enforcement

Town Hall with Senator Diane Rosenbaum and Representative Jules Bailey

Alert date: 
April 26, 2013
Alert body: 
Diane Rosenbaum and Representative Bailey will be holding a district town hall on Saturday, May 4th from 10:30-Noon at the AFL-CIO Office. They want to hear about the issues that matter the most to you and look forward to providing an update on the issues we have been working on in Salem.
 
When: Saturday, May 4th, 2013
10:30am-Noon
 
Where: Oregon AFL-CIO Building
3645 SE 32nd Ave
Portland 97202
(32nd and SE Powell - Ample parking on site)
 
Please...plan to attend and ask why the Oregon Legislature has not heard a single bill that would discourage even more illegal immigration into Oregon (mandatory E-Verify, workplace enforcement, proof of citizenship to access entitlement programs etc. and yet work feverishly to pass Legislation that makes it easier for illegal aliens to be here.

Oregon Senate approves ‘driver card’ for immigrants

SALEM — After a three-­minute floor discussion that conveyed none of the often-virulent opposition to the policy, the Oregon Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that would create a new short-term driver’s license, or “driver card,” for illegal immigrants.

Senate Bill 833 passed on a 20-7 vote, with six GOP senators joining 14 Democrats in support. The seven “no” votes came from Republicans but — somewhat unusual for such a high-profile issue — none of them took the floor to explain their opposition. Three lawmakers were excused.

The bill now heads directly to the House floor.

Sen. Lee Beyer, a Springfield Democrat, said SB 833 would allow Oregon to return to a “realistic position” on the driver’s license issue.

No proof of legal residence was required in order to obtain an Oregon driver’s license until 2008, when the state instituted the restriction. Since then, critics of the proof-of-legal-residence requirement have argued that, until the federal government deals comprehensively with changing immigration law, it makes no sense to bar illegal immigrants who live and work in Oregon from getting a license.

Without a license, they can’t buy car insurance. As a result, lawmakers say, many illegal residents drive without insurance.

“This is purely about driver safety ... (so) that we know that our fellow drivers know what they’re doing and, if they have an accident, there’s insurance,” Beyer said Tuesday.

Sen. Chuck Thomsen, a Hood River Republican who co-sponsored SB 833, said that the bill “is not a perfect solution.”

“But in light of the federal government’s inactivity on this subject, it is needed as a stop-gap measure,” he said.

Under SB 833, four-year driver cards could be granted to individuals who can provide proof of identity and of at least one year of Oregon residency. Regular state licenses last eight years.

The new type of licenses would be slightly more expensive than typical Class C licenses, at $64 with a $44 renewal fee. No commercial license would be similarly made available.

The bill states that the driver cards couldn’t be used as identification for non-driving purposes.

If SB 833 becomes law and goes into effect next January, an estimated 110,000 people will obtain driver cards in the program’s first 18 months, generating $5.3 million in new revenue for the state, according to calculations by nonpartisan legislative staff.

After that initial surge, new transactions — both new cards and renewals — are expected to drop to about 41,000 every two years.

To deal with the increased transactions, the Department of Motor Vehicles expects to hire 6 full-time employees and 58 temporary employees statewide, at a cost to the state of $4.7 million for the first 18 months.

As with a new law approved this year that will allow some young illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at Oregon’s public universities, the success of SB 833 appears to indicate a key shift in Oregon’s political landscape.

In addition to traditional support from immigrant rights’ groups, both concepts have garnered more visible backing from business and labor organizations this year, while opposition from some Republican lawmakers has softened.

After Tuesday’s short Senate debate, Cynthia Kendoll, president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform, which opposes both policies, said she was “stymied” and “disappointed” that opponents to SB 833 didn’t speak up.

Advocates for illegal immigrants living in this country are “well-organized, well-funded and apparently they’re guiding our legislators to vote” for a bill “that is full of holes,” she said.

In particular, she said, the legislation doesn’t provide enough direction to the Department of Motor Vehicles on how to make the driver cards look different from typical Oregon licenses as the bill requires.

That means lawmakers’ assurances that driver cards won’t be used for other identification purposes will fall flat, she said.

“Republican politicians are being lied to by Democrats, who say, ‘Unless you bow to the demands of Hispanic voters, you’ll continue to lose,’” she said. “But Democrats will ultimately take all the credit for these bills.”

Luis Guerra, a spokesman for Causa Oregon, a primarily Latino immigrant rights group, disagreed with Kendoll’s assessment. The main reason for the success of both SB 833 and the in-state tuition law, he said, was the broad coalitions of stakeholders backing each policy.

“All those voices together make a stronger case than just Causa,” he said.

Guerra acknowledged that politicians have been more open to working with Causa and similar advocacy groups following the 2012 election, but he said that both parties “have stepped up their outreach to communities of color.”

“It’s been a while since we’ve seen this much success at once,” he said.

Keizer man arrested in DUII crash identified, has ICE hold

The man who allegedly caused a power outage for more than 1,000 Pacific Power users after he crashed into a light pole south of Aumsville Saturday night has been identified by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

Juan Carlos Bravo-Fernandez, 24, of Keizer, was arrested on DUII charges and criminal mischief. His bail on those charges was set at $15,000 but because he has an ICE hold, he will not be released on bail, said Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Don Thomson.

Bravo-Fernandez is scheduled to appear in Marion County Court at 3 p.m. today.

The Sheriff’s Office received a report about the crash at Shaff and West Stayton roads SE just before 11 p.m. Saturday.

Officials said the driver hit a sign giving directions to Aumsville and Stayton before crashing into the power pole.

Most customers reportedly had their power back by 8:30 a.m. Sunday, and the rest were restored a few hours later.

 

SB 833 is harmful to Oregon and the U.S. and should be voted down

by Elizabeth Van Staaveren

In 2007, when the events of 9/11 and the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission were fresh in the public mind, Governor Kulongoski issued an Executive Order calling for stricter requirements for issuance of driver licenses. He also called upon the Legislature to enact legislation giving the requirements statutory authority.

In our own state, abuses on a significant scale had already been discovered in the sale of fraudulent driver licenses to out-of-state illegal aliens. "It appears that criminal organizations ... are using Oregon's permissive standards in order to assist persons to illegally obtain" licenses, Governor Kulongoski’s order explained.

In February 2008, a new Oregon driver’s license law was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in both chambers of the Legislature. It required driver's license applicants to prove U.S. citizenship or legal residence. The law has worked well and citizens have had the security of knowing that illegal aliens and any criminals among them could not easily use Oregon as a source for falsifying their identity.

Why abandon this security in an increasingly dangerous world? It was very irresponsible of Gov. John Kitzhaber to yield to the pleas and demands of illegal alien advocates and actually sponsor a group of them to fashion SB 833 behind closed doors without allowing any input from citizens who represent the public interest. It was not only irresponsible but dangerous, because among the illegal aliens there are many who drink and drive recklessly and have killed or maimed innumerable innocent citizens in road crashes. Furthermore, the deadly drug trade flourishes in Oregon because illegal aliens are either directly involved themselves or can be forced by drug lords to aid them. Even more formidable are the international terrorists who take advantage of weak state driver license laws to embed themselves into a community and hide their massively crippling plans.

Citizenship is meaningless if illegal immigrants are allowed to enter and remain in this country encouraged and unchallenged. SB 833 accommodates and legitimizes illegal aliens, thus tarnishing the value of U.S. citizenship and saying to the world: citizenship matters little or not at all -- anyone can come here any time, and settle.

Already wages are depressed because of the volume of illegal immigration. Our less-educated citizens have to compete for jobs against illegal aliens who will work for a pittance and dare not protest working conditions to an employer. Citizens are losing out and many remain unemployed for long periods, a devastating situation for them, while they watch illegal aliens working at every construction site, in landscaping, agriculture, hotels, restaurants, and various other places.

A recent Gallup poll showed that more than 100 million people worldwide dream of a life in the U.S., and would come here if they could. The U.S. is the no. 1 desired destination for potential migrants. Of course we cannot admit all of them. Immigration laws are essential and must be enforced; otherwise the U.S. is on a disastrous path to overpopulation and chaos. Extending driver licenses to illegal aliens will only expedite the disaster.

This particular bill, SB 833, has been loosely written to allow many crucial decisions to be made by the DMV, an agency which is under political pressure from any Governor in office at the time. As the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association stated in their testimony on SB 833, a driver privilege card should be “very clearly different from the current Oregon Identification Card and Oregon Drivers License. While the current language does provide some direction, Sheriffs believe the statute should be more specific. … Some of these requirements should be statutory rather than strictly administrative.”

The Sheriffs Association also stated that they think “obtaining a driving privilege document should be a robust and rigorous process and … they should be renewed annually. Sheriffs believe a four-year term is too long. …”

Instead of spending time making life here more comfortable for illegal aliens, our legislators should assist the federal government in enforcing the immigration laws. There are many things that states can do to help.

SB 833, granting driver privileges to illegal aliens, is harmful both to Oregon and to this country. Citizens should contact their legislators and urge them to reject SB 833.

Your calls urgently needed

Alert date: 
April 20, 2013
Alert body: 

If you have been wondering if there is anything you can do to help this sinking ship, which is called Oregon, I URGE you to call as many Legislators as you possibly can and ask them to please vote NO on Senate bill 833. 

This bill is very thinly veiled with unsubstantiated proclamations of public safety all while ignoring the simple fact that illegal aliens aren't supposed to be in our country at all...let alone driving back and forth to their jobs!

Call Committee members today and tell them you are very disappointed they have voted to advance this bill:

Sen. Lee Beyer (503) 986-1706 sen.leebeyer@state.or.us

Sen Bruce Starr (503) 986-1715 sen.brucestarr@state.or.us (thank him for voting NO)

Sen. Chris Edwards (503) 986-1707 sen.chrisedwards@state.or.us

Sen. Fred Girod (503) 986-1709 sen.fredgirod@state.or.us (thank him for voting NO)

Se. Rod Monroe (503) 986-1724 sen.rodmonroe@state.or.us

Sen. Chuck Thomsen (503) 986-1726 sen.chuckthomsen@state.or.us

Then, call your own Legislator:  http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/home.htm and tell them you are a constituent and you do not want this bill to pass.  It's bad for Oregon.

 


 

Cops bust two drug mules on the same bus

In what police are calling a startling coincidence, two men with no connection to each other were arrested in Jackson County last week on the same northbound bus, both allegedly hauling pounds of heroin and methamphetamine.

Medford Drug and Gang Enforcement officials said the men were not working with each other. They just happened to get on the same bus in California with bags full of drugs, MADGE Lt. Brett Johnson said.

"We have no reason to believe these two were working with each other because the packaging was totally different and so were the drugs," Johnson said. "It's clear their drugs did not come from the same batch."

MADGE received a tip from federal agents who said Vincente Gomez-Chavez had 4.5 pounds of heroin and 1 pound of meth with him on a bus.

MADGE stopped the bus on April 9 near Phoenix and found Gomez-Chavez's stash, which Johnson said was some of the purest heroin local officers have seen in some time.

"This looked like it was poured directly from the lab and into the bags," Johnson said. "It would be too pure for anyone to use."

Usually heroin is mixed with several other materials to expand its volume and therefore its value, Johnson said.

Johnson said the meth found in Gomez-Chavez's luggage was a potent type of crystal most likely brewed in a super lab in Mexico. Gomez-Chavez would not provide a hometown, but police said they believe he lives in California.

As MADGE was checking the luggage officers learned that another man on the bus also was believed to be moving a load of drugs through the area.

Officers approached Jaime Joel Ruiz-Perez, 27, of Salem, and said they found that he had several plastic containers filled with meth stored on the bus.

The meth was from a different batch than that found on Gomez-Chavez, though it, too, was high quality, Johnson said.

"He had them broken into 11 containers, which equaled about a pound each," Johnson said.

Between the two of them, police figure about $700,000 in drugs was on the bus.

"It just happened that they were two guys on the same bus line with a large amount of drugs," Johnson said. "Whoever was their supplier is not going to be happy to lose that amount of drugs."

Both men remain lodged in the Jackson County Jail without bail.

Throughout the year, MADGE periodically stops buses rolling up and down the interstate.

"In this case, we had separate tips and worked them at the same stop," Johnson said.

Crime tracker speaks out about the sad reality of SB833

The Oregon Legislature is in a rush to pass Legislation granting driver licenses to illegal aliens in the name of public safety.  David Cross explains just a few of the tragic results of that rationale.  Read his moving guest opinion here.  Then call all of your Legislators before the final vote on Tuesday.  Go here:  http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/home.htm to find out who your Legislators are, if you aren't sure.

Oregon's citizens and legal residents have, unfortunately, become the collateral damage in the Legislatures rush to heap ever more benefits on those in our country illegally.  It's shameful and will, I fear, end tragically for many more Oregonians.

Man gets 3 years for sex crimes

An Albany man was sentenced to nearly three years in prison for sex crimes on Thursday in Linn County Circuit Court.

Miguel Lopez-Garcia, 36, pleaded no contest to attempted first-degree unlawful sexual penetration and attempted first-degree sexual abuse.

He will face deportation after he serves his sentence.

According to prosecutor Coleen Cerda, the adolescent victim was a family friend and staying at Lopez-Garcia’s house at the time of the crimes, in March 2010.

Cerda said the victim went into Lopez-Garcia’s room to get a treat, and he grabbed her, threw her down on the bed and sexually assaulted her.

The victim disclosed the abuse about a year and a half later.

The girl said the incident has helped tear her family apart. “My own mother does not believe me,” she wrote in a letter to Judge Thomas McHill.

“I hope no more kids get hurt by Miguel,” she added.

Lopez-Garcia was initially charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse and first-degree unlawful sexual penetration.

Defense attorney Forrest Reid said his client took a plea deal because he was facing up to 25 years in prison on one of the accusations.

“He continues to deny his culpability regarding these charges,” Reid said.

Several family members of Lopez-Garcia were present during the hearing.

His wife, Renee Lopez, said the report was the result of a family feud, and her husband pleaded to avoid the possibility of decades in jail if the case went to trial.

“I just don’t want everybody to think he was guilty,” she said.

 

Driver’s license bill likely to prevail

SALEM — At the urging of immigrant rights groups, several significant business associations and Gov. John Kitzhaber, lawmakers appear likely to approve a bipartisan bill this session that would create a new short-term driving license for illegal immigrants.

Proponents believe the concept is grounded in realism, allowing a population that already lives and works in Oregon to drive legally and with insurance, until various immigration-related issues are comprehensively addressed at the federal level.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of Oregonians who have a visceral conviction that the policy gives an unwarranted benefit to lawbreakers, encouraging more illegal immigrants to come to the state, and without necessarily making the state’s roads any safer. Those conflicting viewpoints were expressed in full voice at a heavily attended first public hearing Thursday on Senate Bill 833. Although public testimony was limited to two minutes per person, many who had signed up to testify were unable to do so at the two-hour hearing, while those watching the proceedings spilled into at least three overflow rooms.

Mariana Alvarez Flores of Salem said she had taken the day off from her job as a farm laborer to testify to the committee in favor of the bill.

“I don’t like driving without a license, but right now I have no other option,” she said through a translator.

Conversely, Cynthia Kendoll, the president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform, said the proposal “is wrong on every level.”

“Just because you can pass a bill, doesn’t mean you should,” she said.

Under SB 833, four-year licenses — rather than the eight-year licenses possessed by most Oregon drivers — could be granted to individuals who can provide proof of identity and at least one year of Oregon residency.

The new type of licenses would be slightly more expensive than typical Class C licenses, at $74 with a $54 renewal fee after four years, although several amendments are being considered that would lower the amounts.

No commercial license would be similarly made available.

Sen. Chuck Thomsen, a Hood River Republican who is co-sponsoring the bill, noted that the licenses, or “driving cards” as they may ultimately be named, wouldn’t allow a holder to register to vote, or to purchase a gun. They also couldn’t be used as a legal form of identification for miscellaneous non-driving purposes, as typical licenses can be, he added.

“This is a very important piece of legislation that affects a lot of ... good people and their families who live here in Oregon,” he said.

Rep. Kim Thatcher, a Keizer Republican, was one of several who testified who cited examples of vehicle accidents involving illegal immigrants.

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

No further public hearings on the proposal are expected in the Senate. The bill has been scheduled for a work session on Monday, where it could be amended and voted to the chamber floor.

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.

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