a few of the immigration provisions contained in the omnibus bill that give me pause (or outright heartburn).

If you look for anything in this measure that defunds, or even pushes the pause button on, the refugee or asylum programs, which are exceedingly vulnerable to fraud and misuse, including potentially by terrorists, you will look in vain. You won't even find anything directing DHS or its subordinate agencies to tighten up vetting procedures in the wake of the San Bernardino attack.

It would be easy to try to forgive or overlook many of the shortcomings of the bill, immigration-related or otherwise, by pointing to its inordinate size and breadth, and saying that one can't micro-manage everything in an omnibus government spending bill. But the fact is that, when they want, congressional legislators are quite happy to micro-manage. Take a look, for instance, at this gem hidden on page 215 of the bill:

Sec. 529. To the extent practicable, funds made available in this Act should be used to purchase light bulbs that are "Energy Star" qualified or have the "Federal Energy Management Program" designation.

No, the reality appears to be something entirely different than simple information overload. It seems to me that we have a Republican majority in both chambers of Congress with few principles in which they believe strongly enough that they are willing to call out the White House and take a stand, particularly if those principles carry with them any degree of controversy – which the subject of immigration inevitably does.

Reflecting on what the bill does – and, importantly, what it doesn't even attempt to do – I'm led to conclude that when House Republicans elected Paul Ryan as Speaker, they got exactly what they wanted, and what they expected: a John Boehner Mini-Me. What, then, was the point in unseating Boehner in the first place?

 

Voters Favor 'Kate's Law' Sentences for Illegal Immigrant Felons

Senate Democrats recently blocked "Kate's Law," legislation intended to impose mandatory prison terms on illegal immigrants convicted of major felonies who have been deported but have again entered the United States illegally. The law was named after Kate Steinle, the young woman murdered this summer in San Francisco by just such a person.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of Likely U.S. Voters favor a five-year mandatory prison sentence for illegal immigrants convicted of major felonies who return to America after being deported. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 27% oppose such legislation, while 18% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Seventy-two percent (72%) of Republicans and 53% of voters not affiliated with either major political party favor a law like the proposed Kate's Law. Democrats agree by a much narrower 43% to 36% margin, with 21% undecided.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of voters say the federal government is not aggressive enough in punishing illegal immigrants who commit felony crimes in this country. Just 22% believe the government is aggressive enough in punishing these individuals, but nearly as many (19%) are not sure.

Following Steinle's murder by an illegal immigrant from Mexico who had been deported several times and come back, 62% of voters said the U.S. Justice Department should take legal action against cities that provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants, and 58% said the federal government should cut off funding for those cities. Republicans in Congress included Kate's Law in legislation to cut funding to “sanctuary cities." President Obama threatened to veto the measure, but Senate Democrats stopped it procedurally.

The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on October 28-29, 2015 by Rasmussen Reports...

Fifty-three percent (53%) of voters believe illegal immigration increases the level of serious crime in America. Thirty-three percent (33%) say it has no impact on crime.  More voters than ever feel the United States is not aggressive enough in deporting those who are here illegally....

Blacks and whites favor mandatory sentences more than other minority voters do...

Most voters who favor such mandatory sentencing (77%) think the government is not aggressive enough in punishing illegal immigrants who commit felony crimes...

Voters remain seriously worried about illegal immigration and still think stricter border control is the best way to stop it.

Most voters continue to believe the policies and practices of the federal government encourage, rather than discourage, illegal immigration

Obama’s plan to exempt millions of illegal immigrants from deportation still remains on hold courtesy of the federal courts, and that’s fine with most voters who continue to oppose the plan.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

Please sign up for the Rasmussen Reports daily e-mail update (it’s free) or follow us on Twitter or Facebook. Let us keep you up to date with the latest public opinion news.
 

OFIR President returns from Washington DC conference

OFIR President Cynthia Kendoll has just returned from the Writer's Workshop conference held in Arlington, VA. 

A plethora of experts laid out sound, compelling arguments about why and how we need to regain control of our borders, ramp up interior enforcement and actually enforce our immigration laws.  Topics included:

Job competition and falling wages

The human cost of illegal alien crime

The disregard for the rule of law and our own government is the worst offender

Importing refugees, the impending threat to National security and who is paying for it all

The environmental strain with an increasing population

What borders?  Are we enforcing our own laws?

The status of lawsuits regarding immigration and Executive Amnesty etc.

And, much, much more...

All of the speakers were very interesting, knowledgeable and passionate about their topic, but most compelling of all were the gut wrenching stories of two men - one lost a son, the other lost his brother.  Both were ruthlessly murdered by illegal aliens. 

Maria Espinoza, who leads the charge of The Remembrance Project organized a press conference at the National Press Club as she geared up for the National Remembrance Day, which was Nov. 1.

At the conference, Cynthia was one of several leaders invited to host a round-table discussion.  The two initiatives OFIR is working to advance in Oregon were the topic of discussion.  Both initiatives, making English the Official language in the State of Oregon and requiring employers with 5 or more employees to use E-Verify are currently working their way through the legal challenge process. 

When it becomes available, OFIR will post a link to the streaming video of all of the presentations.  To view past Writer's Workshop video's click here.  Last year (2014), Cynthia addressed the conference and told about the Measure 88 campaign.

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