election

Victory in Texas: Governor Abbott Signs Anti-Sanctuary Bill

On Sunday, May 7, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) signed Senate Bill (SB) 4, strong anti-sanctuary legislation to promote public safety and ensure law enforcement is able to fully cooperate with federal immigration officials. (Texas Tribune, May 7, 2017) Texas is the second state to pass a state-wide anti-sanctuary law this year. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant (R) signed a bill into law outlawing sanctuary cities in March. (US News, Mar. 27, 2017)

Specifically, SB 4 prohibits state and local entities from adopting, enforcing, or endorsing policies that prohibit or materially limit the enforcement of immigration laws. (SB 4) Public university and college campuses are explicitly included in these requirements. (Id.) SB 4, however, does make an exception for local school districts, public health centers, and other community centers. (Id.) SB 4 also authorizes law enforcement to inquire into a person’s immigration status during a lawful investigation to a criminal offense. (Id.)

To ensure officers comply with the law, SB 4 subjects law enforcement officials with criminal, Class A misdemeanor, charges if they do not comply with detainers sent by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (Id.) Additionally, localities or colleges who defiantly impose sanctuary policies may be subject to pay a fine, between $1,000 and $25,500 per day the policy is in place. (Id.)

Governor Abbott has consistently taken strong positions on immigration enforcement since taking office and made passing state-wide anti-sanctuary legislation a legislative priority for 2017. (FAIR Legislative Update, Jan. 10, 2017; FAIR Legislative Update, Feb. 7, 2017) “As governor, my top priority is public safety, and this bill furthers that objective by keeping dangerous criminals off our streets,” Abbott said. (Reuters, May 8, 2017)

Texas has been on the front lines of the illegal immigration surge that expanded during the Obama Administration. (FAIR Legislative Update, July 5, 2017) Former President Obama’s lax enforcement policies encouraged record numbers of illegal alien minors and families from Central America to cross the southern border into Texas over recent years. (Id.) As a result, Texas taxpayers have fronted billions in costs associated illegal immigration, particularly with regard to law enforcement, education, and public benefits spending. (Id.)

OFIR launches STOP Oregon Sanctuaries ballot measure drive

Alert date: 
2017-05-01
Alert body: 

Oregonians for Immigration Reform announces the launching of a new initiative: Initiative Petition 22 -- "Stop Oregon Sanctuaries" - to be placed on the November 2018 statewide ballot.  OFIR is now collecting sponsorship signatures.

"Since 1987, Oregon Revised Statute 181A.820 has prevented Oregon's state and local law-enforcement agencies from offering their fullest cooperation to the U.S. authorities who seek to identify and detain illegal aliens," said OFIR president Cynthia Kendoll.  She stated further:

"The law has effectively rendered ours a 'sanctuary state' for those in the country illegally.  ORS 181A.820 undermines the rule of law generally and federal immigration law specifically, thwarts the enforcement efforts of the brave men and women who serve on our national-security front lines, and endangers innocent Americans and legal residents."

As an example of the latter, Kendoll noted last summer's murder of three people in Woodburn.  Bonifacio Oseguera-Gonzalez, an illegal alien who had been deported six times, is charged with this crime, is incarcerated and awaiting trial.  "If not for ORS 181A.820," Kendoll said, "Oseguera-Gonzalez might have been identified previously as an illegal alien by state or local police and deported by ICE."

OFIR vice president Richard LaMountain points out: "Illegal aliens can and do harm the very people to whom Oregon and its counties and cities owe their foremost responsibility: American citizens.  For this reason, enforcement of U.S. immigration law is not extrinsic, but central, to the duties of state and local law enforcement."

Besides the deaths and injuries to innocent citizens in Oregon caused by illegal aliens, there are significant fiscal costs to taxpayers for services to illegal aliens.

The current threshold for initiatives to be placed on the 2018 ballot is 88,184 signatures of registered Oregon voters, collected by July 2018.

Founded in 2000, Oregonians for Immigration Reform advocates ending illegal immigration and reducing the excessive levels of legal immigration.  In 2014, OFIR spearheaded the successful Ballot Measure 88 referendum by which Oregon voters rejected Senate Bill 833 that would have granted legal driving privileges to illegal aliens.

For further information about OFIR's goals and activities, see the website at:  http://www.oregonir.org.

Oregon's sanctuary law when passed in 1987 was cited as ORS 181.850.  It has subsequently been amended and is now cited as ORS 181A.820.

Pres. Trump's first 100 days make improvements to immigration enforcement and begin laying the groundwork for worker visa reforms

Tomorrow marks President Donald Trump's 100th day in office, and immigration has been a key component of his 100-day agenda. Thus far, Trump has solely relied on his executive powers to stem the tide of illegal border crossings and beef up interior enforcement. And while he's taken some good first steps in addressing legal immigration, he's yet to take strong action on protecting American workers from the steady flow of cheap foreign labor that drives down wages and increases job competition for workers.

THE HIGH POINTS

Past presidents and candidates have talked tough on immigration, but none have followed through on that tough talk. In fact, a clip from Bill Clinton's 1996 State of the Union Address is one of the most watched videos we've ever posted on our Facebook page (94 million views). But neither Clinton, George W. Bush, nor Barack Obama were ever committed to ending illegal immigration.

Candidate Trump used some of the toughest pro-enforcement language ever during his White House run, and we've already seen its impact. Border Apprehensions -- the measure used to determine overall illegal border crossings -- are at a 17-year low, and the administration has significantly stepped up interior enforcement efforts across the country.

In just his first week after being sworn in, Pres. Trump signed two Executive Orders aimed at securing the border and strengthening interior enforcement. Those Executive Orders called for:

  • Increases in Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents,
  • Increase in immigration judges,
  • Withholding visas from countries that refuse to repatriate deported aliens,
  • An end to catch-and-release,
  • The construction of more detention facilities for detained illegal aliens along the border,
  • Granting Border Patrol access to federal lands,
  • Ending Pres. Obama's Priority Enforcement Program (PEP),
  • Reinstating Secure Communities and encouraging increased participation from local police in immigration enforcement, and
  • Creation of an office for victims of illegal-alien crimes.

Trump needs money from Congress to accomplish a few of the above points, but his Administration has already moved forward on many of the points using existing funds.

LAYING THE GROUND WORK

Pres. Trump will need help from Congress on several more of his immigration priorities, but he's at least started the discussion on a few of them. Most notably, his FY2018 budget request to Congress asked for funding to make E-Verify mandatory for all employers. Congress will need to pass a mandatory E-Verify law to make that request a reality, but budget requests typically reveal the White House's policy priorities for the next fiscal year.

NumbersUSA believes requiring all employers to use E-Verify to end the jobs magnet is the single, strongest step that can be taken in ending illegal immigration and protecting American workers. But over the years, we have also advocated for full implementation of the Secure Fence Act of 2006 that requires double-layered, reinforced fencing along 700-miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump's campaign mantra was to 'build the wall', and while the details of 'the wall' remain a bit fuzzy, he's continued to push for some sort of barrier construction along the border.

The Administration is also off to a good start at ending sanctuary policies. Both Pres. Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have called for withholding federal funds from jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement efforts. This week, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled that withholding all federal funds from a sanctuary jurisdiction was unconstitutional, but ruled that it may be okay for the administration to withhold federal grants that require local law enforcement to cooperate with federal law enforcement. That's exactly what the Trump Administration aims to do.

There hasn't been much action on legal immigration, but the Trump Administration did step up its efforts in recent weeks on the H-1B issue. The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security have put tech employers on notice that any misuse of H-1B visas will be investigated, and Trump signed an executive order last week, calling for a review of the H-1B application process. Current federal regulations require that H-1B applications be awarded through a lottery process, but Trump has called for a new process that would award visas to the most skilled or highest paid applicants.

Pres. Trump has done little, yet, to address permanent, legal immigration, but he did include a strong statement in his Joint Address to Congress in February that called for reforming the current legal immigration system to a merit-based system that serves the national interest. He's also met with Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) to discuss their RAISE Act, which would end Chain Migration and the Visa Lottery and reduce overall immigration by up to 50%.

AREAS NEEDING ATTENTION

The Trump Administration has continued Obama's unconstitutional executive amnesty, DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Trump said he would end the program on Day 1 of his presidency, but one of his January Executive Orders, calling for a review of all of the Obama-era immigration orders, specifically excluded a review of DACA. While the renewals and decisions over what to do with the current DACA population may be more difficult, his Administration's refusal to stop issuing NEW work permits flies in the face of his clearly stated campaign promise on that issue.

Trump has also allowed the Optional Training Program (OPT) to continue. OPT allows foreign students who graduate from a U.S. college or university with a STEM degree to stay and work in the U.S. for up to two years. The program places recent American STEM students in direct competition with foreign students for jobs immediately after graduation. OPT was started by George W. Bush, expanded by Barack Obama, and has never been authorized by Congress. It would be easy for the Administration to eliminate the program.

Perhaps the most important immigration lesson of the first 100 days of the Trump Administration is that simply sending a strong message of enforcement is enough to begin to dramatically reduce illegal entries. That alone has been a tremendous success. Yes, there are some unfulfilled immigration-campaign promises and some areas that need more attention, but it's only been 100 days. There's clear evidence that immigration enforcement is improving, and there are hopeful signs that legal immigration reductions could be on the horizon.

 
 

 

Once celebrated, special driver's licenses stir anxiety among immigrants in California

AUBURN, Calif. -- Leticia Aceves remembers the fear of her first drive alone.

... in the country illegally with no driver's license, and little grasp of English or California's traffic laws...

"I was shaking all the way from my house... Aceves said.

Two years ago, driving got less stressful for Aceves and 850,000 other Californians who received driver's licenses under a state law meant to help immigrants living in the country illegally become more integrated into society.

Over the past decade, California has taken several steps to bring immigrants without legal status into the mainstream, including health care for the young and financial aid for college students.

....Being able to drive without fear of arrest has given immigrants access to more jobs and made them more confident drivers, they say....

But President Donald Trump's crackdown on immigration has made those license holders anxious...

The issue facing undocumented immigrants in California isn't at play in Oregon. Since 2008, Oregon has required applicants for driver's licenses or permits to provide proof of citizenship.

In California, the decision to give driver's licenses to immigrants here illegally was hotly debated, and it took more than a decade to get the law passed. Critics continue to argue that it has legitimized illegal immigration....

The licenses are designed for people who cannot show proof of legal-resident status in the United States...

Still, the licenses have changed the lives of tens of thousands of people in California. Manuel Mesa remembers well the anxiety that came with driving illegally....

...When Mesa got a driver's license in 2015, he became more inclined to challenge police if he felt his rights were being violated. He also said learning traffic laws in preparation for the exam made him more confident behind the wheel...

More important, the license helped him get a better job. Mesa applied for a commercial driver's license and now works as a big-rig driver, hauling wood, computers, foods and other products.

Jessica Gonzalez, a DMV spokeswoman, said that although the department makes "databases available to law-enforcement entities," that information would not include the legal status of license holders. She said state laws forbid police from discriminating based on a person showing an AB-60 license.

ICE spokeswoman Lori Haley said investigators could use information from the DMV in the course of criminal investigations, but that "ICE does not use data from the DMV to identify immigration enforcement targets."

This month, though, the American Civil Liberties Union released documents that it contends show that Vermont's Department of Motor Vehicles coordinated with ICE last year. The record included emails between ICE and the Vermont DMV in which immigration agents asked that the legal status of certain drivers be checked, said James Lyall, executive director of the ACLU of Vermont.

Vermont is one of 12 states and the District of Columbia where unauthorized immigrants can obtain driver's licenses.

The Trust Act in California offers a measure of protection, said Daniel Sharp, the legal director at the Central American Resource Center, a community organization that helps immigrants get licenses, among other programs. That law makes it harder for state and local law enforcement officials to hold immigrants who have committed minor crimes for pickup by ICE agents.

In this climate of fear, Sharp said, it's unlikely that immigrants who have waited this long will apply for a license.

Proponents of California's law argue that licensing immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally has made roads safer...

A recent study by Stanford researchers showed that hit-and-run cases were increasing more slowly because licensed drivers are less likely to flee the scene of a crime.

But critics such as Hans von Spakovsky of the conservative Heritage Foundation say issuing the licenses to such immigrants legitimizes their presence in the country and makes it easier for them to stay. Even though the license looks different and has specific limitations, von Spakovsky said, it "makes it easier for them to use this government-issued ID for many illegal purposes, such as applying for government benefits or registering to vote."

Pendleton City Council declines sanctuary city status

The City Council took no action on the mostly symbolic measure of making Pendleton a sanctuary city.

At a Tuesday meeting, city resident Shaindel Beers asked the council to declare Pendleton a sanctuary city by adopting an American Civil Liberties Union-endorsed list of nine policies and rules that limited local police cooperation with federal immigration enforcement.

Beers’ request only drew public support from city councilor Scott Fairley, whose motion to adopt the policies died from a lack of a second.

In her presentation, Beers said that although Oregon is already considered a “sanctuary state,” adopting the ACLU’s policies and rules would send a message to undocumented immigrants that Pendleton was a safe and inclusive place.

“A scared population isn’t a safe population,” she said. “If we can make people feel safe and included we would be a better community and a community that people would be proud to be a part of.”

Beers, an English instructor at Blue Mountain Community College, said BMCC already had “safe spaces” on campus, although she was unaware if any other cities in Eastern Oregon had adopted the ACLU’s list.

Thanks to state law, police chief Stuart Roberts told the council that the city was already practicing many of the policies and rules listed by the ACLU.

Roberts said the exception was a rule that required immigration enforcement agents to always wear duty jackets and make their badges visible at all times while in city facilities.

He added that officers don’t usually detain suspects in the police department and rarely come into contact with immigration enforcement.

Roberts said adopting the ACLU policies wouldn’t affect how Pendleton police conduct business or the department’s budget, meaning he didn’t have a strong opinion on the list one way or the other.

Councilor John Brenne worried that President Donald Trump’s threats to strip federal funding from sanctuary cities would hurt Pendleton.

Both Roberts and city attorney Nancy Kerns were unsure if the Trump administration would legally be able to level punitive measures against sanctuary cities.

Sometimes the council’s deliberations resembled glass half-empty or glass half-full argument. While Fairley thought there was no downside to adopting the ACLU policies, councilor Neil Brown saw no upside.

Ultimately, Beers’ request couldn’t find enough supporters on the council besides Fairley and the council took no action.
 

'Anti-Sanctuary' Legislation Brewing in Oregon

House Bill 2921 would repeal Oregon’s sanctuary state law and mandate that Oregon law enforcement agencies assist in federal immigration enforcement. The bill would also prohibit cities and counties from establishing sanctuary protections.

But Rep. Mike Nearman, a Republican from Independence, who is one of the bill’s chief sponsors, says he doesn’t expect HB 2921 to receive a hearing, instead Nearing is working on a petition to make the repeal a ballot measure to put before the voters in 2018.

Nearman says he doesn’t like that the state’s sanctuary law prohibits Oregon law officers from enforcing federal immigration laws. “I think that we just need to be able to enforce the laws just for their own sake just because we don’t need illegal people running around our country,” he tells Eugene Weekly.

Meanwhile, on March 13, the Eugene City Council voted unanimously to adopt a sanctuary-type ordinance to protect immigrants and Eugene residents. The “Protections for Individuals” ordinance prohibits city staff and operations from utilizing “city resources for purposes of enforcing federal immigration law unless related to a criminal offense,” according to a city news release.

Eugene Human Rights Commission Chair Ken Neubeck says the ordinance was passed in case any changes — such as the ones Nearman proposes — are made to the state’s sanctuary law. “This is an ordinance, not a resolution, resolutions are much less powerful and ordinances are permanent.”

The ordinance, which goes into effect 30 days after the vote, includes a provision that forbids the city from tracking people’s political, social, religious activities. Neubeck says this is a preventative measure in case the federal government attempts to create a registry.

Nearman says states should be “responsible for everything they can possibly be responsible for.” The framers of the Constitution “envisioned a federal government that had limited powers and everything else was left to the people,” he adds.

Contrary to the small-government ideology of the Republican Party, relinquishing the state’s sanctuary law would give more power to the federal government. Section two of the proposed bill states: “A law enforcement agency of the state of Oregon or of any political subdivision of the state may use agency moneys, equipment or personnel for the purpose of detecting or apprehending persons whose only violation of law is that they are persons of foreign citizenship present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws.”

Illegal immigration, Nearman says, is a problem. “I think by some estimates it costs the state of Oregon $1.2 billion a year for illegal aliens,” he says. “I’m on the budget committee for my school district, and we spend a lot of money to teach students who don’t speak English.”

 Nearman credits that estimate to “The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Aliens on Oregonians,” a report published by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The report claims Oregonians pay $1 billion per year for “illegal aliens and their children,” and cites one of its own prior studies. One resource listed in the study cites “constitutional scholars” without listing any names.

FAIR is designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. FAIR’s founder John Tanton corresponded with a FAIR donor suggesting that she “read the work of a radical anti-Semitic professor — to ‘give you a new understanding of the Jewish outlook on life’ — and suggested that the entire FAIR board discuss the professor’s theories on the Jews,” according to the SPLC.

SPLC has documented more than twenty years of Tanton’s ties with “Holocaust deniers, a former Klan lawyer and leading white nationalist thinkers, including Jared Taylor (who wrote in 2005, ‘When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears’).”

Asked if Nearman knew about FAIR being a designated hate group, he replied, “I don’t put much stock in the Southern Poverty Law Center. The bar to being designated as a hate group is pretty low for them. I stand by my data.”

Nearman adds that Oregon needs guest workers. “I’m a software engineer by trade, so my last job, we had people who were in some status of legal-ness working, but they weren’t citizens or anything like that, and that’s fine,” he says. “We do that as we have needs and as we can vet people.”

Money is also a concern when relocating Syrian immigrants to the U.S., according to Nearman, who suggests the federal government is spending 12 times as much bringing refugees to the United States as it would cost to resettle them “somewhere in the Middle East.”

On Feb. 15, Oregon House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson released a statement saying she was “appalled” at the House Republicans’ proposed legislation: “At a time when we should be extending a hand of compassion to those fleeing violence or hardship, HB 2921 would instead prevent the state or local communities from choosing to protect their residents.”

Nearman and the bill’s only other sponsor, Rep. Sal Esquivel, a Republican from Medford, are also pursuing a ballot initiative on the issue. They gathered 1,346 signatures on Oct. 20, surpassing the minimum requirement of 1,000 to get a ballot title. A total of 88,184 signatures would be needed for the petition to be placed on the ballot to be decided on by voters.

Nearman did not bring up the petition during an interview. An additional request for a comment was not answered.

EW reached out to Rep. Sal Esquivel on Feb. 23. An unsigned email from his account responded, “Thank you but at this time Rep. Esquivel is not available for an interview with Eugene Weekly.” A second email asking Esquivel once more for an interview did not receive a response.

Nonprofits Helping Illegal Immigrants Took $291 Million From Taxpayers

Taxpayers funded eight nonprofits that serve, protect or advocate for illegal immigrants with more than $291 million between 2012 to 2016, according to an analysis of federal spending data and tax documents Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group.

The eight groups — including at least one that endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016 — provide a variety of support to illegal aliens, ranging from legal and social services to political advocacy.

Ninety-four percent of the public funds — or nearly $274 million — came from the federal government...

The $291 million total in public funding, however, is almost certainly an underestimate...   Additionally, those groups only represent a small sample of publicly-funded pro-illegal immigrant nonprofits.

“At least 684 nonprofits nationwide provide some form of legal aid to immigrants,” a 2013 Urban Institute study said.
 
....The study estimated that California’s 111 nonprofits then providing legal aid to immigrants could serve as many as 22,973 illegal immigrants each.

The Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) received the most in government grants of the eight charities....$255 million — or 87 percent — of the total funding.... A large portion of that money was awarded to assist refugees.

And government grants accounted for 92 percent of the LIRS budget between 2013 and 2015.

LIRS wants to ensure “all migrants and refugees are protected, embraced and empowered,” and seeks to end detention centers, according to its website. Instead, the group advocates for “community-based alternatives to immigration detention” to house “individuals as they await a final decision on their immigration status.”

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) was the second most publicly-funded charity among the eight analyzed nonprofits, receiving more than $17 million between 2013 and 2015, data shows. Government grants accounted for only a small portion of its revenue.

The group’s 2012 and 2016 990s were unavailable, but NCLR received an average of more than $5 million each year. La Raza’s political action committee endorsed Clinton for president during the 2016 campaign. It was the group’s first-ever presidential candidate endorsement.

La Raza’s president and CEO Janet Murguia is an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump’s immigration enforcement strategies...

Americans For Immigrant Justice received nearly $8 million in government grants between 2012 and 2014 (its 2015 and 2016 990s were unavailable) — the third largest amount among the eight charities reviewed by TheDCNF. Public money accounted for nearly 91 percent of its total revenue, and it annually received $2.6 million on average.

The nonprofit legal defense fund has represented detained illegal immigrants, and cases often involve the conditions of the facilities....

Below are the five remaining publicly-funded nonprofits TheDCNF analyzed.

TheDCNF was highly selective when deciding which charities it would sample. Ultimately, only groups with a national scope and focus that overtly assisted illegal immigrants and dealt exclusively in immigration matters were included.

Nonprofits operating at local or state levels, those more covert about dealings with illegal immigrants, and groups that handle a variety of issues in addition to immigration were excluded.

One group awarded significant public funding that TheDCNF excluded was the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Migration and Refugee Services, since its funding is lumped together with other services it provides.

The Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc. (CLINIC) was the only nonprofit analyzed that responded to requests for comment, besides Americans for Immigrant Justice.

CLINIC initiated its “text4refugees” project with a federal grant of $525,000. Anonymous subscribers receive up to two texts per month from CLINIC about the citizenship application process....

“Our affiliates, the local nonprofit immigration service agencies, are the ones who deal directly with immigrants,” Zapor told TheDCNF. “So, indirectly, some subset of undocumented women who are victims of violence may benefit from the funding. But they do not get any direct ‘benefit’ beyond a better-trained legal representative.”

Follow Ethan on Twitter. Send tips to ethan@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Swedish cops agree with Trump on statements about Islamic unrest

The denizens of our nation’s news conglomerates would have Americans believe that Sweden is a multicultural paradise and that Muslim asylum-migrants have not been committing violent crimes. This characterization reeks of fallacy, according to Sweden’s own police officers.

While President Donald Trump may have been wrong about a specific incident that he mentioned during a rally, the underlying truth is that Sweden — along with other European countries — is far from being a paradise especially with the recent tsunami of Muslim refugees.  “Just a day after ‘fake news’ criticizes Trump’s comments on Sweden, a riot in so-called ‘Little Moghadishu’ – the Swedish borough of Rinkeby,” said news commentator Tyler Durden.

sweden-riots-story-topOne week after Swedish government raised its terror alert level to the highest ever in that Scandinavian country, law enforcement officers delivered their own alert by telling their superiors and political leaders that their weapons are not sufficient to prevent a terror attack or respond to an Islamist perpetrated mass-shooting or IED (improvised explosive device) incident.

“We are sent out without adequate weapons, only [carrying] 9mm semiautomatic sidearms. We are also told that there may not be enough protective vests and military-quality helmets. It feels like being sent out on a lion hunt with a pea-shooter and a jumpsuit made out of zebra meat,” wrote one police officer identified only as “Christian,” in an internal incident report.

“It feels like being sent out on a lion hunt with a pea-shooter and a jumpsuit made out of zebra meat,” he added.

In the wake of the devastating Paris attacks, police officers in Sweden are disturbed over they fact that they have neither the protective gear nor the weapons needed to fight if Islamic protesters launched a full-scale jihadi assault in Swedish neighborhoods.

One of Christian’s colleagues, “Niklas,” wrote that he was forced to patrol a location considered a risk area for terrorist attacks without a protective helmet, as those available were the wrong size for his head. “Without the right equipment and with inadequate training in tactics and shooting we still had to work as live targets without any kind of chance to defend ourselves or our [locations] against a potential attack,” he wrote.

According to American law enforcement veteran Sid Franes (NYPD-Ret.), police departments and agencies in countries such as Great Britain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and others had dismissed American cops as gunslingers and cowboys. “The Brits, for instance, found it amusing that their officers controlled their city streets without the need for firearms, while American cops carried sidearms or concealed weapons and had shotguns at the ready in their prowl cars,” said Franes.

“But now you have heavily armed police in Britain and France patrolling city streets with automatic rifles and other impact weapons,” Franes noted. “Unfortunately, police officers will lose their lives while politicians — safe and secure — decide what cops need to protect themselves and their communities.”

License to discriminate?

Many discussions about unequal justice in the United States focus on the disproportionate number of African Americans — particularly young black men — who end up in our jails and prisons. Our review of 5.5 million state court records showed that same pattern in Oregon. But another set of data also jumped out: a spike in driving violations among Latino drivers.

Our search into the cause of that disparity lead us back to 2001, when two men — Bob Terry and Jim Ludwick — were on opposite sides of an old argument that had taken a dramatic turn.

This week we explore a decision made more than a decade ago and its consequences, which are only now being fully understood.


Bob Terry, former head of the state nursery growers association, says agricultural workers need to be able to legally drive, regardless of their immigration status.

Bob Terry flew home from Washington, D.C., in early September 2001, confident that a long-negotiated immigration reform deal was imminent. Then a member of the Oregon Association of Nurseries, Terry had a stake is making sure his members' employees — many of whom he guessed had entered the country illegally — had more than job security. They needed a path to citizenship.

"I was sitting down with Ted Kennedy, Dianne Feinstein — just a whole host, including Cesar Chavez's son — to try and get the immigration bill worked through," said Terry, a Republican who later became a Washington County commissioner. "And it was ready to go. It was going to go that Friday. And then 9/11 happened."

Stories saturated the media of how 19 men had come into the United States from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Egypt and boarded planes using illegally obtained driver's licenses. It was just the fuel Jim Ludwick needed.

Ludwick had moved to Oregon from California three decades earlier and bought 40 acres in the hills west of McMinnville, where he built a house with windows to look out on the Yamhill Valley.

In 2000, after retiring from a career as a pharmaceutical salesman, Ludwick launched Oregonians for Immigration Reform to lobby for laws that would make Oregon a less-welcoming place for undocumented immigrants and immigrants who didn't assimilate. At the time, Oregon didn't require residents to show proof of legal immigration status when applying for a driver's license. Ludwick made changing that the priority of his new group.

Lawmakers, however, didn't want to be seen talking to him at first.

"A senator would walk by, and I'd introduce myself and tell him why I was there: 'I'm opposed to driver's licenses for illegal aliens,' " Ludwick said. "And he'd say, 'I agree with you, but it's too hot of an issue.' And that's the way it was for the first couple of years."

What finally changed the conversation wasn't a shift in attitude about Latino residents, but a post-9/11 focus on border security.

The federal Real ID Act of 2005 required states to restrict driver's licenses to those who could prove they were here legally. Many states, including California, already required proof of legal status. Most others moved toward compliance, while some — like Utah — opted for a two-tiered system, granting formal licenses to those who could produce legal documentation, and a limited drivers' card (which can't be used as federal identification or to board a plane) to those who could not.

'Are we really doing the right thing?'

Oregon grappled with the issue until November 2007, when Gov. Ted Kulongoski issued an executive order calling on state legislators to require that residents prove their legal immigration status to obtain or renew a license.

At a Senate hearing the following February, during the short session, Sen. Alan Bates, D-Medford, complained the bill had been pushed through with little debate and no chance to offer amendments. A short session — normally reserved for budget adjustments and minor legislative matters, wasn't the time to address serious concerns. And this bill, he said, raised serious "moral and ethical issues."

"I haven't heard anything that makes me feel safe tonight with what we're doing here tonight. The people we are affecting are our friends and neighbors," said Bates, who died last year. "Think long and carefully. Do we really need to do this tonight? And are we really doing the right thing?"

While a few Democrats, including then-Senate Majority Leader Kate Brown, opposed the bill, most joined with Republicans and overwhelmingly agreed it was the right thing.

Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, a Democrat representing an estimated 9,700 noncitizen Latino residents of Gresham, voted for it. "The lax standard of driver's licensing in Oregon has made our state a target for criminal organizations and more vulnerable to identity fraud," she told the Capitol Press.

Senate President Peter Courtney, a Salem Democrat whose district included Woodburn and its estimated 6,300 noncitizen Latino residents, did too. Jeff Merkley, then House Speaker who was running for federal office, cast his vote in favor.

Immigrant rights groups turned out more than 15,000 people to rallies at the state Capitol protesting the bill, to no avail. The new law resulted in the most profound change for Latino families in decades. Few lawmakers seemed to forsee the implications of preventing up to 83,000 undocumented workers from getting or renewing their licenses.

"They look at the polling, they read the tea leaves and connect it to their own political careers. It's all about their seat, self-preservation, keeping the majority in the Legislature" said Andrea Williams, executive director of Causa, a Salem-based nonprofit working for immigration rights. "A lot of decisions came down to Gov. Kulongoski. And he made the political decision to restrict drivers' licenses."

Activists like Williams knew Republicans would be less likely to support their cause. But the eagerness of Democrats to join them was a stinging surprise. "Democrats are not being bold on our issues, but they'll at least talk to us," she said. "And then on the driver's license issue, they completely betrayed us."

Kulongoski, contacted at his home, declined to comment. Merkley did not reply to requests for comment.

Monnes Anderson and Courtney said the federal legislation allowed for a driver's cards, like those used in Utah at the time. Both assumed the Legislature would quickly adopt that system in Oregon.

Five years later, they tried.

 KATE WILLSON - Jim Ludwick said it was suprisingly easy to find support for their successful effort to deny driving priveleges to undocumented immigrants.

COURTESY PHOTO: KATE WILLSON - Jim Ludwick said it was suprisingly easy to find support for their successful effort to deny driving priveleges to undocumented immigrants.

Reversing course

Restrictions of driving privileges for undocumented immigrants, which swept the nation after the Real ID Act of 2005, have begun to soften. Today, 12 states and the District of Columbia extend privileges to undocumented residents. They include Washington, California and Nevada.

Oregon lawmakers also tried to reverse course. In May 2013, Gov. John Kitzhaber signed into law a bipartisan bill allowing for a driver's card distinct from the formal license that would allow people to drive legally without proving citizenship.

The logic was that it would ensure drivers knew how to drive and allow them to get insurance, which most agencies refused to sell without a valid license. But the card couldn't be used for federal purposes such as to board a plane.

Ludwick saw Kitzhaber's actions differently: "He wants to allow people to legally drive to jobs they can't legally have, hired by companies that can't legally hire them," Ludwick said.

Within hours, Oregonians for Immigration Reform vowed to take the matter to voters. Privately, Ludwick didn't think they had a chance of collecting enough signatures to get the referendum on the fall ballot. "How do you collect 70,000 to 80,000 signatures in three months?" he said. "If there was a tote board in the rotunda giving odds, we'd be 1,000-to-1 underdogs."

They called on Suzanne Gallagher, then chairwoman of the Republican Party. She promised to get signature sheets to every Republican in the state. Meanwhile, Ludwick and his supporters fanned out to county and state fairs. Ludwick said people were eager to sign.

"They would grab the sheets out of your hand," he said. "We got signatures from places I didn't even know existed. We got 'em from 134 different communities."

The group had more than grass-roots support. Conservative Nevada businessman Loren Parks shelled out $93,172 over five weeks to pay signature gatherers. In the end, the campaign turned in 58,291 valid signatures, squeaking by with a buffer of 149.

In the November 2014 election, voters crushed Measure 88, the Legislature's driving card law, by a 2-1 margin. Every county except Multnomah voted against retaining the law.

"That stunned us," Courtney said. "We didn't think that could happen."

Courtney's support of Measure 88 became an issue in his 2014 re-election campaign, as he battled claims that he supported giving driving privileges to drunken drivers and criminals living here illegally. "It was probably the ugliest racial issue I've seen since I lived in the South," said Courtney, who was re-elected that year with 54 percent of the vote.

Mike Nearman, a software engineer from Independence, said he wore out two pairs of shoes volunteering 11-hour shifts at the Oregon State Fair to oppose Measure 88.

He said his efforts were targeting people who didn't come into the United States legally.

"I wish everyone could live under the freedoms I enjoy. I don't begrudge anyone, but we just need to do it legally," he said. "What we have right now is not the best and the brightest, but the boldest and the baddest, whoever's willing to jump the fence."

Nearman went on to join the board of Oregonians for Immigration Reform and win election to the state House of Representatives. He's advocating for a repeal of Oregon's restriction on local police from enforcing immigration law.

Gilbert Carrasco, a Willamette Law School professor and former civil rights litigator for the federal Department of Justice, said the legislation to require drivers to provide proof of legal status to obtain a license doesn't make sense.

"The argument was, 'They shouldn't be here,'" he recalled. "Well, they're here. They're not going anywhere. Now we're in a situation where people are unlicensed, they haven't been tested" by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

And many are uninsured.

"It hurts the people who voted for that law. That's the irony," he said. "At some point, if the Legislature, if the people, don't revisit it, I think the courts will."

You end up in trouble

Advocacy groups haven't given up on the concept of a driver's card, and they continue to pin down lawmakers on their positions.

Sen. Monnes Anderson, for one, would support it. "Obviously, we're all better off when everyone who is driving a car that is licensed and insured," she said.

Sen. Courtney is frustrated by the Legislature's inability to respond to the voters' rejection of the driver's card. "We are really struggling to break through on that," he said.

Washington County commissioner Terry watched the 2008 legislative vote to restrict licenses and the 2014 referral to vote down driver cards with frustration. A prominent and active Republican, he sees the past 16 years as a wasted opportunity and isn't optimistic about the future of immigration reform in Oregon.

"As a state, we were foolish and didn't accomplish anything," he said. "We're not really managing that issue. And any time you don't manage an issue, you end up in trouble."

INVESTIGATEWEST/PMG

INVESTIGATEWEST/PMG


TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO - Gov. Kate Brown faces a legal challenge by immigrants who are fighting a 2014 public vote against drivers' cards that they say violated their 14th Amendment rights.

TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO - Gov. Kate Brown faces a legal challenge by immigrants who are fighting a 2014 public vote against drivers' cards that they say violated their 14th Amendment rights.

Driver's license law tested in court

During last year's election, Gov. Kate Brown reiterated her support for granting driving privileges regardless of immigration status. "I've always supported this right and always will," her campaign said in a statement to the advocacy group Causa.

Despite her personal view, Brown is the top elected state official, and as such was named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed in November 2015 by five undocumented longtime residents who claimed that the 2014 public vote against drivers' cards violated their 14th Amendment rights to equal protection under the law. The vote was "motivated by racial animus against persons from Mexico and Central America," the lawsuit claimed.

Brown was forced to defend a law she opposed, as the state argued it couldn't invalidate a law Oregon voters passed, or force implementation of a bill that never went into effect.

Six months later, in May 2016, U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken dismissed the lawsuit, which is now pending appeal in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

 
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The appalling hypocrisy, ignorance of courts on immigration and states' rights

One of the most absurd aspects of this immigration lawsuit pending in the Ninth Circuit is the notion that a state can have standing to sue the federal government in order to bring in more immigrants, visitors, and refugees. It would be akin to a state suing the president because it doesn’t like his foreign policy or if a state felt that the military deployments are hurting and disrupting the lives of residents of their states. Those assertions may or may not be valid, but they are political, not legal questions.

Moreover, the courts have demonstrated an appalling level of hypocrisy and ignorance of the entire purpose of federal control over immigration by simultaneously ruling against states that wish to clamp down on undesirable immigration and protect their own sovereignty.

Federal immigration power is all about protecting national sovereignty

As we’ve observed in previous columns, immigration laws — generally speaking — provide the president with broad latitude to ratchet down immigration but not the authority to increase immigration. It’s rooted in the concept of national sovereignty and consent-based immigration. A decision to bring in more people must be done judiciously with a transparent debate of all the people’s representatives. A decision to keep out people, on the other hand, is often needed to protect national sovereignty and security at a moment’s notice.

As James Madison wrote in 1835, “[I]n the case of naturalization a new member is added to the Social compact …by a majority of the governing body deriving its powers from a majority of the individual parties to the social compact.” This is why our Constitution vested Congress with plenary power over immigration policy, and why the courts — before they became autocratic in recent years — conceded that they have absolutely no jurisdiction to second-guess the legislature or executive officials on any immigration decision not involving U.S. citizens.

The same principle of national sovereignty is behind the underlying premise of why the Constitution transferred authority over immigration from the states to the national government. The power was transferred to the federal government not for the purpose of violating the sovereignty of the states and forcibly flooding their jurisdictions with endless flows of third world immigrants. It was quite the opposite — to prevent individual states from bringing in too many dangerous or costly immigrants in order to bolster their representation in Congress and thereby negatively affect the entire union.

Commenting on the power of Congress (as opposed to states) over immigration, the inimitable Justice Joseph Story explained, “If aliens might be admitted indiscriminately to enjoy all the rights of citizens at the will of a single state, the Union might itself be endangered by an influx of foreigners, hostile to its institutions, ignorant of its powers, and incapable of a due estimate of its privileges.” While this was written in 1833, every word is speaking to liberals today in states like Washington who want to endanger the nation with unlimited numbers of Sharia-adherent immigrants and refugees during a time of global Islamic uprisings.  

Roger Sherman, among the greatest of all the Founders, noted during the House debate on the Naturalization Act of 1790 that “it was intended by the Convention, who framed the Constitution, that Congress should have the power of naturalization, in order to prevent particular States receiving citizens, and forcing them upon others who would not have received them in any other manner.” (emphasis added) Sherman was emphatic that federal control was designed to “guard against an improper mode of naturalization,” and prevent individual states from flooding the country with immigrants based on “easier terms.”

Thus, the federal plenary power over immigration was not to be used as a hammer to crush state sovereignty with boundless immigration, but rather as a shield to protect states and the entire federal union from irresponsible immigration policies of insidious state officials.  

States have power to enforce the law on behalf of their sovereignty, not to violate national sovereignty

Yet, as the courts have done with every aspect of the Constitution, they have flipped the entire structure and purpose of federal power over immigration on its head — upside down, inside out. When states want to protect their sovereignty from a president that blatantly violates statute and the Constitution to harm national and state sovereignty, the courts tell those states to get lost. In some cases, the courts even prevent those states from passing laws to protect their citizens. Yet, when states complain about a president using 100% existing law to protect sovereignty, the courts give the states a forum to codify their political desires for more immigrants into laws that say the exact opposite.

This perversion of the letter and spirit of the Constitution played out in numerous cases. For example, when states sued President Obama for flooding their jurisdictions with refugees without notifying them even after the fact, much less giving them “advanced consultation” — as required by statute — the courts threw out the lawsuit. Now states can demand more refugees when they have no such right!

The courts prevented the Arizona government and Sheriff Arpaio from enforcing existing federal immigration law, yet they have green lighted sanctuary cities.

The courts have blocked Texas from preventing illegal aliens from obtaining birth certificates, thereby disenfranchising and stealing the sovereignty of American citizens. Yet, they have allowed Chicago to ignore ICE detainers.

The court’s called Mississippi’s grievances against Obama’s illegal DACA amnesty “speculative,” but have readily welcomed Washington State’s illegitimate grievances demanding more immigrants.      

As Justice Scalia made clear in his masterful dissent in Arizona v. United States (2012), a state’s “power to exclude from the sovereign’s territory people who have no right to be there” is “the defining characteristic of sovereignty” and that the “Constitution did not strip the States of that authority.” “To the contrary,” wrote Scalia, “two of the Constitu­tion’s provisions were designed to enable the States to prevent “the intrusion of obnoxious aliens through other States.” Letter from James Madison to Edmund Randolph (Aug. 27, 1782).”

Even a broken clock is right twice a day, but that is not true of the contemporary federal courts. They are wrong all the time and flip the Constitution upside down.

The gospel of liberal jurisprudence comes from the misunderstood Marbury case, in which John Marshall declared, “it is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is. Now we are seeing that the courts have made it their job, with devastating perverse consistency and deleterious consequences, to say what the law isn’t.

- See more at: https://www.conservativereview.com/commentary/2017/02/appalling-hypocrisy-ignorance-of-courts-on-immigration-and-states-

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