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Oregon paying 'undocumented individuals' for childcare, investigator claims

A state fraud investigator is alleging that the state of Oregon may have violated federal law by paying 79 "undocumented individuals" to provide day care for low-income families.

Ryan Cram, who has worked as a criminal fraud investigator for five years, sent an email to every Oregon lawmaker last week saying he came forward as a whistleblower after the Department of Human Services swept his concerns under the rug. He called for a full investigation.

In response, the Department of Human Services said it had carefully examined the issue and did not find problems, according to an email sent to lawmakers and obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive.

Leah Horner, the agency's legislative director, wrote that the agency's policy team conducted "a full review of the 79 providers" and their identification information. Of those, three required re-evaluation but were cleared. Horner said attorneys with the Department of Justice "had no concerns that fraud was committed and would not be pursuing the issue."

Cram's allegations come amid growing tensions over immigration in the era of President Donald J. Trump, whose administration has increased prosecution of immigration violations. A measure on the Oregon ballot this year would repeal the state's sanctuary law that bars state and local law enforcement from being used to enforce federal immigration standards.

"I tried going through the right steps and got blown off," Cram said in an interview Monday. "I wanted to put it all out there, and now they can answer these questions to elected officials."

At issue is the state's payments to a small fraction of childcare providers who participate in the Employment Related Day Care program. The state taps federal funds to subsidize day care for about 8,300 low-income families each month. The Department of Human Services directly pays approved providers to cover a portion of childcare costs, offering a monthly maximum of $1,255 per child.

Six months ago, while investigating a childcare-subsidy fraud case, Cram discovered an approved day care provider had supplied the Department of Human Services with a taxpayer identification number instead of a Social Security number. Cram also found the same day care provider was a recipient of food stamps.

Cram wrote that the woman was listed in internal state records as an "illegal alien" who "came over to the United States in 2007 undocumented," according to an April email he wrote to the Department of Human Services' policy office. Cram later shared the contents with lawmakers.

Cram kept digging. He found 79 daycare providers in all who, according Department of Human Services records, acknowledged being "undocumented and unauthorized to work in the United States," he said in his letter to lawmakers.

Under federal law, it is unlawful "to hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment" anyone known to have not been lawfully admitted into the United States. It's also unlawful to use "a contract, subcontract, or exchange" to "obtain the labor" of someone known to be illegally in the United States.

A Department of Human Services employee initially dismissed Cram's concern, according to an email Cram provided lawmakers. The state labeled any payment to a day care as a "client benefit" for the low-income family, not the worker. The state also said it "is not an employer of providers," according to an email Cram provided lawmakers.

Cram challenged that interpretation. He wrote that the state's relationship with the day care provider appeared to be a "form of employment/contract employment."

A child care policy analyst later told Cram by email that the department had reversed course and "would no longer pay a provider once we learned they were undocumented."

But on Sept. 24, Cram was called into a meeting and told no changes would be made, according to a memo Cram wrote and shared with lawmakers.

Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, who chairs the Interim Committee on Human Services, said she read all of the dozens of documents Cram provided. But Gelser said she had not yet had time to compare his allegations to the response offered by the Department of Human Services.

Kate Kondayen, a spokeswoman for Gov. Kate Brown, said in an email Monday that the Department of Human Services "has conducted an extensive internal review, and apprised the Governor's office of their findings."

Kondayen declined to say if Brown would ask for any further investigation.

Trump Administration Aims to Sharply Restrict New Green Cards for Those on Public Aid

WASHINGTON — Trump administration officials announced Saturday that immigrants who legally use public benefits like food assistance and Section 8 housing vouchers could be denied green cards under new rules aimed at keeping out people the administration deems a drain on the country.

The move could force millions of poor immigrants who rely on public assistance for food and shelter to make a difficult choice between accepting financial help and seeking a green card to live and work legally in the United States.

Older immigrants, many of whom get low-cost prescription drugs through the Medicare Part D program, could also be forced to stop participating...

The move is not intended to affect most immigrants who have already been granted green cards, but advocates have said they fear that those with legal resident status will stop using public benefits to protect their status. The regulation, which the administration said would affect about 382,000 people a year, is the latest in a series of aggressive crackdowns by President Trump and his hard-line aides on legal and illegal immigration.

Federal law has always required those seeking green cards to prove they will not be a burden and has taken into consideration the acceptance of cash benefits. But the government has never before considered the use of other public benefits, like assistance for food.

Now, the new regulation — announced on the Department of Homeland Security website — will require that immigration caseworkers consider the use of public benefits to be “heavily weighed negative factors” for those who are applying to remain legally in the country on a permanent basis. Those who are deemed likely to become dependent on government assistance will probably be denied.

The rule would affect people seeking to immigrate to the United States permanently and others who are in the country on temporary visas — including students and workers — who seek to stay permanently...

In a news release, the Department of Homeland Security said the new rule would “ensure that those seeking to enter and remain in the United States either temporarily or permanently can support themselves financially and will not be reliant on public benefits.”...

Pro-immigrant activists predict that poor immigrants will immediately begin withdrawing from public assistance programs...

“This is an attack on immigrant families and an attempt to make our immigration system a pay-to-play system where only the wealthy need apply,” said Jackie Vimo, a policy analyst with the National Immigration Law Center...

Stephen Miller, the president’s top immigration adviser, has long believed that being tough on immigrants is a winning tactic for Republican candidates...

But the breadth of the effect on immigrants could also energize liberal voters to support Democratic candidates. In New York, for example, city officials estimated that under an earlier draft of the regulation, which was leaked to the news media, nearly one million people could be hurt.

They said the children of immigrants who are in the United States legally could be the most vulnerable. Indeed, immigrant parents who work low-wage jobs and rely on assistance may need to remove their children from the programs to keep their families together in the United States. Unauthorized immigrants are ineligible for nearly all public benefits.

Trump administration officials say the rule is intended to promote fiscal responsibility.

“Self-sufficiency has been a basic principle of United States immigration law since this country’s earliest immigration statutes,” the proposal says. It remains United States policy that “the availability of public benefits not constitute an incentive for immigration to the United States.” (emphasis added)

The government has traditionally considered someone who relies on government cash assistance for more than half of his or her income a public charge. Now, however, officials will take into account whether an individual or a family has received any of an assortment of noncash public benefits, such as aid from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps; the Section 8 program, which provides housing assistance; or the Medicare prescription drug program for older adults.

“This is long overdue,” said Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, whose research supports decreased immigration. “This country has defined public charge in a fictional way in order to facilitate high levels of low-skilled immigration. But this is simply a 21st-century definition of what public charge is.”

Officials said that the new rule did not apply to refugees or asylum seekers who enter the country, or to legal immigrants who serve in the military. Cash or other assistance given to the immigrant victims of natural disasters would not be counted against them.

Critics of the new rule argue that it deviates from longstanding precedent and from Congress’s original intent for the public-charge statute...

Nearly 20 million children in immigrant families could be affected by the policy changes, according to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation that examined a draft of the new rule that was even broader than the one announced on Saturday. Almost nine in 10 of those children are United States citizens.

“The proposal is clearly intended to deny basic supports like food, health care and housing to lawfully present immigrants and their families — including millions of children and U.S. citizens — who pay taxes, work, go to school and contribute to our country’s economy,” Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington wrote in April in a letter to Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, the agency that reviews proposed rules before they are published. The mayor of Seattle wrote a similar letter expressing concerns...

“It’s a bit like the creation of a castelike system,” Mr. Fremstad said. “Unless you’ve had an ‘American dream’ going for you in your home country, you’re going to have a hard time earning it here. It’s really screening those people.”

Mr. Krikorian does not contest that view.

“This isn’t a moral issue,” he said. “A Honduran with a sixth-grade education level isn’t morally flawed, but he works three jobs and still can’t feed his family. Immigrants with low levels of skill are a mismatch for a modern society like ours.”

The complex web of technicalities surrounding the new rule are difficult to understand, said Charles Wheeler, a legal expert at the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, so the number of immigrants who withdraw from programs could exceed even the number who are subject to the rule.

 

Congressmen Bat Down MALDEF

WASHINGTON – Last Friday, three Congressmen � Congressman Steve King of IIowa, and Congressmen Andy Biggs and Paul A. Gosar, both of Arizona – filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, which is hearing a case brought by Texas and seven other states and two governors to have the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program declared unconstitutional. The Congressmen are represented in this effort by the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), which drafted the brief.

At issue is a motion to dismiss the case made by a group of Mexican nationals and others represented by the Mexican-American Education & Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF), an open-borders activist group. MALDEF’s clients were allowed to intervene in the case because the defendants, the United States and federal officials, agree with the plaintiffs that DACA is unconstitutional.

Now MALDEF claims the case should not go forward at all. Its main argument is that federal district courts in other parts of the country have blocked the Trump Administration’s rescission of DACA, and thus DACA cannot be struck down by the court in this case. As IRLI points out in its brief, however, whether DACA can be rescinded is a separate question from whether it was unconstitutional to begin with.  If it were unconstitutional to begin with, blocking its rescission would not reinstate it, but rather reinstate the last lawful state of affairs � that is, the situation pre-DACA.>

“It’s clear why MALDEF, with its open-borders agenda, wants this suit to go away,” commented Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “A victory here for Texas probably would be upheld by the Supreme Court, and DACA would be no more, rescission or no rescission. To try to stop that they’ll make any argument, even the mind-bending claim that, because a ruling by this court that DACA has never been lawful would change the effect of other courts’ rescission rulings, this court can’t take that step.”

The case is being heard by U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen. In 2015, Judge Hanen struck down the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (“DAPA”) program, which would have granted amnesty to 4 million illegal aliens and included an expanded version of DACA. Both the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and (in a 4-4 ruling) the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Judge Hanen’s DAPA decision.

The case is Texas v. United States, No. 1:18-cv-0068 (S.D. Tex.).

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan � 202-232-5590 � blonergan@irli.org

Big swindle on U.S. workers

The “Optional Practical Training” program -- what a benign-sounding name for a program that has devastating consequences for job-hungry citizens!

“OPT” is a program that’s legal, thanks to colluding bureaucrats and ignorant or corrupt elected officials.  It gives employers the legal right to hire foreign workers instead of citizens for mostly computer-related jobs, and not only gives employers the right, it incentivizes them to do so by excusing them from paying the Social Security taxes they would have to pay if they hired a citizen for the same job.

Then business and politically-correct media fudge the truth about the program, keeping the public in the dark about it.

David North, of the Center for Immigration Studies, exposes the Wall Street Journal and other media in his blog:  Wall Street Journal Describes Foreign 'Student' Work Program, but Omits $2 Billion Taxpayer Subsidy.

“There's a government program that rewards American employers for not hiring American college grads — for hiring foreign alumni instead — by draining about $2 billion a year from the government trust funds for the elderly (Medicare and Social Security) to pay those employers.

“It is the Optional Practical Training program.”

Read the rest of the blog here.

In a detailed history of how this program developed, John Miano, of CIS and co-author of the book, Sold Out, writes:

“OPT is an example of the administrative state run amok. Instead of law coming from Congress, we have law coming from bureaucrats working hand-in-hand with lobbyists. OPT also illustrates the slippery-slope problem of regulation. Work on student visas started innocently as an integral part of a course of study to give foreign students an experience not available in their home country, but eventually was transformed into a full-blown guestworker program whose stated purpose is to provide labor to American business.

“Congress's definition of student visa status cannot possibly encompass aliens who are either working full-time or are unemployed years after they have graduated.”

“The question now is whether the courts will ever make a decision on OPT or whether the Trump administration will realize that OPT is an unlawful program that should be terminated.”

See the history at: https://cis.org/Report/History-Optional-Practical-Training-Guestworker-Program

Opposition to immigrant sanctuary spreading in California

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — More local governments in California are resisting the state's efforts to resist the Trump administration's immigration crackdown, and political experts see politics at play as Republicans try to fire up voters in a state where the GOP has grown weak.

Since the Jeff Sessions-led Department of Justice sued California last month over its so-called "sanctuary state" law limiting police collaboration with immigration agents, at least a dozen local governments have voted to either join or support the lawsuit or for resolutions opposing the state's position. Those include the Board of Supervisors in Orange County, which has more than 3 million people.

More action is coming this week, with leaders in the Orange County city of Los Alamitos scheduled to vote Monday on a proposal for a local law to exempt the community of 12,000 from the state law. On Tuesday, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors is meeting to consider joining the Trump administration lawsuit.

Immigration has been a hot topic across the country since President Donald Trump campaigned in 2016 on promises of tougher enforcement and a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. It has been a lightning rod issue in California far longer....

"When the attorney general of the United States decides to take a firm position against it, I think that gave a signal to a lot of us that, 'Hey, California is on the wrong side of this thing,'" said Fred Whitaker, chairman of the Republican Party in Orange County...

"Politics is very much about emotions, especially in midterms," he said. "I think it was only a matter of time when people went back to the issue that actually hits the nerve in the Republican base these days more than any other."

Under Democratic leadership, California has enacted a series of laws in recent years aimed at helping immigrants, including issuing driver's licenses regardless of legal status and assisting with tuition at state universities. After Trump was elected, lawmakers passed the measure to limit police collaboration with federal immigration agents....

Most of the local governments siding with the Trump administration are in Orange County, an area once considered a GOP stronghold but that voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. But it's starting to spread.

Escondido in neighboring San Diego County has voted to support the federal lawsuit and last week the small city of Ripon in the state's Central Valley did the same.

In many cases, meetings on the issue have drawn boisterous crowds. Anti-illegal immigration activists have traveled from city to city to attend...

In response to the controversy, some local governments have taken the opposite approach. Leaders in Santa Ana, an Orange County city home to about 330,000 residents, voted to support California in the lawsuit.

Some of the supervisors pushing the issue in Orange and San Diego counties are Republicans running for Congress and they may see this as a way to generate needed enthusiasm, said Louis DeSipio, a political science professor at the University of California, Irvine.

"The mobilization that could come from introducing immigration debates into county political races may be a critical element in a year like 2018 when Democrats will likely be more mobilized than Republicans," he said.

Grassley charges 'colleges' selling visas to foreigners

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is confronting the Department of Homeland Security about a special program under which groups “pose as education institutions in order to secure visas for tuition-paying foreign students.”

The students, the senator points out, are then able to obtain three-year work permits and are exempted from payroll-tax requirements.

“Visa mills are those marginal educational institutions that provide visas and work permits to foreign students, but little in the way of actual schooling,” explains the Center for Immigration Studies.

The work permits under the Optional Practical Training program “actually give the alien students’ employers a tax break for hiring them instead of comparable citizen and green card students.”

Grassley, in a letter with pages of questions posed to DHS, pointed out that the foreign students are given three-year work visas, even if they aren’t offered any reasonable education.

“These ‘visa mills’ profit from the foreign student tuition and face little governmental oversight when issuing work visas under the program, which is not available to American students,” the senator explained.

“Employers also benefit from hiring foreign student over American workers, as neither the employer nor the foreign students is required to pay payroll taxes for the work,” he said.

Grassley said that with all of the financial incentives granted the students, schools and employers, it’s not surprising “that foreign student enrollment has exploded, while recent American grads are un- or under-employed.”

“Unfortunately, our government has delegated much of the authority surrounding foreign student employment to the very individuals and entities that benefit the most, schools and school officials,” he said.

David North at the Center for Immigration Studies noted, “To my knowledge, this is the first time that DHS has been asked by Congress about visa mills and OPT; one hopes that it will stir some interest in DHS about issues long neglected by that agency.”

He previously noted action taken against a visa mill that that had been described in India as “an academic rip-off.”

Grassley said foreign students “contribute to a growing population of non-immigrants who overstay their visas.”

“In 2016, more than 79,000 foreign students overstayed their visas – an overstay rate nearly three times greater than that of the general non-immigrant visa population.”

He pointed out that many reputable colleges enroll foreign students, but there are others.

“These institutions, many of which operate as section 501(c)(3) (tax-exempt) educational institutions, are costing American workers millions of dollars in lost taxes and employment opportunities, and contribute disproportionately to the large and growing population of foreign students and exchange visitors – nearly 80,000 in 2016 – who overstay visas to remain in the United States without legal authorization.”

It’s also a national security concern, he said.

There were more than a quarter-million “foreign students working in one of these government-approved, alien-only, paid ‘training’ programs, as of August 2017,” he noted.

Students are drawn by the money, and schools want to maximum revenue. To do that, he explained, schools such as Pomona College, Williams College, Yale and MIT “all recently reclassified their economics programs so that they qualify for the Department of Education’s ‘STEM’ designation, because foreign students in STEM fields can work in the U.S. for three years or more after graduation.”

U.S. employers also cash in because they are exempted from payroll taxes for the workers.

Grassley said the problem is huge.

“Tri-Valley University (TVU), was certified to admit 30 foreign students in 2009 but by May 2010 – when ICE began an investigation – had enrolled 939. The next fall, Tri-Valley had 1,555 foreign students, before the school was shuttered due to an astonishing list of criminal activity by the school’s founder, Susan Su. TVU ‘students’ reportedly took no classes, but exchanged tuition and fees for I-20s and work approval. After closure, hundreds of TVU students were, mystifyingly, permitted to transfer to other schools.”

Grassley is asking DHS how the work permits are monitored, who looks at students’ training plans, how problems are corrected and more.

 

Congress muddles on H-1B reform to the detriment of US workers

Take a moment to read this insightful article about excessive immigration in a way we don't often acknowledge. 

Dale L. Wilcox is executive director and general counsel at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.

http://www.irli.org/single-post/2018/03/26/Congress-muddles-on-H-1B-refo...

 

Senate rejects Trump immigration plan

The Senate rejected legislation based on President Trump's framework for an immigration deal in a 39-60 vote on Thursday, leaving an uncertain path forward for Congress with nearly a million immigrants sheltered by an Obama-era program facing the prospect of deportation.

The measure spearheaded by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) needed 60 votes to clear a filibuster, but failed to meet the mark.

It was the fourth proposal in a row rejected by the Senate ...

The Grassley measure provided a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. Many of these people could face deportation beginning in March as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is scaled back, though court rulings are complicating that matter.

It also included $25 billion for border security, tougher interior enforcement and new limits on legal immigration.

Supporters of the plan and the White House mounted an intense pressure campaign to win over the 60 votes needed to move forward with their plan.

"The president, in my view, has gone more than halfway to meet the Democrats and resolve this matter..." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said ahead of the vote.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also called the framework a "reasonable compromise."

And Trump, in a tweet, urged senators to "strongly consider a system of merit based immigration."

"While the Republicans and Democrats in Congress are working hard to come up with a solution to DACA, they should be strongly considering a system of Merit Based Immigration so that we will have the people ready, willing and able to help all of those companies moving into the USA!" he said.

Bolstering the White House, most Senate Republicans backed the measure, despite some concerns about cuts to legal immigration. And Trump won over three Democrats — Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) — all of whom face tough reelection races in deep-red states this fall. 

“I share the President's commitment to border security," Manchin said. "That’s why I voted for his plan. That’s why I fought to ensure the $25 billion he requested for border security was included in the bipartisan deal. That’s why I opposed the Democratic proposal that did not provide a single penny for border security." 
 
Trump and McConnell threw their support behind the Grassley plan earlier this week, bolstering its chances. Republicans are wary of moving forward with an immigration bill that the president doesn't support given that the issue is a political lightning rod amongst the party's base.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), one of Trump's closest allies in the Senate, warned ahead of the vote that any Republicans who supported a separate bipartisan proposal should be concerned about "their electoral futures.”

But the interior enforcement measures, limits to legal immigration and nixing of the Diversity Visa Lottery program were largely considered nonstarters for Democrats.

"President Trump, since he created this problem by terminating DACA last August, has stood in the way of every single proposal that has had a chance to become law," said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Republicans tried to pressure Democrats into supporting the measure, making it the fourth of the four proposals to get a vote in the Senate Thursday. But Democrats largely scoffed at the take it-or-leave it set up.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) separately told reporters that “I think the writing’s on the wall with the Grassley proposal. … Few if any Democrats will vote for it.”

Grassley tried to win over Democratic support by pledging they would be able to offer changes if it overcame an initial procedural hurdle.

"Aren't you at a point where here the Democrats have been pleading for months and months and months for justice," he said, "why would they turn it down?"

Where the Senate's debate goes next is unclear, though Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told reporters that both sides would keep talking ahead of the March 5 deadline.

Where the Senate's debate goes next is unclear. 

The Trump administration announced last year that they were ending DACA, which allows undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children to work and go to school.

Under that decision Congress has until March 5 to pass a fix. But two court dates have thrown that into limbo.

McConnell said late Thursday afternoon that it had been a "disappointing week" and Democrats "couldn't take yes for an answer." 

And while noting that he had "held up my end of the bargain," the GOP leader left the door open to bringing immigration back up if a plan emerged that could pass both chambers and had the support of the White House. 

"Even though this week has been squandered, this does not have to be the end of our efforts," he said.

 

Oregon bill combats DACA termination, continues college tuition equity

Despite national efforts to end DACA, undocumented students in Oregon will continue to have access to tuition equity if Senate Bill 1563 passes.

Students who are not citizens have historically had to apply for "official federal identification" — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals documentation — before they can be eligible for resident tuition at public universities.

Otherwise, they have to pay non-resident or international tuition costs, which can be three or four times more than in-state tuition per year.

But since the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s deferred action program was terminated in 2017, the department is no longer accepting applications.

The Oregon bill is an attempt to bridge that gap, removing the restriction from undocumented students living in the state and continuing protections put into place in Oregon years ago.

In short, it would allow these students to continue getting access to lower tuition costs, scholarships and other financial aid. 

"This is the only country, the only state and the only home they have ever known," said Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, one of the chief sponsors of the bill. "Pure and simple, they are Americans in thought, word and deed."

Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, Rep. Diego Hernandez, D-Portland, and Rep. Teresa Alonso León, D-Woodburn, are also chief sponsors.

Courtney worked on various bills in the past that sought similar equity for undocumented students, but did not come to fruition, including Senate Bill 10 in 2003 and Senate Bill 742 in 2011. Both passed the Senate but not the House, even with bipartisan support.

However, a Tuition Equity bill was passed via House Bill 2787 in 2013. This session's bill would protect the 2013 legislation, keeping the path to college open for the same students covered before.

"I didn’t know what I was doing at the time. I didn’t know about ‘tuition equity’ or federal immigration laws, we didn’t have DACA or DREAMers," Courtney said. " And the frustration these students felt after working so hard to graduate, only to realize they would be unable to afford college."

Not much opposition was voiced at the Senate Education Committee hearing Wednesday afternoon. However, Sen. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, requested additional stats on how many students would truly stand to benefit from the program.

The students covered by this bill must have been brought to the United States under the age of 16, are younger than 30 years old, do not pose a threat to national security or public safety and have continuously resided in the U.S. for the past five years.

Many of the education committee members, in addition to those listed as chief sponsors, are regular sponsors, including Chair Arnie Roblan, D-Coos Bay, Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, and Sen. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton.

"To punish young people brought here by their undocumented parents would be wrong. It would be cruel. It would be un-American," Courtney said. "They are every bit a part of our American family.

"Let’s send Senate Bill 1563 to the Floor," he said.

The work session for the bill was held over to the next committee meeting, scheduled for Monday, Feb. 12 at 1 p.m. in Hearing Room C at the Capitol.

One student's story

Edith Gomez Navarrete was brought to Oregon illegally from Mexico when she was 1 year old.

She graduated high school with honors, earned Bachelor's and Masters degrees and become a fourth-grade teacher at a dual English-Spanish immersion school in Eugene.

And even though she was one of only five students in her high school class to earn a full International Baccalaureate Diploma, she still faced many obstacles accessing higher education.

In 2012, Gomez Navarrete was accepted to Oregon State University and the University of Oregon, but was told she would have to pay international student tuition — close to $30,000 a year.

She was already living on her own and supporting herself. She said it would have been impossible to pay $120,000 for an undergraduate degree plus living costs.

"Undocumented students are ineligible for most scholarships, no matter how hard we work or how strong our academic record because the minimum documentation requirement is permanent residency," she said.

Gomez Navarrete shared her story when testifying at the hearing Wednesday.

She was able to access a school's Tuition Equity program and earn some scholarships as well, but could not access federal aid as an undocumented student.

"Without Tuition Equity, there was truly no possible chance we could ever pay for college," she said. "All we want is an opportunity."

In high school, Gomez Navarrete heard from many friends who saw no sense in even completing high school, because college seemed unattainable. Many dropped out.

"Look what happened when I had the opportunity," she said. "When we talk about the need to diversify Oregon’s teaching force so we can better reach all kids – they are talking about me."

While not all people who are undocumented at Latino, and not all Latino people are undocumented, there is a persistent educational achievement gap for Latino students.

More than 40 percent of Latinos in Oregon have earned less than a high school diploma, compared to only 9 percent of their white counterparts.

Additionally, only 23 percent of Latinos have some college or Associate Degree, only 12 percent have a Bachelor's Degree or higher. These numbers compare to 36 percent and 31 percent for their white counterparts, respectively.

"Oregon needs to pass Senate Bill 1563 to keep these opportunities alive, so young people have a reason to finish high school and have an opportunity to meet their potential," she finished. "We just want to find the chance to do what we were meant to do."

Contact Natalie Pate at npate@StatesmanJournal.com, 503-399-6745, or follow her on Twitter @Nataliempate or on Facebook a www.Facebook.com/nataliepatejournalist.

Congressman Ron Wyden holding Towhall meetings this weekend

Alert date: 
2018-02-02
Alert body: 

Have something to say to Congressman Ron Wyden? He would like to see you at one of his upcoming Townhall Meetings this weekend.

Saturday, Feb. 3 - starts at 11:30 am
Astoria High School Auditorium
1001 W Marine Dr., Astoria, OR 97103
 
and
 
Saturday, Feb. 3, starts at 4 pm
Port of Tillamook Bay, Officers Mess Hall
6825 Officer's Row, Tillamook, OR 97141
 
-------------
 
Sunday, Feb. 4 - starts Noon
Century High School Gymnasium
2000 SE Century Blvd., Hillsboro, OR 97123
 
If you attend, please email van@numbersusa.com a brief description of your interaction and the immigration-related discussion. Or, call OFIR at 503.435.0141 and tell us about it.
 
Talking Points for your consideration:
 
You were responsible for shutting down the federal government, not Republicans. And for what? To amnesty illegal aliens. You're playing a destructive political game. You knew negotiations were ongoing. Do not vote for another shutdown.
 
You are pushing a legalization for so-called Dreamers but don't care what caused these young people to be in the country illegally in the first place. Their parents brought them while seeking to work here illegally. We'll be in this situation again unless we make it hard for employers to hire unlawful workers. That's why I want you to support mandatory E-Verify workplace eligibility checks for all employers. Don't subject another generation of young people to the same situation.
 
Our immigration system should help American workers get a decent pay raise and have a higher standard of living. That's why Sen. Tom Cotton introduced the RAISE Act, which would cut legal immigration from about one million per year to 500,000. I strongly support the bill because it will reduce job competition, including for the 50 million working-age Americans not in the workforce. Please co-sponsor the RAISE Act. Stand with American workers, not anti-American business owners who want more job competition to reduce wages.
 
The Visa Lottery must be terminated because it threatens our national security, as evidenced by the October 31 New York City terrorist attack by lottery winner Sayfullo Saipov. The program is fraud-ridden, because it has low application standards, and draws from nations that are state sponsors of terror or are known to harbor terrorist organizations. This dangerous combination made the program the subject of numerous congressional oversight hearings and a target for repeal. Please support a repeal of the Visa Lottery.
 
A biometric entry/exit system was a key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission after it learned that several of the hijackers had overstayed their visas. But despite Congressional approval and funding, the last two administrations failed to implement this essential system for tracking and removing visa over-stayers. There is no excuse for further delays in these dangerous times, so I want you to help get this done.

 

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