illegal immigration

Exploring our Northern border - the similarites and differences

I have traveled with Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) on three of the last five border tours they have organized to study the US / Mexico border. 

So, I can honestly say I was really looking forward, with great anticipation, to the latest trip, my fourth, to the US / Canadian border in September

CIS does an outstanding job putting together the best, most in-depth tours of our border.  Their dedication to providing a wide array of  "real life" representatives that live and work in the area that can tell us their own stories about the border and the issues they face on a daily basis make the trip invaluable.

Strategic stops are planned, allowing us to explore key locations along the route traveling east from Ottawa, traversing the US / Canada border exploring the New York, Vermont and Quebec border regions. 

The weather was near perfect and I'm fairly certain CIS most likely planned for that, as well.

CIS border tour groups are small, with just 9 guests and 3 CIS staff members traveling in two SUV's.  CIS takes great care to make certain that all our wordly needs are met - often going to extraordinary measures to accommodate us.

Visit the OFIR photo gallery to see a few of my photos - there will be more posted.

Upon our return, CIS Assistant Director, John Wahala provided an outstanding, detailed write up of our experience - complete with some of his photos!


Diligence on a Changing Canadian Border

By John Wahala, October 13, 2016

The Center for Immigration Studies recently completed its sixth border tour. Heading north for the first time, we began our trip in Ottawa. From there we traveled east, crisscrossing nearly a thousand miles over the waterways and rolling hills of upstate New York and Vermont and into the lush forests of Quebec. The geography and relative calm of the region is a stark contrast to the rugged terrain and volatility of the U.S. Southwest. But behind the bucolic charm a host of factors are at work to make securing this part of the border just as challenging as the more trafficked parts.

Cooperation along the northern border is good. Every official we spoke with, currently serving or retired on either side of the border, praised the binational relationship that exists. The United States and Canada work together to apprehend people and illicit goods moving in both directions. Unlike enforcement efforts in the Southwest, where communication with Mexican counterparts is often strained or nonexistent, the relationship with Canada appears to be one of mutuality and respect.

Policies and procedures, however, have tightened since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The casual nature of the relationship no longer exists. A retired border agent told us he used to routinely cross into Canada, where it was less populated and he could cover ground more quickly, before reentering the United States in pursuit of fugitives. No approval at a port of entry was necessary. Local residents tell their own stories about crossing back and forth for various reasons, unmolested. That does not happen any more.

During our excursion we crossed several times and each time we were questioned rigorously. Canadian border officials are thorough and have more information to work with than their predecessors. The United States and Canada now share the criminal histories of their respective citizens using various databases, such as those run by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Canadian Police Information Centre. The data is available to officers at every port of entry, who use it in making the decision whether or not to deny entry. That decision is based, in part, on how a past crime would be treated under Canadian law, which differs from the American legal system. Thousands of Americans have been refused admittance as a result of this information sharing, sometimes for infractions that happened decades ago.

The diligence we saw at the ports of entry was also evident along unpopulated stretches of the border, where only small stone markers separate the two countries. A few times when our group stopped to look around, agents came quickly to check on what we were doing. When they did not come, we were told by our guides that we were being monitored by sensors.

In one spot, a member of the Border Patrol told us they regularly interdict aliens attempting to cross into Canada. Typically these individuals are from various parts of Asia who are trying to reunite with family members. Two officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who spoke with us on the Quebec side, said they had just intercepted a dozen Middle Easterners heading north from Vermont earlier that morning. They said they detain illegal aliens from all over the world, but that most are probably from Africa. Many are drawn to Canada because of its generous asylum policies.

The seeming effectiveness of law enforcement at this section of the border is aided by a lighter flow of illegal traffic. One agent told us that the young officers in the Border Patrol all want to be down south where the action is intense. He reflected on his own time in Calexico, where he was constantly being confronted with drug runners and human smugglers. Last year's apprehension data confirms this sentiment. Only 632 arrests were made in the Buffalo and Swanton sectors, which include the New York and Vermont portions of the border, compared to nearly 150,000 in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

But patrolling the northern border is not without its challenges. The Swanton sector has the most drug interdictions on the northern border. It is home to the St. Regis Mohawk Indian Reservation — called Akwesasne in the native language. The reservation is small, with only a few thousand residents, but authorities say it creates a big hole in security. Questions of tribal sovereignty are complicated by the proximity to the international border and the unique geography of the region. Tension between tribal authorities, state and local officials, Border Patrol and other U.S. government agencies, and the Canadian government has long existed.

One flash point is the reservation's tax exemption on tobacco, which turned into a profitable opportunity for smugglers when governments began placing large excise taxes on cigarettes in the 1990's. It has been reported that tens of millions of cigarettes pass through the reservation each year, many headed into Canada. Agents are tasked with stopping this illicit flow on "a sprawling beat that includes countless coves, side roads and dimly lit cottage developments" that extends onto a narrow peninsula called the snye by locals. It is a small land mass that juts into the St. Lawrence River that is officially part of Quebec but is surrounded by water on three sides and the United States on the fourth. This makes law enforcement difficult. A retired agent told us it is rarely patrolled, making it a haven for people smugglers and others running from the law. He declined to take us into the snye, saying the last time he was there was the late 1980's and he was shot at.

In addition to contraband cigarettes, a steady stream of marijuana comes south into the United States through the reservation and harder narcotics, including a recent resurgence of heroin, and firearms are smuggled north into Canada. These endeavors rely on a dangerous criminal enterprise that works in tandem with people-smuggling networks. Aiding this enterprise is the dismal employment situation at Akwesasne, which helps lure many tribal members into this line of work. The situation is not unlike that of the Tohono O'odham Nation reservation on the Arizona border, which we visited during a previous tour. Further complicating the situation at Akwesasne is an internal tribal conflict. Ongoing friction between a traditional faction and a "warrior" sect creates a challenge to governance and how the reservation deals with outside authorities. The warrior sect is said to run the gaming casino and to be involved with illicit smuggling operations.

There are other issues on this seemingly tranquil stretch of the border. Over the past several years, Vermont's dairy industry — like much of the nation's agricultural sector — has transitioned their workforce to migrant laborers. The workers, most of whom are here illegally from Mexico and Central America, significantly cut operating expenses. The farmers echo the familiar refrain that they cannot find locals who are willing to work. That claim is plausible and understandable given their demands. One report said the migrants work 84 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. They are housed in bunkers or camps, tucked away from socialization with the outside world. This makes law enforcement efforts to intervene difficult. It is an unhealthy arrangement of alienation and exploitation that creates the predictable deleterious effects of increased crime and social dysfunction. Recently a Vermont state senator was indicted for a prostitution scheme involving migrant workers. Despite the problems of such an arrangement poses for everyone, the illicit use of migrant labor has the support of politicians at the highest levels of government who are beholden to powerful special interests. Fortunately, some farmers are beginning to recognize the harm and are mechanizing their operations with robots, which are more efficient and more profitable in the long term.

Another immigration scandal that has beset the region is a visa scam that bilked foreign investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars. In exchange for the promise of green cards, these individuals paid for two ski resorts and a biotechnology center that were supposed to create thousands of jobs and revitalize impoverished northern Vermont. The developers took the money, but the projects were never realized. We stopped by the site of one of these projects in Newport, which now sits as a large hole in the ground, and talked to a local about the fallout of the scam. Our colleague David North has written extensively on this and other such visa scams that have occurred in the EB-5 investor program, which have beset various places across the country.

The problems on this part of the northern border are different in scale from those on the southern border, but not in kind. A predictable mix of inconvenience, vulnerability, crime, desperation, and exploitation can be found, like everywhere else there is an international boundary. It helps somewhat that both the United States and Canada are developed countries, largely eliminating the desire for established residents to cross illegally. But such calm is offset by the ease of overseas travel. People from around the world are now able to get to this section of the border and they are enticed to do so by the conflicting messages sent by both governments. This gets us to the most pressing border problem, which is not how to maintain order, but determining whether it is still politically desirable to do so.

Western elites are experiencing a crisis of confidence that is challenging long-held notions of national sovereignty. The political class has largely abandoned the conviction that immigration should be restricted. The view that there ought to be open borders now predominates among leaders in both the Republican and Democratic parties, much to the chagrin of the American people. The same dynamic is present in Canada. There was a sense of resignation from the two RCMP officers we spoke to in Quebec when they explained that most of the illegal crossers they detain get asylum. It was the same resignation that was voiced by two Border Patrol agents who told us that morale is terrible, turnover is high, and their superiors will not even furnish them with adequate equipment. And it was the same resignation we heard from a retired agent who succinctly put it: "We enforce the law, but there are no consequences." The Obama administration has resettled hundreds of thousands of illegal crossers into the United States — in direct violation of the law and the mission of the Border Patrol — in just the past couple years.

Former Canadian Ambassador James Bissett, a high ranking immigration official for more than three decades who served as an aide to prime ministers, met us for dinner one night in Ottawa. After sharing a detailed history of immigration to his country, he discussed the transformation that is now underway. Since 1985, Canada's population has increased by 40 percent — the largest increase of any developed country. Certain areas have experienced near total demographic replacement. The current Liberal Party government of Justin Trudeau, along with nearly all of the political opposition, has embraced this transformation, pledging to admit record numbers of immigrants, including tens of thousands from the Middle East. Next month they will waive visa restrictions for Mexico, creating a host of challenges for themselves and the United States. There is concern, even among some sympathetic members of the elite, that such policies are endangering the security of the region.

Mass immigration is no longer a distinctly American phenomenon. It has become the de facto position of Canada and many other western governments. The leaders who are pushing it see the free movement of people as a human right, one that is part of an emerging globalist perspective on governance. That perspective is directly at odds with the worldview of most of their citizens, creating a bitter conflict that goes right to the heart of what it means to have the consent of the governed. The rise of nationalism in Europe, the British decision to leave the European Union, and the populist surge of Donald Trump are all recent manifestations of the peoples' simmering discontent. Meanwhile, law enforcement officials on both sides of the Canadian border quietly do their jobs, leaving the more philosophical questions to their political leaders, and the voters.

Learn more about CIS - visit the Center for Immigration Studies website.


OFIR's newest billboard draws compliments from the community

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To activate and educate Oregon's undecided voters in this pivotal election, OFIR has placed a billboard on a busy street somewhere in Oregon! 

Can you identify the location?  Go to OFIR"s Facebook page and post your idea on where the billboard is located.

To learn more about the policies of candidates regarding immigration - in races from President, Governor and Secretary of State to Congress, State Representatives and Attorney General and everything in between, visit OFIR"s Immigration Topics page -  "General election 2016"

Don't forget to vote your entire ballot.  Many good, well qualified candidates need your vote to win!

The Anti-Immigration Activist Who Set The Stage For Donald Trump


It's time for Pizza and Politics! This Saturday, Oct. 15 at 2:00pm

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Join us this Saturday, October 15th for OFIR's annual Pizza and Politics event.  Meet many of Oregon's best candidates that have been invited to participate in this popular event.

All candidates are welcome to attend.  Candidates that would like to speak to the group, must confirm their attendance with OFIR prior to the meeting by calling 503.435.0141.

Candidates, please bring campaign literature, lawn signs, bumper stickers etc. for distribution to interested OFIR members.

We look forward to seeing you at Pizza and Politics - Saturday, October 15 from 2:00 - 4:00 pm at the Best Western Mill Creek Inn - across from Costco in Salem, OR.

Invite a friend to come along and join us for slice of Pizza and Politics!


It's the LAST day fo the Oregon State Fair!

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If you haven't paid a visit to the annual Oregon State Fair, Monday will be your last chance!  The weather is supposed to be perfect!

Plan to stop by the OFIR booth, located in the Jackman Long building.  We've hosted some very special guests!

We hope to see you there!


Oregon State Fair opens August 26

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OFIR will once again host a booth at the Oregon State Fair in Salem.  The Fair opens Friday, August 26th and runs through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 5.

Be sure to stop by the OFIR booth which will be located in Columbia Hall.  OFIR will be highlighting candidates that are strong on the enforcement of our immigration laws.  Many of the candidates will be volunteering in our booth so,  you might have the opportunity to meet them.

Check out our OFIR booths from 2015 and 2014

We hope to see you there!

MPI Estimates 93% of DACA Enrollees Eligible for Renewal Have Re-Applied; New Brief Offers Latest U.S., State & County Estimates

WASHINGTON - Ninety-three percent of the unauthorized immigrants participating in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program who are eligible to apply for renewal have done so, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) reports in a new issue brief that examines the deferred action program as its fourth anniversary nears.

Since its launch on August 15, 2012, the DACA program has provided temporary relief from deportation and eligibility for work authorization to more than 728,000 young unauthorized immigrants, representing around half-if not more-of the he population MPI estimates is eligible to participate.

Drawing upon a unique methodology that assigns legal status to the foreign born in U.S. Census Bureau population surveys and permits analysis of key sociodemographic characteristics, DACA at Four: Participation in the Deferred Action Program and Impacts on Recipients offers the latest MPI estimates of populations potentially eligible for DACA; presents trends in application rates nationwide and by state, as well as by top countries of origin; and examines the impacts that DACA has had on its recipients.

Using the most current, 2014 Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS) data and aging forward those who since have reached the minimum age required to apply for DACA, MPI estimates that 1.3 million young adults ages 15 and older were immediately eligible for DACA as of 2016. This number includes about 250,000 youth who have aged into eligibility since the program’s launch. Comparing these estimates against application data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), MPI estimates that 63 percent of the immediately eligible population (those meeting all the criteria that could be modeled in the data) had applied for DACA as of March 31.

MPI estimates that an additional 398,000 unauthorized youth meet all DACA criteria except for high school completion or school enrollment. These youth can qualify if they enroll in an adult education program (a development that cannot be modeled using Census data). Adding that group to the 1.3 million immediately eligible raises the potentially eligible population to 1.7 million- and as a result lowers the initial application rate to 48 percent. MPI estimates that 228,000 children ages 7 - 14 could become eligible for DACA in the future.

The vast majority of DACA recipients are applying for renewal. MPI estimates 581,000 of the 728,000 recipients of an initial two-year DACA grant have been in the program long enough to apply for renewal, with 539,000 of them doing so to date-a 93 percent renewal rate.

“At its four-year mark, DACA is a large-scale program that has succeeded in attracting broad participation and providing life-altering benefits to many unauthorized youth-as evidenced by the fact that 93 percent of those eligible to apply for renewal have done so,” said brief co-author Faye Hipsman, an MPI policy analyst.

“Still, almost half a million DACA-eligible individuals had not applied as of March 31, 2016, and several hundred thousand more could qualify if they enroll in an adult education program, suggesting that further outreach by service providers could broaden DACA’s reach,” said Randy Capps, who is director of research for U.S. programs.

Among the other findings:

  • The DACA-eligible are concentrated in a small number of states, with California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois accounting for 59 percent of the 1.7 million who are currently potentially eligible to apply.
  • Unauthorized youth from Mexico and Central America, along with Peru, have the highest application rates by country of origin. Mexicans, for example, account for 63 percent of the immediately eligible population but 78 percent of applications as of March. Application rates are generally very low for youth born in Asia, with China not even among the top 25 countries for which USCIS reported application data.
  • The states with the highest application rates, exceeding 75 percent for the immediately eligible-Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Oregon and Texas-are all Western states with a predominantly Mexican-born DACA-eligible population. By contrast states with the lowest application rates (below 50 percent) for the immediately eligible- Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Virginia, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey and Florida-have more diverse unauthorized populations, with Mexicans and Central Americans in the minority.

Read the brief here.

For updated DACA data at U.S., state and county levels, as well as application rates by top countries of origin, check out these updated MPI DACA tools:

Hold Bonamicci's Feet to the Fire - Rep. Bonamici to hold Town Halls in August

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Rep. Bonamici to hold Town Halls in August

For Congressional District 1 residents

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici announces Town Hall meetings in several towns. She says: "Town Hall meetings provide an opportunity for the Congresswoman to discuss issues, answer questions, and gather ideas."

Please attend one of these events near you if possible. Below the list of Town Halls is a link to suggested subjects for questions and comments to her. You can also, if you wish, print out her report card from NumbersUSA and give it to her.

Here is the schedule, taken from her website announcement.

Rainier Town Hall Meeting
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
1:30 to 2:30 pm
Rainier Senior Center, 48 W 7th Street, Rainier, OR 97048

Seaside Town Hall Meeting
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
6:00pm to 7:00pm
Clatsop Community College, South County Campus, Rooms 2 and 3 – 1455 N Roosevelt Drive, Seaside, OR 97138

Portland Town Hall Meeting
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
6:00pm to 7:00pm
Friendly House, Keeston Room  1737 NW 26th Ave, Portland, OOR 97210

Tigard Town Hall Meeting
Thursday, August 4, 2016
6:00pm to 7:00pm
Tigard Public Works Building, Auditorium  8777 SW Burnham St.., Tigard, OR 97223

Hillsboro Town Hall Meeting
Monday, August 8, 2016
6:00 PM to 7 PM
Hillsboro Civic Center Auditorium, 150 E. Main St., Hillsboro, OR 97123

Dundee Town Hall Meeting
Thursday, August 11, 2016
6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Dundee Woman's Club, Community Center, 1026 N. Highway 99W, Dundee, OR 97115


Perhaps you have your own questions and comments already. Helpful, in addition, are the excellent Town Hall talking points on important immigration issues available from Numbers USA. These cover H-2B visas, Trans-Pacific Partnership, Criminal justice reform, Refugees/Asylees, and Sanctuary cities.

Also NumbersUSA includes a list of Town Hall Do’s and Dont’s, advising on best conduct for achieving our purposes. Scroll down to the bottom of the page link above to see the Do’s and Dont’s.

Please invite a friend or neighbor to attend with you and show up at one of these Townhall meetings.  Always be respectful, but also remember - she works for YOU!

OFIR VP lays out Trump's path to victory in Oregon

OFIR Vice President Richard LaMountain has clearly laid out a reasonable path to an Oregon win for Donald Trump's bid for the Presidency.

Oregon has a blue reputation, but, in this particular case, it may be tenuous at best.  

Read LaMountain's VDare article and then consider helping the first presidential candidate, in decades, that has openly and meaningfully addressed the problems surrounding illegal immigration.

Murder suspect indicted as details of his past emerge

Second charge of attempted aggravated murder added regarding June 27 shooting

Bonifacio Oseguera-Gonzalez has now been charged with a second count of attempted aggravated murder in addition to three aggravated murder charges for a fatal shooting last month east of Woodburn.

On July 8, a grand jury indicted Oseguera-Gonzalez on the attempted aggravated murder charge for “intentionally attempting to cause the death” of witness Jesus Zavaleta-Bahena. This is in addition to three counts of aggravated murder and another count of attempted aggravated murder with a firearm.

According to a probable cause statement, Oseguera-Gonzalez admitted to having shot four people on the morning of June 27 at a berry farm on Killiam Road.

Two of the victims — Ruben Rigoberto-Reyes, 60, and Edmundo Amaro-Bajonero, 26 — were found dead at the scene and another —Katie Gildersleeve, 30 — died hours later at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland. Refugio Modesto-DeLaCruz, 27, suffered serious injuries but is expected to survive, according to Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

Officials are still investigating and have declined to comment on a motive.

An additional case against Oseguera-Gonzalez has resurfaced from an incident in Marion County from 2009, for which there has been an active warrant for his arrest. In that case, he was charged with knowingly giving a false name to a police officer and unlawfully operating a motor vehicle without insurance.

After his arraignment June 28, the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency released a statement stating Oseguera-Gonzalez had been deported six times between 2003 and 2013

One of those times he was deported was following his 2009 arrest, according to an email from Virginia Kice, western regional communications director for ICE.

She also noted that Oseguera-Gonzalez voluntarily returned to Mexico in 2003, but was then arrested by ICE officials in October 2007 and deported two months later.

In November 2009, following his Marion County arrest, Oseguera-Gonzalez was taken into ICE custody and deported two weeks after that. The fourth and fifth times he was taken into custody and repatriated was in 2010, with both arrests being made in southern Arizona. In 2013, he was arrested again in southern Arizona.

“At that time, CBP-Border Patrol presented him for federal prosecution and he pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of illegal entry,” Kice said in the email. “After fulfilling his court imposed 180-day sentence, which included credit for time served, ERO (enforcement and removal operations) removed Mr. Oseguera to Mexico through El Paso.”

A status check in the murder case is scheduled before Judge Susan Tripp at 1:15 p.m. July 14.

Lindsay Keefer contributed to this story.


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