forests

Prince William Breaks a Taboo: Speaks Out Against Overpopulation

ImmigrationReform.com

Posted by

On November 2, England’s Prince William spoke in London and warned about the dire consequences of overpopulation worldwide, especially as it relates to wildlife protection and species preservation. The event was sponsored by the Tusk Trust. The Tusk Trust protects African wildlife.

“We are going to have to work much harder, and think much deeper, if we are to ensure that human beings and the other species of animal with which we share this planet can continue to co-exist,” he said. Prince William is courageously venturing into the oft-ignored issue of overpopulation.

We should take our cues from Prince William’s leadership.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the current U.S. population totals over 326 million. Shockingly, unless immigration is reduced, the nation’s population will climb to nearly 400 million by 2050. That’s a 22 percent increase in just 33 years! America does not have enough available resources to sustain a population this size without further damaging the environment from growing development related pressures. Though rarely discussed, the reality is that we must curb future immigration in order to save our country’s remaining wildlife for future generations.

Which is one reason why the RAISE Act, now pending in the Senate, makes such good sense.

Phasing down levels of legal immigration will help stabilize the U.S. population in time. The RAISE Act would reduce legal immigration by 50 percent. Immigration would become manageable because the RAISE Act ends chain migration and restores our nation’s ability to determine its demographic destiny. Prince William understands the need for population stabilization – why can’t our own congressional leadership?

http://immigrationreform.com/2017/11/03/prince-william-breaks-taboo-speaks-overpopulation/

$10,000 grant awarded to PCUN Farmworker Service Center

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Merkley intros H-2B amendment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Smoke jumpers plant landing in pot 'starter kits'

A team of smoke jumpers fighting fires in the Applegate unknowingly dropped into a 1,500-plant marijuana garden this week, sheriff's officials said.

The locally-based smoke jumpers parachuted into the garden as they were searching for lightning-sparked fires, Jackson County sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Carlson said.

The firefighters contacted law enforcement, who pulled the plants from the site on Tuesday, Carlson said.

"They had no idea they were dropping into a marijuana garden," Carlson said.

The sheriff's department said it is unusual to find a large marijuana garden this early in the year.

People usually stumble into the gardens in the late summer or early fall.

Most of the plants were small and growing inside plastic pots.

"They were in starter kits, so to speak," Carlson said.

The grow site was littered with hills of garbage, much of it harmful chemicals that can pollute soil and streams in the area, officials said.

At least two people were believed to be camping at the garden, keeping armed watch over the plants as they grew over the summer, Carlson said.

"These plants were going to be harvested in late summer or early fall," Carlson said.

The amount of garbage was disturbing, though not surprising considering what deputies have seen piled up at previous gardens found in the forest, she said.

"If you consider at least two people were eating two meals a day and then throwing the food containers away, and that it takes a lot of chemicals and fertilizers to start these grows, that's a lot of trash," Carlson said. "It's very bad for the environment of our forests."

The sheriff's department is putting together a group of volunteers who will hike into the garden to haul out the trash in the coming weeks, Carlson said.

"We won't just let it sit out there," Carlson said.

There were 1,509 plants at the site, along with hundreds of additional holes dug for future planting. Authorities also found two long guns and other evidence that suggested the garden was part of a Mexican cartel operation, Carlson said. She declined to elaborate, citing the ongoing investigation.

Those recreating on federal lands should be aware of the dangers of coming across possible grow sites, officials say. Telltale signs are PVC piping or black poly-pipe, bags of fertilizer, large quantities of trash and camp sites. Those who come across such sites should leave immediately the way they came in, police say. If possible, take note of the location on a GPS and make a waypoint but do not linger or investigate further. Upon returning home, call the local sheriff's department and provide accurate road descriptions and drainage or creek names.

"Anything that doesn't add up to the way the woods should look should give you a clue that you're in a marijuana grow," Carlson said. "Just head back the way you came and immediately call law enforcement."

Most of the marijuana plants at the grow site were small and inside plastic pots, said sheriff’s officials.

Subscribe to RSS - forests