jobs

CA Sheriff Hits Back at "Sanctuary State" Rhetoric by Showing Just Who Would be Protected

Much attention has been given to the antics of crazy California politicians like Kamala Harris, Kevin de Leon, and Nancy Pelosi, who all advocate for sanctuary city/state policies and call anyone opposed to their view racist or "white supremacist" - and can somehow say with a straight face that this policy doesn't put Americans at risk.

But, there are elected officials and law enforcement officers in the state who strongly oppose these policies and, in particular, Senate Bill 54, which would prohibit law enforcement agencies in the state from using "agency or department moneys, facilities, property, equipment, or personnel to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes."

Law enforcement associations have made their concerns known, but since SB 54 has passed the Senate, the Ventura County Sheriff's Department is taking their concerns straight to the public, posting a "rap sheet" of some of the actual Ventura County inmates recently detained by ICE. 

As a follow-up to our concerns over Senate Bill 54, we would like to provide more factual information regarding the types of individuals that would be released into our community if immigration authorities are not allowed in our jail as would be mandated by this bill. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has continued to review inmates in the jail who might have possibly been in the country illegally.

The report stated that ICE had detained 50 inmates in the last 30 days, but the county averages 1,373 ICE detainers a year. All but one of the 50 had either a prior arrest history, current felony charges, or prior deportation orders (yet found themselves in jail again). The Sheriff's Department then posted a sample of the charges of those detained by ICE:

  • Inmate 1 Current Arrest – felony domestic violence; Prior Arrests – drunk driving; stealing a vehicle; hit and run; drunk in public; under the influence of a controlled substance; possession of drugs; possession of drug paraphernalia 
  • Inmate 2 Current Arrest – felony domestic violence; dissuading a victim from testifying; obstructing the use of a communication devices to prevent summoning assistance; Prior Arrests – felony domestic violence (twice); assault with a deadly weapon; child endangerment; illegal entry; previously deported 
  • Inmate 3 Current Arrest – felony domestic violence; false imprisonment; resisting arrest; kidnapping; Prior Arrests – sexual battery; burglary; robbery; false information to a peace officer; brandishing a weapon; false imprisonment; kidnapping; stealing a vehicle; illegal entry; previously deported 
  • Inmate 4 Current Arrest – possession of a controlled substance for sale; transportation of a controlled substance (twice); driving on a suspended license; Prior Arrests – battery (twice); drunk in public; vandalism; transportation, sales, or distribution of a dangerous drug; transportation of a controlled substance; drunk driving (twice)
  • Inmate 5 Current Arrest – felony drunk driving; driving without an ignition interlock device; driving on a suspended license; Prior Arrests – lewd acts with a child under 14; driving on a suspended drivers’ license (five times); drunk driving (twice); unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor 
  • Inmate 6 Current Arrest – assault with a deadly weapon; attempted kidnapping; Prior Arrests – possession of drugs (twice); possession of drug paraphernalia (three times); prowling; theft (twice); false information to a peace officer (twice); drunk in public; robbery (three times); felony domestic violence; assault with a deadly weapon (three times); kidnapping (twice) 
  • Inmate 7 Current Arrest – domestic violence; Prior Arrests – felony criminal threats (twice); domestic violence (twice); child endangerment; driving without a license; driving with a suspended license; possession of drugs; theft (twice); possession of stolen property; false information to a peace officer; stealing a vehicle; illegal entry
  • Inmate 8 Current Arrest – kidnapping; false imprisonment; lewd acts with a child under 14; Prior Arrests – resisting arrest; under the influence of drugs (twice); kidnapping; lewd acts with a child under 14, drunk in public 
  • Inmate 9 Current Arrest – warrant for resisting arrest, false information to a peace officer, domestic violence, violation of a domestic violence court order; Prior Arrests – brandishing a weapon; felony domestic violence; felony criminal threats; drunk in public (twice); violation of a domestic violence court order (three times); vandalism; domestic violence (twice); resisting arrest (twice); false information to a peace officer 
  • Inmate 10 Current Arrest – felony domestic violence; Prior Arrests – felony domestic violence; previously deported
  • Inmate 11 Current Arrest – possession of a short barreled shotgun; Prior Arrests – assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a short barreled shotgun (twice), assault, carrying a concealed firearm, illegal entry 
  • Inmate 12 Current Arrest – under the influence of drugs; Prior Arrests – felony domestic violence, burglary, inflicting injury to a child, under the influence of drugs, resisting arrest, unlicensed driver, drunk driving, possession of drug paraphernalia, false information to a peace officer 
  • Inmate 13 Current Arrest – possession of drugs for sale; Prior Arrests – possession of drugs for sale (twice); previously deported 
  • Inmate 14 Current Arrest – under the influence of drugs; Prior Arrest – member of a street gang, assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy, possession of drugs, drunk driving, trespassing 
  • Inmate 15 Current Arrest – felony domestic violence; Prior Arrests – felony domestic violence; child endangerment; false imprisonment; domestic battery; drunk driving; hit and run

Members of gangs, drug dealers, sex offenders, pedophiles, assault with a deadly weapon, repeat drunk drivers, repeat domestic violence, violating court orders - yeah, these are not harmless people just looking for a way to have a better life. Good for you, Sheriff, on giving the people you're sworn to protect the facts.

Let's Start Debunking Immigration Myths

There are common sense, fact-based ways to fix immigration in U.S.

Taxpayers are subsidizing big business and a desire for cheap labor at a massive cost to society.

HOLDEN — Our media is inundated with political narrative, misinformation and myths on immigration. A few examples:

 Reducing immigration is “anti-immigrant” and “right-wing.”

 Only Trumpites oppose sanctuary cities.

Last October, the Obama Justice Department announced that cities would receive federal law enforcement grants only if they fully complied with federal immigration reporting laws. The current administration is continuing this policy. In addition, 80 percent of Americans oppose sanctuary policies, and even in hyper-blue California, a majority felt that cities should not be allowed to refuse to cooperate with federal authorities.

 Immigrants pay taxes.

The National Academy of Sciences was clear: Immigrants are currently a huge fiscal drain. In 2013, the fiscal deficit – taxes paid minus services used – was $279 billion. But why? They work hard. Their wages are low because most are unskilled. Bottom line: Taxpayers are subsidizing cheap labor for the employers.

• If illegal immigrants left, our produce would rot in the fields.

Alabama’s agricultural output rose in the three years after passage of its “draconian” immigration law. In addition, the H2A visa program, which allows farmers to employ foreign guest workers, has no caps. There’s no excuse for any illegal workers picking our produce.

• We need immigrants to “do the jobs Americans won’t do.”

Nobel economist Paul Krugman: “The willingness of Americans to do a job depends on how much that job pays – and the reason some jobs pay too little to attract native-born Americans is competition from poorly paid immigrants.” When garlic famers couldn’t find enough workers, they recently increased wages by $2 an hour, and were flooded with applicants. Surprise! Americans picking produce!

• If we pay more, food prices will skyrocket.

Philip Martin, of the Commission on Agricultural Workers, reports that raising farmworkers’ wages by 40 percent would increase a family’s annual food budget by only $16. By hiring legal workers and paying a livable wage, we save taxpayers the cost of poverty programs, and government gets more taxes.

• We need high-skilled foreign science, technology, engineering and math workers.

The Wall Street Journal: “America’s dazzling tech boom has a downside: Not enough jobs.” And The New York Times: Corporations, claiming dire shortages, are displacing Americans with foreign workers. “STEM shortages”?

• We’re caught between “mass deportations” and “mass amnesty.”

We have other choices. Passing mandatory E-verify for all new hires would immediately end the jobs magnet. Over five years, we could phase in E-verify for all workers. A five-year transition period would allow employers now dependent on an illegal workforce to rethink their business plan, and it would allow illegal immigrants time to make other arrangements.

 Families could be divided!

It’s not our responsibility to provide amnesty and citizenship to people who’ve committed Social Security card fraud and identity theft and lied on federal documents in order to “make a better life.” If native-born Americans commit these crimes, they face jail time.

• What about “Dreamers,” brought here as children? They’re innocent.

Legalization without citizenship for a limited number of highly deserving Dreamers makes sense. But their plight shouldn’t become a Trojan horse for another mass amnesty.

• We need more young people!

Since immigrants sponsor their elderly parents, too, immigration has no discernible effect on generational demographics, according to the pro-restriction Center for Immigration Studies.

• President Barack Obama deported millions. Illegal immigration is simply unstoppable.

The Los Angeles Times: The Obama administration changed the definition of “deportation.” Citing that fact, Obama himself called his deportation statistics “a little deceptive.” Using the old definition, deportations declined by 40 percent under Obama.

How can we stop illegal immigration? It’s obvious: Go after the employers. Decisive enforcement. No more “catch and release.” Immigration policy will affect nearly every aspect of our society for generations. Let’s try applying a fact-based discussion to this complex problem.

Jonette Christian of Holden is a member of Mainers for Sensible Immigration Policy. She can be contacted at jonettechristian@ rocketmail.com.

Lewis & Clark students, faculty push back against controversial speaker as protest continues

When student organizers invited Jessica Vaughan to speak at Lewis & Clark College's International Affairs Symposium, they knew there would be pushback.

The policy director for the right-wing Center for Immigration Studies, recently designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, repeatedly told the audience gathered inside the Agnes Flanagan Chapel that she's not against refugees seeking asylum in the U.S.

"Then how can you explain your Twitter feed?" a professor asked during the Q&A section of the panel discussion Vaughan shared with Galya Ruffer, founding director of The Center of Forced Migration Studies at Northwestern University.

Ads by ZINC
 

"I choose certain cases to share," Vaughan explained...

(She does, it should be noted, also share stories from outlets such as CBS News and The Daily Beast that may be seen as detrimental to the White House's arguments for its stance on immigration and refugee issues.)

The discussion was at times difficult to hear as a protest, organized by Portland's Resistance...20 demonstrators chanted, at times employing the siren feature of a bullhorn...

The protest was organized on Monday after history professor Elliott Young...

Catherine Kodat, dean of Lewis & Clark's College of Arts and Sciences, said student organizers began preparing for the possibility of a protest after the post began to spread...

On at least two occasions, a pair of doors near the stage shook as someone outside pounded on them. A shout of "Nazi scum" could be heard between the sound of boots on wood...

Vaughan's critics Tuesday evening contended that those "certain cases" paint immigrants and refugees in broad strokes, stoking racism against both groups.

"I don't think immigration has anything to do with crime. At all," she said.

The back-and-forth on crime among refugee and immigrant populations was a departure from the debate...

The discussion, moderated by associate professor Heather Smith-Cannoy, was supposed to center around the question of whether countries were obligated to offer refugees asylum within their borders or help them re-settle within their country of origin.

At the outset of the debate, Ruffer thanked the student organizers for their decision to not create a "safe space" but rather promote conversation.

Yet all but three questions from debate attendees were directed at Vaughan, criticizing her previously published works.

Smith-Cannoy may have drawn the loudest applause of the evening when she challenged Vaughan's previous assertions that the Obama Administration released 36,000 undocumented immigrants from detention in 2013 and that 72 individuals from countries listed in President Trump's original executive order had been linked to terrorist activity.

(Both claims had been debunked by The Washington Post and other fact-checking agencies.)

Vaughan pushed back, telling the crowd that her research was open-sourced.

And so it went, until professor Bob Mandel approached the stage to signal the end of the discussion....

Gregory McKelvey, leader of Portland's Resistance, was among those standing outside...

"The people here are intelligent people," McKelvey said. "It doesn't take much for them to argue effectively against people who use made-up facts to make their points."

OFIR hosts Jessica Vaughn at Saturday's membership meeting

A packed house greeted CIS's Director of Policy Studies, Jessica Vaughn - OFIR's special guest speaker at the April 8th membership meeting.  Ms. Vaughn, an engaging speaker, covered alot of ground as she explained ICE holds, Oregon's Clackamas County lawsuit, President Trump's accomplishments to date and much, much more.  There was even time for folks to ask questions.

The newspaper notified us that protesters were planning to attend our event, but rainy, windy weather seemed to dampen their spirits.  Only a couple dozen protesters showed up and then left after about an hour.  They were advised to stop, after placing several derogatory flyers on cars parked in the hotel parking lot - which is private property.

Other special guests were ORP Chairman Bill Currier and State Representative Mike Nearman (an OFIR Board member).

 


 

Border wall contractors brace for hostile environment

SAN DIEGO (AP) — One potential bidder on President Donald Trump's border wall with Mexico wanted to know if authorities would rush to help if workers came under "hostile attack."...

A U.S. official with knowledge of the plans who spoke on condition of anonymity because the details haven't been made public said four to 10 bidders are expected to be chosen to build prototypes.

They will be constructed on a roughly quarter-mile (400-meter) strip of federally owned land in San Diego ...

The process for bids and prototypes are preliminary steps for a project that will face deep resistance in Congress and beyond....

The Border Patrol and local police would establish a buffer zone around the construction site if necessary, the U.S. official said....

Enrique Morones, executive director of Border Angels, said his group plans to protest.

"There will be a lot of different activity — protests, prayer vigils — on both sides of the wall," said Morones, whose immigrant advocacy group is based in San Diego. "We pray and hope that they're peaceful."

Michael Evangelista-Ysasaga, chief executive of The Penna Group LLC, a general contractor in Fort Worth, Texas, said he has received about a dozen death threats since publicly expressing interest in bidding...

Evangelista-Ysasaga said he bid in part because he wants broad immigration reform. Securing the border, he said, is a prerequisite for granting a path to citizenship to millions in the U.S. illegally....

Building a wall on the Mexican border was a cornerstone of Trump's presidential campaign and a flashpoint for his detractors. The multibillion-dollar project along the 2,000-mile border has many outspoken critics, including the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico, which said last week that Mexican companies expressing interest were betraying their country.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement that it would pick multiple contractors to build prototypes...

The winning bidders must submit a security plan with details including "'fall back positions, evacuation routines and methods, muster area, medical staff members/availability, number of security personnel, qualifications, years of experience, etc. in the event of a hostile attack," according to the solicitation. A chain-link fence with barbed wire around the construction site is required. The agency said it won't provide security.

Bidders are also asked to demonstrate experience "executing high-profile, high-visibility and politically contentious" projects.

The agency, responding to questions from companies on a website for government contractors, said the Border Patrol would respond as needed if there is a hostile attack, but companies were responsible for security. The government won't allow waivers from state gun laws or indemnify companies whose workers use deadly force.

The website for contractors lists more than 200 companies that signed up for email notifications on the design contract...

Ronald Colburn, Border Patrol deputy chief when hundreds of miles of fences were built under President George W. Bush's administration, said companies should plan on training workers to know when to seek cover and stay put and when to retreat.

"Most of those organizations are probably fairly accustomed to that," said Colburn, who retired in 2009. "Some of them may be learning for the first time, that kind of risk at the borders."

Guest Speaker Jessica Vaughn at OFIR meeting Saturday, April 8

Alert date: 
2017-04-01
Alert body: 
SAVE THE DATE for OFIR's next General Membership meeting - Saturday, April 8 from 2 - 4 pm..
 
We are very fortunate to have as our special guest speaker, Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies at the Center for Immigration Studies.  She specializes in issues related to immigration law enforcement.
 
Ms. Vaughn recently testified before the House immigration subcommittee on the state of immigration law enforcement and actions needed to restore the integrity of our immigration laws. Lack of enforcement has imposed enormous costs on American communities, including compromised national security, public safety threats, lost job opportunities, stagnant wages, and higher tax bills due to an increased demand for social services.  Read her full statement here.
 
Some of her recent reports are: ICE Deportations Hit 10-Year Low, Tackling Sanctuaries, Immigration 'Law and Order' Starts at State Department. Jessica is a frequent guest on many news programs, so you might already be familiar with her work.
 
See her biography here.
 
The OFIR meeting will be held at the Best Western Mill Creek Inn in Salem, 3125 Ryan Dr SE, just west of I-5 Exit 253, across from Costco.  
Time: 2 p.m., Saturday, April 8, 2017.
 
Driving directions to Best Western Mill Creek Inn: 
 
From I-5, take exit 253, which is the intersection of I-5 and State roads 22 and Business 99E. Go West on 22 (Mission St.) a short distance to Hawthorne Ave. (Costco will be on your right), Turn R on Hawthorne Ave. to the first left, which is Ryan Drive. Turn left on Ryan Drive, by Denny’s Restaurant, and proceed to Mill Creek Inn just beyond.
 
Everyone is welcome, there is no admission charge and there is plenty of free parking!

Undocumented immigrants living locally face fears of deportation

Residents living in the Eugene area said Wednesday that they are nervous after Tuesday’s announcement that federal immigration authorities will begin aggressively locating, arresting and deporting people who are in the country illegally, regardless of whether they’re otherwise law-abiding.

Rose Richeson, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement public affairs officer for the Pacific Northwest, said Wednesday that ICE agents no longer will make deportation exceptions for any “class or category of removable aliens.”

“All of those in violation of immigration law may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and — if found removable by final order — removed from the United States,” Richeson said.

A final order is a final judgement made by a judge.

The memorandum, Richeson said, makes it clear that ICE will prioritize the deportation of illegal immigrants who have been convicted of a crime. Richeson also said that, in compliance with the Tuesday memos, ICE would conduct “targeted enforcement operations and allocate resources to work in jurisdictions with violent crime tied to gang activities.”

Documents released Tuesday by the Department of Homeland Security outlined what policies and practices the Trump administration intends to implement in the coming months to combat illegal immigration.

The practices include enlisting local police officers to enforce immigration laws; establishing new detention facilities; publicizing crimes by undocumented immigrants; stripping such immigrants of privacy protections; discouraging asylum seekers; and immediately hiring at least 5,000 border patrol agents as well as 10,000 new ICE agents. The Trump administration has not announced how those new hires will be funded.

One of the memorandums directs the appropriate agencies to begin planning, designing, constructing and maintaining a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, complete with lighting, technology and sensors.

Despite Trump’s detailed implementation plans laid out Tuesday, local and state law enforcement officials said Wednesday that they had no intention of acting as ICE agents.

“The federal government has no authority to tell us to enforce immigration laws,” Oregon State Police Capt. Bill Fugate said. “In general, we can’t just enforce federal laws; we enforce state laws. We won’t be delegating our resources to enforcing immigration laws.”

Fugate pointed to a 2013 state law that prevents local and state law enforcement from using state money to locate people living in Oregon who are not U.S. citizens.

ORS 181.850 states: “No law enforcement agency of the State of Oregon or of any political subdivision of the state shall 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.”

Eugene Police Chief Pete Kerns echoed Fugate’s comments and cited the same law.

Earlier this month, Gov. Kate Brown signed an executive order of her own designed to bolster protections in Oregon against deportation and discrimination of people who immigrated to the country without authorization.

Brown’s executive order bans state agencies from helping federal immigration officials find or arrest illegal immigrants. That would expand Ore­gon’s 1987 “sanctuary state” law, which already prevents any state or local law enforcement agency from doing so. The order also would explicitly prohibit state agencies from discriminating against illegal immigrants, unless existing state or federal law requires them to do so.

Brown’s executive order would apply to agencies such as the Department of Human Services, which administers Ore­gon’s safety net social service programs, as well as the Department of Education and the Department of Transportation.

Brown said at the time that she was concerned about news reports of plainclothes federal immigration officers making arrests and appearing to monitor people at the Multnomah County courthouse in Portland.

She acknowledged that she hasn’t heard of any state agency receiving requests from federal immigration officers for state assistance in implementing deportation efforts. Brown said her order primarily is a preventive measure.

“I want our agencies to understand that folks will not be targeted based on their immigration status,” she said.

Brown’s office did not return calls Wednesday seeking comment about stepped-up border security, immigration enforcement and deportations.

Deportations have taken place across the nation for years, including during the Obama administration, when 2.4 million people were deported from fiscal year 2009 to 2014, including a record 435,000 in 2013, according to DHS data.

The population of unauthorized immigrants living in Oregon is unclear. Census data indicate that about 130,000 undocumented residents lived in Oregon in 2014, according to the most recent Pew Research Center data.

Advocates of a new state law dubbed by supporters as “Cover All Kids,” which would extend government-funded health insurance in Ore­gon to many unauthorized immigrant children, estimate that about 17,900 unauthorized immigrants younger than age 19 live in the state.

But Lane County immigrant rights advocates and organizations said Wednesday that the Trump administration is using fear and intimidation tactics in its fight against illegal immigration.

David Sáez, executive director of Centro Latino Americano, said Wednesday that those tactics are working. Centro Latino Americano is a bilingual, multicultural agency that serves Latino families in Lane County.

Sáez said fear among some undocumented members of the community, as well as family members of those populations, grows with each new memorandum or executive order issued by the Trump administration or the president himself.

“There are people who are keeping their children home from school and who aren’t going to work because they’re scared,” Sáez said. “Being a safe community is critical. … We need to make sure our schools, our city, our county and our state are creating safe environments that allow people to go to work, to school, to get their groceries without feeling afraid.”

The new enforcement policies put into practice language that Trump used on the campaign trail, vastly expanding the definition of “criminal aliens” and warning that such unauthorized immigrants “routinely victimize Americans,” disregard the “rule of law and pose a threat” to people across the United States.

Despite those assertions in the new documents, research based on census data shows that there are lower levels of crime among immigrants than among native-born Americans.

Sáez alleges that much of the language presented in orders and memorandums from the Trump administration directly contradict the U.S. Constitution, which in a way can protect those who are prepared.

“How these documents were worded and how they square with the Constitution and the rights people have regardless of their status,” Sáez said. “A lot of what’s in those memos is contradictory to the law of the land, and I’m hopeful that we can challenge them.”

To prepare for the situation some Ore­gonians could face, Sáez said he and his colleagues at Centro Latino Americano have been holding workshops to provide guidance for immigrants in case ICE agents knock at their door.

“We’re helping families put together emergency preparedness kits so that if there’s a family member deported or detained, that there’s a plan of what will happen to kids and other family members,” he said.

Examples of those preparations included making extra car and house keys, gathering important documents and informing families of their rights.

Juan Carlos Valle, vice president and council treasurer of the League of United Latin American Citizens in Lane County, said Wednesday that LULAC also will be helping families prepare for what could happen.

“This is what’s left for us to do,” Valle said. “We need to inform our families of their rights and tell them not to get in trouble, because at this point they’ll (federal immigration agents) use any excuse to arrest them. We have to be the ones taking this step. They have to know we have their backs and we’ll speak up. This is my responsibility.”

Email Alisha at alisha.roemeling@register guard.com .


TIPS FOR THOSE WORRIED ABOUT DEPORTATION

Don’t open the door, but be calm. You have rights.

Ask what they are there for, and ask for an interpreter if you need one.

If they ask to enter, ask if they have a warrant signed by a judge; if so, ask to see it through a window or slipped under the door.

If they do not have a warrant signed by a judge, you may refuse to let them in. Ask them to leave any information at your door.

If they force their way in, don’t resist. Tell everyone in the residence to remain silent.

If you are arrested, remain silent and do not sign anything until you speak to a lawyer.

Follow driving laws and maintain a good criminal record. Younger generations should stay busy and in school, be respectful and avoid friends who might get in trouble.

— Source: Juan Carlos Valle of the League of United
Latin American Citizens in Lane County via the ACLU

Oregon lawmakers push to repeal sanctuary state designation, make English official language

...Gov. Kate Brown, Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson, D-Portland, and House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland -- have all said they would not allow legislation rescinding Oregon's sanctuary state designation to progress. On the contrary, Brown has signed an executive order strengthening Oregon's laws shielding undocumented immigrants and ...

Williamson said in a statement Wednesday that she's "appalled" House Republicans would consider repealing the state's sanctuary designation.

"Oregon is better than this," she said. "This bill only serves to further divide and polarize our state, to scapegoat and threaten our immigrant populations."

House Bill 2917, sponsored by Esquivel, Nearman and Rep. Bill Post, R-Keizer, would require state agencies and contractors they hire to use the federal E-Verify system, which allows employers to check that prospective laborers are legally allowed to work in the United States.

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.

 
Want to say more? Click here... Send a letter to the editor.

 

Sen. Tom Cotton unveils the most important immigration bill for protecting American workers

The BREAK THE CHAINS Campaign has begun.

This morning, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) announced that he will introduce legislation next week that would end ALL categories of Chain Migration -- and the Visa Lottery, too.

Chain Migration is the main reason that American workers have had to compete for wages and jobs with tens of millions of new immigrants who have been given lifetime work permits the last several decades.

40% IMMEDIATE REDUCTION IN ANNUAL IMMIGRATION

Sen. Cotton says his bill would reduce the number of lifetime work permits given to foreign citizens by around 40% the first year -- and by around 50% in the tenth year after passage.

Ending Chain Migration is the primary way the bill would achieve that goal.

For several decades, immigrants no longer have been limited to bringing in a spouse and minor children. Chain Migration categories allow each immigrant (once a citizen) to petition for adult brothers and sisters, for adult sons and daughters, and for parents. Each of them can in turn do the same along with bringing their own spouses who can start whole new chains in their own families, and so forth in a never-ending pattern.

Sen. Cotton would stop all of that Chain immigration which adds millions of workers each decade without any regard to their skills or how they would affect Americans competing in the same occupations.

By limiting family immigration to a spouse and minor children -- including overseas adoptions and marriages by U.S. citizens -- Sen. Cotton says the bill would . . .

" . . . restore historical levels of immigration in order to give working Americans a fair shot at wealth creation."

At around one million a year since 1990, overall annual legal immigration has been some THREE times higher than the historical average before then.

A RARE OPPORTUNITY

Sen. Cotton's bill will be the first since 1996 to challenge the Senate to eliminate future Chain Migration.

It was in 1996 that I started NumbersUSA with our Number One legislative goal being to end Chain Migration, as recommended by the bi-partisan federal commission chaired by the Civil Rights icon Barbara Jordan.

Sen. Cotton has boldly indicated today that he will assume the leadership to advance that vision of an immigration policy that first serves the interests of our national community's workers, especially its most vulnerable.

This year represents a rare opportunity. It is the first time in nearly a hundred years that there is a President in the White House who has declared his intention to reduce the overall numerical level of immigration.

THE PROBLEM BEING ADDRESSED

Sen. Cotton is titling his bill the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act.

Its initials spell RAISE. It's the RAISE bill. Sen. Cotton wants to give hard-pressed American workers a raise by allowing labor markets to begin to tighten.

Sen. Cotton described the problem his bill is attempting to address:

  • For over a quarter century, the United States has accepted an average of 1 million immigrants annually--the equivalent of adding the entire state of Montana each year.
  • When only 1 out of every 15 immigrants arrives in the United States on a skills-based visa, the majority of the remaining immigrants are either low-skill or unskilled.
  • This generation-long influx of low-skilled labor has been a major factor in the downward pressure on the wages of working Americans, with the wages of recent immigrants hardest hit.
  • Wages for Americans with only high school diplomas have declined by 2 percent since the late 1970s, and for those who didn't finish high school, they have declined by nearly 20 percent. This collapse in wages threatens to create a near permanent underclass for whom the American Dream is always just out of reach.

THE 'RAISE' SOLUTION

Sen. Cotton describes the key elements of his bill like this:

Eliminate Outdated Diversity Visa Lottery: The Lottery is plagued with fraud, it advances no economic or humanitarian interest, and it does not even deliver the diversity of its namesake. The RAISE Act would eliminate the 50,000 visas arbitrarily allocated to this lottery.

Place Responsible Limit on Permanent Residency for Refugees: The RAISE Act would limit refugees offered permanent residency to 50,000 per year, in line with a 13-year average. (This is the same annual refugee cap in Pres. Trump's executive order. It is also the cap recommended in the 1980 Refugee Act, which is current law but which Presidents have routinely exceeded.)

Prioritize Immediate Family Households. The RAISE Act would retain immigration preferences for the spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.

Eliminated would be green card categories for foreign citizens who are:

  • Adult parents of U.S. citizens
  • Adult brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens
  • Unmarried adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
  • Married adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
  • Unmarried adult sons and daughters of legal permanent residents

Create Temporary Visa for Parents in Need of Caretaking: For U.S. citizens who wish to bring elderly parents in need of care-taking to the United States, the RAISE Act creates a renewable temporary visa on the condition that the parents are not permitted to work, cannot access public benefits, and must be guaranteed support and health insurance by their sponsoring children.

Friends, the difference in this being a wonderful BILL and it being an incredibly helpful LAW is likely to be the degree to which the 8 million members of NumbersUSA's online grassroots army makes it clear to their Members of Congress and to Pres. Trump that this is a true priority.

New Actions
ROY BECK, NUMBERSUSA FOUNDER & PRESIDENT

 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - jobs