jobs

As California’s labor shortage grows, farmers race to replace workers with robots

Driscoll’s is so secretive about its robotic strawberry picker it won’t let photographers within telephoto range of it.

But if you do get a peek, you won’t see anything humanoid or space-aged. AgroBot is still more John Deere than C-3PO...

Now, the $47-billion agriculture industry is trying to bring technological innovation up to warp speed before it runs out of low-wage immigrant workers.

California will have to remake its fields like it did its factories, with more machines and better-educated workers to labor beside them, or risk losing entire crops, economists say.

“California agriculture just isn’t going to look the same,” said Ed Taylor, a UC Davis rural economist....

Driscoll’s, which grows berries in nearly two dozen countries and is the world’s top berry grower, already is moving its berries to table-top troughs, where they are easier for both human and machines to pick, as it has done over the last decade in Australia and Europe.

“We don’t see — no matter what happens — that the labor problem will be solved,” said Soren Bjorn, president of Driscoll’s of the Americas.

That’s because immigrant farmworkers in California’s agricultural heartlands are getting older and not being replaced. After decades of crackdowns, the net flow across the U.S.-Mexico border reversed in 2005, a trend that accelerated through 2014, according to a Pew Research Center study. And native-born Americans aren’t interested in the job, even at wages that have soared at higher than average rates.

“We’ve been masking this problem all these years with a system that basically allowed you to accept fraudulent documents as legal, and that’s what has been keeping this workforce going,” said Steve Scaroni, whose Fresh Harvest company is among the biggest recruiters of farm labor. “And now we find out we don’t have much of a labor force up here, at least a legal one.

Stated bluntly, there aren’t enough new immigrants for the state’s nearly half-million farm labor jobs — especially as Mexico creates competing manufacturing jobs in its own cities, Taylor said....

Not surprisingly, wages for crop production have climbed 13% from 2010 to 2015 — a higher rate than the state average, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of Labor Department data.

Growers who can afford it have begun offering savings and health plans more commonly found in white collar jobs. And they’re increasingly turning to foreign guest workers, recruiting 11,000 last year, which is a fivefold jump in just five years, The Times found.

None of that will solve the problem, economists say. Changing what we grow and how we grow it is all that’s left.

Response has been uneven, at best. Vast areas of the Central Valley have switched from labor intensive crops such as grapes or vegetables to almonds, which are mechanically shaken from the tree. The high-value wine grape industry has re-engineered the bulk of its vineyards to allow machines to span the vines like a monorail and strip them of grape clusters or leaves.

Fresno’s raisin industry, however, has a tougher problem to solve on a tighter profit margin. To fully mechanize, it may have to change not just its vineyard design, but the grape variety itself, much like the tomato industry developed a tough skinned Roma to withstand mechanical harvesters.

When labor shortages and price shocks hit in the early 2000s, growers altered vineyards so that machines could shake partially withered Thompson seedless grapes onto paper trays, a method that can slash more than 80% of labor costs, according to U.C. Davis researchers....

It may be too late to mechanize asparagus. The crop, among the most labor-intensive in the state, has gradually shifted to Mexico since trade barriers made it cheaper to grow there, casting a nostalgic pall over Stockton’s asparagus festival.

Last year, farmers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta area harvested only 8,000 acres of the signature spear, which is depicted on water tanks and town emblems throughout the region. In 2000, they harvested 37,000 acres, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“We’re headed toward zero pretty soon,” said Cherie Watte Angulo, executive director of the California Asparagus Commission....

Even Driscoll’s AgroBot, among the more advanced prototypes in California fields, was picking only a bit more than half the ripe berries in its trials this spring in Camarillo.

“We think we are very close, but every day we try to make the next step. We see new things we need to solve,” said Juan Bravo, the Spanish inventor who is counting on Driscoll’s continued backing for his 10-year endeavor...

The rest of the fruit industry has its eye on AgroBot’s trials, even as it looks to other start-ups such as Abundant Robotics, which hopes to duplicate the dexterity, judgment and perception of human apple pickers. Soft Robotics, based in Cambridge, Mass., boasts that its graspers can pick up a cupcake without damaging the icing.

Frank Maconachy is skeptical of solutions imported from tech centers. His company, Ramsay Highlander, started as a greasy machine shop in the Salinas Valley and slowly migrated toward Silicon Valley instead.

The company, with $15 million in annual sales, builds a fleet of computerized and sensor-driven machines for the lettuce and produce industry — and he is working with AgroBot’s U.S. competitor for strawberry picking, Harvest Croo, based in Plant City, Fla.

An early generation of robotic machine uses a band saw to mow whole rows of baby lettuce and other greens. But when produce giant Taylor Farms tried it on romaine heads, a slight height variation in the beds put the saw right across the heart of the heads, leaving nothing but shredded leaves, Maconachy said.

Maconachy developed a cutter using high-speed water jets. It now cuts all the romaine heads cleanly, and can be adapted for cabbage and celery.

“That machine took the work of 30 people and brought it down to about 12 people,” Maconachy said.

Cutting iceberg heads, especially large ones, remains problematic — it is planted so densely and the heads are so heavy it is difficult to maneuver cutters and graspers into beds. Maconachy thinks he has that engineering problem solved, but can’t raise the capital to develop it.

Ironically, plant scientists may have to reverse their cross-breeding to the original “iceberg” head, nicknamed from the tons of ice it took to keep it cool for cross-country train trips.

The crisphead variety used to be more bulb-shaped, which would give cutters and graspers more room to work, Maconachy said.

Rick Antle, chief executive of Tanimura & Antle, is whittling away at the labor on the planting side. He showed off his own robotic bet, called Planttape. The machine — equally homely as AgroBot — raced down a lettuce field outside Salinas, laying down a long strand of seedlings strung together on a bio-degradable tape, like 9-volt batteries in a 50-caliber machine gun belt.

That was twice the speed of its 35-year-old predecessor, and it required less than a tenth of the labor. To prove his point, Antle ran the old machine, which required three times the workers, on a nearby celery field. “That was it, for 35 years,” Antle said.

Lettuce growers usually plant seed, which can be unreliable, every few inches, then thin the field to fit the maximum number of heads at the optimal spacing. That means scores of workers in the spring have to walk row after row, moving inch by inch to pull seedlings over with a hoe — one of the oldest tools of agriculture.

The computer-guided “See and Spray” machine, developed by Silicon Valley start-up Blue River Technology, can do the work of 20 of those laborers before noon. It is one of five robotic thinners deployed on thousands of acres of summer lettuce in the Salinas Valley.

Diego Alctantar, 25, operated the tractor pulling See and Spray across a recently planted lettuce field near Gilroy. A computer guided jets of fertilizer-infused water to desiccate seedlings according to a kill-or-skip pattern that left nine-inch gaps between heads.

Alcantar, who grew up in the Salinas Valley, thinned lettuce and cut spinach the old way before getting his tractor license a few years ago. “It’s hard labor,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for them.”

The machine is not perfect...

Lane County commissioners weigh protections for local unauthorized immigrants

Lane County commissioners on Tuesday could add new language to the county’s policy manual barring county employees from using public funds to enforce federal immigration laws in most cases.

A board order commissioners are scheduled to vote on Tuesday would add a provision to the Lane County Manual, under “foreign citizenship,” banning the use of money, equipment or personnel for “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.”

The language would allow county staff to help if a federal judge had ordered a person to be arrested for violating federal immigration law. However, such situations appear to be extremely rare.

The language virtually echoes Oregon law, as well as an ordinance the Eugene City Council approved in March. The Oregon law applies to the state and to all political subdivisions in the state, including county governments.

The county move comes amid a national debate over so-called “sanctuary city” policies, and efforts by liberal-leaning states that don’t want to use local staff and money to enforce stricter federal immigration policies sought by President Donald Trump’s administration.

The proposed Lane Manual change puts into county rules the policies already practiced by agencies such as the Lane County Sheriff’s Office and Lane County Health and Human Services, county officials say.

The proposal “makes it more clear at a local level how (state law) plays out here for the county,” Lane County spokeswoman Devon Ashbridge said. “So it’s valuable in that sense. It takes a look specifically at county services and how it will guide how employees will work within that framework.”

The language doesn’t violate state or federal law, Ashbridge said. A provision permits the sheriff’s office to give information to federal immigration agencies about someone arrested for a criminal offense.

It also authorizes the sheriff’s office to arrest anyone charged with violating federal immigration law if a federal judge issues an arrest warrant.

But Lane County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Carrie Carver said the agency is “not aware of any specific cases” of someone being arrested solely on a such an order. Typically, the federal government arrests illegal immigrants without a judge’s order.

Members of the public have spoken up at recent county commissioners’ meetings about protecting local unauthorized immigrants who haven’t committed any crimes besides entering and living in the country unlawfully.

In November, Lane County, mayors of nine cities and other organizations co-signed a statement of unity vowing to protect marginalized residents such as immigrants.

But dozens of speakers and numerous letter writers have urged local governments such as the city of Eugene and Lane County to go further and commit to not help in federal deportation arrests — even though such assistance is already prohibited by state law.

Follow Elon on Twitter @EGlucklich . Email elon.glucklich@registerguard.com .

For our friends in Lane County - take action now!

Alert date: 
2017-07-09
Alert body: 

The election is over and President Trump won.  His campaign focal point was to, once and for all, reign in the rampant disregard for our immigration laws and to finally put citizens first.

Now, it seems that many counties, cities, schools etc. have been whipped up into a frenzy by the paid advocates of unfettered immigration and open borders.  They seem to be trying to scare the very people they are supposed to be advocating for.  Why?

When ICE was contacted about the charges made that they are conducting sweeps across the state, they explained they haven't, they don't and they won't enforce our immigration laws in such a way.  But, open border advocates can't get the emotional driver they need unless they enhance the stories they hear far beyond the reality.

Unfortunately, citizens once again, take a back seat to illegal aliens.  Why on earth are these entities creating "safe havens" for people here illegally?  Are these Commissioners, Mayors, Professors etc, willing to accept the responsibility and the cost of harboring illegal aliens?  I doubt it - that's what they have the tax-payer for.  You get to pay for schools, healthcare, prisons, roads and on and on...

And, one last note.  It was mentioned that the idea was to "protect" people whose only issue was being in the country illegally.  Typically, an illegal alien obtains a stolen identity, typically, they are working here illegally, hired by a business that is using illegal labor,  They may also be getting paid under the table - that's tax fraud.  How are they getting around - probably driving without a license or insurance.  Is it fair to break certain laws, if it benefits the law breaker?

Lane County will be holding a meeting and anyone able to attend should be there and speak up against this sick policy.
 

Immigration enforcement boost felt throughout Yakima Valley

In Granger, attorneys with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project can’t keep up with the number of deportation hearings.

In Yakima, inmates held on suspicion of violating immigration laws have nearly tripled since March.

And across the Yakima Valley, social service agencies report a drop in the number of immigrants seeking help, while crime victims in this country illegally are becoming more reluctant to file complaints.

These are all signs of President Donald Trump’s executive orders stepping up immigration enforcement, said attorney Lara Contreras, who directs the Immigrant Rights Project.

Contreras said her office of three immigration attorneys and two legal advocates can’t keep pace with a growing number of deportation proceedings in Seattle and Tacoma, where a huge backlog has fostered a five-year delay on final rulings.

“There are going to be many people representing themselves in front of an immigration judge,” Contreras said. “We don’t have enough staff to represent everyone facing deportation.”

On a recent morning, a half-dozen people came to the firm’s Granger office seeking advice.

Among them was Yolanda, who feared her 18-year-old son would be targeted for deportation if he applied for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

“There’s no category of an individual who is exempt from ICE enforcement.”

-Rose Riley, ICE Spokeswoman

A student at Heritage University, he works with his mother in the fields from 3 a.m. to about 3 p.m. before heading to classes at 4 p.m.

But her anxiety was calmed when she was told her son would not be exposed to deportation if he applied for DACA, the Obama administration’s policy that allows certain undocumented people who entered the country as minors to obtain a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation, and eligibility for a work permit.

She said she doesn’t want her son to end up like her, trapped in field work. He’s majoring in business administration with a minor in computer science.

“People are fearful. There are people afraid to gather information regarding their cases,” Contreras said. “People are afraid to go to the police department because they are afraid they’ll get turned over to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).”

Incarceration

Under a federal contract, the Yakima County jail typically houses 50 to 90 people suspected of being here illegally each month, with the exception of last October when about 150 Haitian refugees were housed here temporarily.

Most of them are brought to the jail from other communities throughout Central Washington, while a small number are identified by ICE after being arrested on local charges. The county receives about $84 a day for each inmate it holds for ICE.

But this year, the jail has seen a steady increase in ICE holds. In March, there were 141 inmates suspected of being here illegally in the jail — a 156 percent increase over the same month last year when 51 such inmates were housed. Numbers in April, May and June were double or nearly triple during the same time last year.

The bigger numbers are the result of Trump’s executive orders, which provide broader guidelines for seeking out undocumented immigrants, said Rose Riley, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman in Seattle.

And the vetting process has become less selective than in previous years, when ICE officials typically focused on serious criminals, Riley said.

“There’s no category of an individual who is exempt from ICE enforcement,” she said. “If they came into the country illegally or unlawfully, they will be subject to ICE enforcement.”

Under the executive orders, ICE officers don’t hesitate to ask anyone associated with someone who they arrest about their status, she says.

“It’s not dependent on their criminality, but on whether they are here legally or not,” she said.

“There’s definitely an increase,” said Department of Corrections Director Ed Campbell. “We’re seeing folks moved through from other jurisdictions.”

Campbell attributes some of the increases to an overall rise in the jail population, which has shot up from a daily average of 750 to 800 inmates to more than 900.

A clogged court

Last year, 2,124 people — 729 of them charged with a crime other than being here illegally — were removed from the region, which includes Washington, Oregon and Alaska, according to data from the Department of Homeland Security.

This year, the region is on pace to surpass that. Within about a three-month period from Jan. 20 to April 29, a total of 1,070 people were deported, of whom 798 were charged with a crime.

But immigration courts in Seattle and Tacoma, where the region’s cases are heard, had more than 9,470 pending cases as of March 27.

Of those, 982 are in the Tacoma court, which hears cases of those incarcerated.

Nationwide, there are 598,943 pending cases, of which 24,431 involve people convicted of crimes other than being in the country illegally.

Many cases are being delayed for months with their final hearings pushed out five years, Contreras said.

Those delays have some willing to waive due process to avoid being detained during the proceedings, said Maru Mora with Latino Advocacy in Bellingham, which works with groups across the state on immigrant rights and advocacy.

“In some cases people are just saying ‘look, if you’re going to deport me, just go ahead and deport me,’ ” she said.

More than 90 percent of those detained in Tacoma do not have attorneys and many have limited or no access to legal libraries to prepare their cases, Mora said.

Many have been moved to a county jail in northern Oregon where a legal library isn’t offered nor any facility to work on cases, she said.

And those detained in Tacoma only get one hour a day in the legal library, Mora said.

“So when they come back to court they’re not prepared for their hearing,” she said.

“The huge backlog, it’s impossible to get a lawyer; it’s expensive, and you’re transferred to a county jail.”

Meanwhile, social service providers have seen dramatic dips in people seeking services.

In May, the YWCA reported huge declines in women seeking emergency shelter, with only 28 compared to the 140 woman and 158 children the agency helped the year before.

Catholic Charities of Yakima, which provides an array of social services including low-income farm worker housing, said it saw a similar dip in people seeking services early in the year, but now people are coming in again.

“When we see a dip, usually it’s attributed to ICE activity in the area,” said CEO Manual Villafan. “That keeps them from accessing services our organization provides.”

Contreras said victims of crimes are reluctant to come forward as witnesses or seek protection orders.

“They fear that an ICE officer is lurking by,” she said.

Consulate of Mexico visits Ontario, seeks to support Mexican nationals

ONTARIO — The Consulate of Mexico in Boise visited Four Rivers Cultural Center, Saturday, to support Mexican nationals in obtaining documentation, counseling as well as additional information.

About 70 Mexican nationals attended the one-day event to obtain a passport, Consular ID, voting ID or birth certificates.

The mobile consulate offers Mexican nationals the chance to obtain documentation from their country within a couple of hours that otherwise may have taken weeks to receive, Claudia Espinosa, a representative of the protection affairs department with the Consulate, said.

Moreover, the mobile consulate allows those who may not have a driver’s license to be able to visit with the organization that is located in Boise.

The last time the Consulate of Mexico visited Ontario was nearly seven years ago, Espinosa noted.

“With new immigration policies we are trying to visit areas outside of Boise to provide our services to as many as we can,” Espinosa said.

It’s now more important than ever to do this, Celso Humberto Delgado Ramirez, Consul of Mexico in Boise, said.

Recently, the consulate visited Montana to offer the same outreach, Delgado Ramirez said.

During his speech to the attendees, the consul commended those who showed up for the services and echoed the organization’s ambition to continue offering services as well as consular protection to Mexicans.

Delgado Ramirez also advised attendees to create a plan of emergency for those who are living in the country without proper documentation in case they are faced with deportation, especially if they have young children.

Moreover, he spoke about what an undocumented person should do in case they are detained by Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“Know your rights,” he said to the crowd. “Ask to speak with the Consulate of Mexico, to call a lawyer and to family, if possible.”

Throughout the day Mexican nationals were able to have their paperwork processed, have their biometrics taken as well as visit with local resources in the area.

One of the local organizations in attendance included the Oregon Human Development Corporation. Janeth Mendoza, a workforce consultant, said she exchanged information with several attendees about work trainings and emergency services. The Malheur County Health Department and Treasure Valley Community also hosted a booth at the event.

At the end of the event, consulate coordinators distributed documentation to Mexican nationals.

Celso Humberto Delgado Ramirez, Consul of Mexico in Boise, speaks to a crowd before attendees receive various documentation including passports, Consular ID and more, alongside Claudia Espinosa. About 70 Mexican nationals attended a mobile consulate provided by the Consulate of Mexico, in Boise, Saturday, in Ontario. The one day event sought to assist individuals with obtaining Mexican documentation.

Urgent - your calls and emails are critical today

Alert date: 
2017-06-28
Alert body: 

HB 3464

in the Senate Rules Committee awaiting a hearing

Call – Write – Email TODAY!

Tell them you expect that Oregon governmental agencies should be allowed to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement officials.

--------------------------------

Senate President Peter Courtney

sen.petercourtney@oregonlegislature.gov

503-986-1600

-------------------------------

Senator Ginny Burdick (Committee Chair)

Sen.GinnyBurdick@oregon​legislat​ure.gov ​

503-986-1700

-------------------------------

Senator Ted Ferioli

sen.tedferrioli@oregonlegislature.gov

503-986-1950

-------------------------------

Senator Brian Boquist

Sen.BrianBoquist@oregonlegislature.gov

503-986-1712

------------------------------

Senator Lee Beyer

Sen.LeeBeyer@oregonlegislature.gov

Democrat - District 6 - Springfield

503-986-1706
 

Call today and respectfully ask that House Bill 3464 not be advanced out of committee.  Oregonians should expect that all public officials would willingly  cooperate with federal immigration enforcement officials.

DHS to Expand Controversial H-2B Visa Program, Breaking Trump Campaign Promise

The Trump administration has decided to expand the controversial H-2B visa program, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced last week. (ABC News, June 21, 2017). DHS spokesperson David Lapan said Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has yet to decide how many additional H-2B visas will be made available, but that the number should be set soon. (Id.) Lapan said the department expects to start issuing visas as soon as late July, setting the stage for the betrayal of a key Trump campaign promise—protecting American workers from cheaper foreign competition. (Id.)

In early May, at the behest of the business lobby, Congress gave Kelly and Labor Secretary Alex Acosta the power to more than double the number of H-2B visas issued this fiscal year. (See FAIR Legislative Update, May 2, 2017) Shortly thereafter, Kelly indicated that he was receiving pressure from lawmakers and stakeholders on both sides of the issue, but hinted an increase was likely. (See FAIR Legislative Update, May 30, 2017) “This is one of those things I wish I didn’t have discretion,” Kelly told the Senate Appropriations Committee. (Id.) “We’ll likely increase the numbers for this year, perhaps not by the entire number I’m authorized,” Kelly added at the time. (Id.)

The H-2B nonimmigrant visa program allows U.S. employers who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring low-skilled foreign workers to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs. (USCIS H-2B Program Fact Sheet) There is a cap on the total number of foreign workers who may be issued an H-2B visa or otherwise granted H-2B status during a fiscal year. (Id.) Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Congress set the H-2B cap at 66,000 workers per fiscal year. (INA § 214(g)(1)(B)) However, last month’s $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill gave Secretaries Kelly and Acosta the authority to ignore this cap and increase the number of low skilled foreign workers admitted by “the highest number” of H-2B nonimmigrants who participated in the H-2B returning worker exemption. (FY 2017 Omnibus, Sec. 543) As a reminder, in December 2015, House Speaker Paul Ryan snuck into the FY 2016 omnibus a provision that exempted from the H-2B cap all low skilled workers admitted between 2013 and 2015. (See FAIR Legislative Update, Dec. 22, 2015) There is no reliable data on the number of H-2B workers who took advantage of the returning worker exemption. It is possible that this provision will allow 66,000 additional cheap foreign workers to flood the labor market through the end of September—further suppressing blue-collar wages and taking away opportunities from Americans trying to get back into the labor force.

FAIR criticized the announcement to further flood the labor market with foreign workers. “The administration's decision to exceed the 66,000 cap not only undermines struggling American workers, but betrays unequivocal promises President Trump made in his campaign,” FAIR President Dan Stein charged. (FAIR Press Release, June 22, 2017) “In President Trump's own words, ‘the influx of foreign workers holds down salaries, keeps unemployment high, and makes it difficult for poor and working class Americans—including immigrants themselves and their children—to earn a middle class wage,’” Stein added. (Id.)

FAIR’s June 21 letter to Secretary Kelly urging against an H-2B visa increase can be found here.

Oregon GOP Chair Applauds SCOTUS Ruling on Travel Suspension

Wilsonville, OR - The Oregon Republican Party issued the following statement from Chairman Bill Currier in reaction to today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) lifting the lower court injunctions against President Trump’s Executive Order suspending the entry of travelers and refugees from 6 nations identified by both Congress and the Obama Administration as providing insufficient vetting information to keep terrorists out of the U.S.

SCOTUS Rules On Travel Suspension “We applaud the Supreme Court's Nine to Zero ruling restoring the Presidential prerogative to enforce immigration laws and protect the country from threats such as terrorism that were clearly delegated by Congress, but which the misguided lower courts ignored. It is not, and never was, a "Muslim" ban, but rather an effort to ban terrorists and their sympathizers from taking up residence in our neighborhoods where they can do massive harm to innocent civilians,” stated Oregon GOP Chairman Bill Currier.

The Trump Administration asserted that it has clear legal authority under 8 U.S. Code § 1182 (f) Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President.  However, this authority was largely ignored by lower courts in their rulings blocking implementation of President Trump’s Executive Order.

“Lower courts, such as the frequently reversed 9th Circuit Court, should never have tried to substitute their discretion and authority for that expressly delegated to the Executive Branch on national security,” said Currier. “The ruling also rejects judicial overreach by reaffirming the importance of leaving it to the Executive Branch to negotiate with countries who are either unable or unwilling to give the U.S. Government what it needs to vet visitors and refugees before granting them entry to our country.”

The six countries affected comprise only a small fraction of the world’s 42 Muslim-majority nations and population, and were cited as being one or more of the following:

  1. A state sponsor of terrorism
  2. Significantly compromised by terrorist organizations
  3. An active terrorist conflict zone(s).

“We live in a new era in which terrorist groups like ISIS have vowed to, and in Europe, have succeeded in covertly infiltrating terrorists as refugees and visitors into countries they have targeted for attack," noted Chair Currier. “Today’s SCOTUS ruling rightly puts the safety and security of America First.”

The Oregon Republican Party is the state’s arm of the Republican National Committee. It’s Chairman and officers are dedicated to preserving and advancing Republican principles within the state of Oregon and to improving the lives and livelihoods of Oregon’s working families through economic freedom and equal protection under the law.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday 06/26/17–3:00 PM PDT
Contact: ORP Communications Director
communications.director@orgop.org (link sends e-mail) – (503) 902-4671

SUPPORTERS VISIT https://oregon.gop/get-updates TO SIGN UP TO RECEIVE OUR GRASSROOTS EMAIL UPDATES

 

Trump reverses promise to "immediately terminate" Obama's executive amnesty

Despite his pledge to #forgottenAmericans, @realDonaldTrump has issued more than 100,000 work permits to foreign workers in U.S. illegally.

Last night, his administration expressed its intention to issue more.

Three days ago, acting ICE director, Thomas D. Homan told the House Appropriations committee that regarding enforcement, "no population is off the table" and deportation orders would no longer be ignored. "I don't know where else in the American justice system any other agency is told to ignore a judge's ruling," he said.

Last night, however, DHS announced that it will continue to honor President Obama's 2012 executive amnesty (DACA), saying that "DACA recipients will continue to be eligible" for the program and "No work permits will be terminated prior to their current expiration dates."

"Trump Will Allow 'Dreamers' to Stay in U.S., Reversing Campaign Promise" - New York Times
"Trump won't alter status of current Dreamers" - Politico

In a speech last August @realDonaldTrump pledged to "immediately terminate President Obama's two illegal executive amnesties": DACA and DAPA.

Instead of ending DACA, DHS announced that it was officially rescinding Obama's 2014 executive amnesty (DAPA), which had never been enacted.

"Trump scraps Obama-era program protecting undocumented parents" - McClatchy

Meanwhile, the Trump administration continues to implement the active executive amnesty. Last month, Trump's nominee to lead U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services told Congress he expected the Trump administration to continue to issue work permits through DACA:

"I'm aware that both the president and Secretary Kelly have stated publicly and reiterated that the DACA program is to remain in place...

"...If confirmed, I would see my role to administer that program well, as it stands."

In his inauguration speech, @realDonaldTrump pledged that "Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families."

Two of every 5 Millennials of all ethnicities under age 30 with no college degree have no job of any kind. But Trump and Obama's DACA program grants work permits to people in the U.S. illegally who came to the U.S. before age 16 and were born after June 14, 1981.

Politico reports:

"One prominent Democrat said he'd extracted a promise not to alter the current protections for so-called Dreamers.

"'I'm grateful that President Trump has decided to keep the DACA program in place,' Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said on the Senate floor Thursday. 'Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Nominee Francis Cissna have promised me personally and publicly that they will maintain the existing guidelines for the DACA program. I appreciate the commitment and intend to hold them to it.'

"Since Trump took office, renewal of expiring DACA permits appears to have continued as normal. More than 17,000 new approvals took place between January and March and more than 107,000 existing DACA recipients had their work permits renewed for an additional two years."

No apologies: ICE chief says illegal immigrants should live in fear of deportation

Illegal immigrants should be living in fear of being deported, the chief of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Tuesday, pushing back against a growing sentiment among Democrats on Capitol Hill and activists across the country who have complained about agents enforcing the laws on the books.

Thomas D. Homan, acting director at ICE, said anyone in the country without authorization can be arrested and those who have been ordered deported by judges must be removed if laws are to have meaning.
 
His comments marked a major shift for an agency that President Obama forbade from enforcing the law when it came to more than 9 million of the country's estimated 11 million illegal immigrants. Unshackled from Mr. Obama's strictures, agents have dramatically increased the number of arrests.
Advocacy groups are enraged and demand leniency for traumatized immigrants.
 
Mr. Homan makes no apologies.  "If you're in this country illegally and you committed a crime by being in this country, you should be uncomfortable, you should look over your shoulder. You need to be worried,  Mr. Homan testified to the House Appropriations Committee. No population is off the table."
 
The Trump administration is asking for significant boosts in spending for both border and interior enforcement, but it is meeting resistance from Democrats who oppose a crackdown.  Democrats will not accept a penny of funding for a new deportation force or a border wall,” said Rep. Nita M. Lowey of New York, the ranking Democrat on the committee.
 
Border Patrol acting Chief Carla Provost defended the 74 miles of fencing that President Trump wants to erect next year, saying the wall will plug holes where illegal activity is still a problem in San Diego and parts of Texas.
 
She said the southwestern border is at medium risk of penetration and needs the wall to assist. She said construction on the 74 miles would start in either March or April.
 
Mr. Homan, meanwhile, said he needs a major infusion of detention beds to hold the larger population of illegal immigrants, now that his agents have been unshackled from the restrictions under Mr. Obama.
 
He said the number of countries refusing to take back their deportees has been cut in half, while the number of jurisdictions looking to have their police and sheriff's deputies trained to process illegal immigrants in their jails has nearly doubled and will likely triple by the end of the year.
 
In addition, some 400,000 illegal immigrants ordered removed by judges but who were ignored under the Obama administration are now back on the list of priorities.
 
All of that means more illegal immigrants to be detained in preparation for deportation.
 
Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Maryland Democrat, told Mr. Homan not to try deporting drunken drivers.  DWI or traffic is not really considered to be the type of people that are hurting our country,  he said.
Mr. Homan, though, said drunken driving sounds like a public safety risk.  "They should be removed," he said.
 
Mr. Homan said anyone in the country without authorization is a target for enforcement.  "We shouldn't wait for them to become a criminal," he said.
 
That angered immigrant rights advocates, who said it showed antipathy toward illegal immigrants.
 
"Wow. How revealing," said Frank Sharry, executive director at America's Voice. "Homan makes it clear that the ICE strategy is to indiscriminately target the entire undocumented population in America and to intentionally spread fear throughout millions of deeply rooted families."  He called Mr. Homan's testimony extremist.
 
Mr. Homan pushed back against such criticism. He said his agents are enforcing the laws as written and no other branch of law enforcement faces the abusive questions his employees do.
 
He said the illegal immigrants deserve the blame for separating families. When a U.S. citizen commits a crime and goes to jail, he said, the police who catch him aren't blamed for keeping him from his family.
 
Mr. Homan said the increased risk of enforcement is part of the reason illegal immigration across the southwestern border is at its lowest level in decades.
Democrats, though, said his officers need to show more discretion.
 
Ms. Lowey raised the case of a 19-year-old man in New York who was arrested on the day of his high school prom, which she said sent the wrong signal.
She said the man had kept out of trouble and was arrested while waiting at a bus stop for school.
 
Mr. Homen defended the arrest as valid. He said the young man committed a crime when he sneaked across the border and ignored an immigration judge's order to be removed.
 
"He lost his case, and because we don't like the results of that case we forget about it?'   Mr. Homan asked Ms. Lowey.  "I don't know where else in the American justice system any other agency is told to ignore a judge's ruling."

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