Oregon legislation

Oregon House votes to expand privacy for undocumented immigrants

A bill that would limit the assistance of schools, courts and other public agencies in federal immigration enforcement passed the Oregon House of Representatives Tuesday.

Under the bill, public institutions would be prohibited from disclosing personal information such as a workplace or phone number to federal immigration authorities unless that disclosure is required by federal law.

The bill was introduced by Reps. Teresa Alonso Leon, D-Woodburn, and Diego Hernandez, D-Portland, and passed 35-23 along party lines...

Alonso Leon and Hernandez, along with 26 House and seven Senate Democrats...wish to increase privacy for immigrants "in response to recent Immigrations and Customs Enforcement raids throughout the state," according to a news release by House Democrats...

The bill would also prohibit public agencies from collecting information about a person's immigration status...

A statement from House Republicans called the bill "an attempt to subvert federal immigration policy."

"This bill would make it nearly impossible for state and local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration officials and would allow even individuals who have been convicted of serious crimes to escape immigration enforcement," Rep. Andy Olson, R-Albany, said in a statement.

During the House session, Rep. Greg Barreto, R-Cove, read a letter from Immigration and Customs Enforcement representative Melissa Nitsch, who said the agency "does not conduct raids, sweeps, or checkpoints, or conduct random enforcement activity," but rather does "targeted, lead-driven enforcement" on individuals the agency deems a threat to public safety.

As a sanctuary state, Oregon already prohibits the use of state and local resources in federal immigration enforcement if a person's only crime is being in the country illegally...

Next OFIR meeting - Saturday, June 24 at 2:00pm

Alert date: 
2017-06-15
Alert body: 

Mark your calendar and invite a friend to join you Saturday, June 24th at 2:00pm for OFIR's next meeting at the Best Western Mill Creek Inn, across from Costco in Salem, OR.

Things are heating up in the Oregon Legislature as time is running short and so many things are yet unresolved.  OFIR has invited Representatives Greg Barreto and Mike Nearman to join us.  Your questions are welcome and encouraged as time allows!

Initiative Petition #22  - to overturn Oregon's Sanctuary Statute ORS 181A.820 is now in the hands of the Attorney General, awaiting a ballot title.  Perhaps by meeting day, we will have a ballot title.

OFIR has been closely monitoring HB 3464 and it's particularly troubling legislation.  Read the press release.  The bill has now advanced to the House Floor and OFIR members are encouraged to phone or email their Representatives and encourage them to vote no on this terrible bill.

As usual, our agenda is packed with the most up-to-date information regarding recent immigration issues here in Oregon and across the country.

 


 

HB 3464 -State Rep. Barreto explains why this legislation is bad for Oregon

Alert date: 
2017-06-14
Alert body: 
My Eastern Oregon

OREGON: House Bill 3464 Issued by Barreto

Posted on June 12, 2017

Representative Greg Barreto has issued a statement on House Bill 3464, The Governors sanctuary state bill.  That statement can be viewed below.

House Bill 3464, the Governor’s sanctuary state bill, had a public hearing in the House Committee on Rules. Our office has received numerous calls and emails from constituents opposing this bill, and I want to shed some light on my position, where we are in this process, and what you can do to help.

HB 3464 came about based on the Governor and other Democrat leaders’ desire to oppose federal immigration laws. As President Trump seeks to regain control over lax immigration policy, Oregon leaders have used it as an opportunity to bolster the liberal agenda by using appeals to emotion and fear about deportation in Oregon, effectively creating an environment where being in favor of immigration reform and enforcement is equated to bigotry and racial prejudice.

The mistruth of that narrative is sort of insignificant in the climate we live in here in Oregon. Daily we see emotionally driven narratives fly out of Democrat offices and they are spread as truth, and any argument against is considered uninformed or hateful. Unfortunately, these so called “truths” are often very effective calls to action.

For example, late last week our office received a press release from the House Majority (Democrat) Office about the upcoming hearing on HB 3464. In the press release it said, “the increase of ICE raids and deportations in Oregon has created an environment of fear in communities throughout the state.” We requested a list of sources from the House Majority Office to verify that fact. We received a list of five links to articles about ICE activity in Oregon and throughout the US. It was interesting to go through the articles. Many talked about increased fear, most referenced national ICE activity, and two talked specifically about the well-known Woodburn case. There was not a single article with statistics related to increased ICE activity specific to Oregon, and the statistics we’ve found point to a decrease in deportations this year. But it is loose claims like this that, regardless of verifiability, that get people mobilized.

Last night at the hearing on HB 3464, the Governor used Japanese internment camps to advocate on behalf of this bill. The rhetoric of using a horrifying piece of United States history to advance a bill that would hinder our state from enforcing federal immigration laws would lead folks to believe that those who oppose the bill are bigoted and hateful when in fact they simply have a high regard of the rule of law.  This is an unsound argument and a gross misuse of strategy in continuing to push their inflammatory agenda.

Our office has received an overwhelming number of calls and emails from constituents in opposition to this bill. I also stand in opposition to this bill, and will not be falsely shamed into voting for a bill against my values, and those constituent concerns when bills like this are undermining federal law. Without a doubt, this issue has been neglected and undealt with and there have been decades of lack of action, but that does not mean that current law should be ignored or subverted when we now have an interest at a national level in addressing the problem and working towards a solution.

The rules committee adjourned last night after testimony both in favor and against HB 3464. The committee will not vote on this bill until a work session is held, and it has not yet been scheduled. I would encourage all of you to continue to reach out to legislators on the Rules committee, the Governor, and the Attorney General and voice your opposition of this bill. My vote alone does not express nearly what your calls and emails can, and they need to hear from all of you.

http://www.myeasternoregon.com/2017/06/12/oregon-house-bill-3464-issued-by-barreto/

Should illegal aliens be a "protected" class of people? The Governor seems to think so.

Alert date: 
2017-06-04
Alert body: 

PRESS RELEASE

OREGON HOUSE DEMOCRATS

For Immediate Release For More Information, Contact:

May 31, 2017 Scott Moore: 503-986-1904

Legislators, Gov. Brown, and AG Rosenblum File Bill to Protect Privacy of Oregonians

   HB 3464 limits information collection and increases privacy

in response to federal anti-immigration actions

SALEM—Responding to increasing concerns about aggressive federal anti-immigration actions, Reps. Teresa Alonso Leon (D-Woodburn) and Diego Hernandez (D-Portland) have filed a bill to strengthen privacy protections for vulnerable populations. HB 3464 was filed on behalf of Gov. Kate Brown and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.

“Our immigrant communities are living in fear,” says Rep. Alonso Leon. “I have heard from children who are afraid to go to school in the morning, because they aren’t sure if their parents will be home at the end of the day. I won’t stand for these inhumane immigration enforcement tactics that are tearing families apart—this bill is our chance to protect these communities.”

The increase of ICE raids and deportations in Oregon has created an environment of fear in communities throughout the state. Families all over Oregon have been torn apart, children left without fathers, mothers, and grandparents. People are even afraid to go to local shops, hurting small businesses.

“Now more than ever, we must stand together as Oregonians to guard against prejudice and discrimination,” Governor Brown said. “Oregon relies on a diverse workforce to support a growing economy, and we must ensure the civil rights of all Oregonians are protected and that the rule of law is respected.”

HB 3464 serves to strengthen—in line with state and federal laws—our state’s protections by changing the ways that public bodies are authorized to collect and share data with the federal government. It also requires the Attorney General to provide guidance to all public bodies as to how to interact with immigration enforcement activities, and encourages all public bodies to implement the guidance and or update their confidentiality policies.

“We have heard from school administrators, county judges, and other public bodies that they want and need guidance from the state on how to respond if ICE comes asking for information,” says Rep. Hernandez. “HB 3464 provides clarity and consistency for our public bodies, so a school principal knows how they can protect the private information of students and their families. Allies and community members are looking to the legislature to protect our immigrant neighbors from federal overreach.”

HB 3464:

  • Encourages all public bodies to adopt policies, for consistency and clarity statewide, on the collection of information and how to process requests of information by the federal government.

  • Provides guidance from the Attorney General to public bodies on these policies and complying with federal and state law.

“There is a lot of fear right now in our immigrant communities stemming from increasingly aggressive tactics by federal enforcement agencies. This impacts the entire community—families and businesses, schools, hospitals, courthouses, and other public facilities, as everyone struggles to understand their rights and responsibilities under the law. This bill is a way to help make sure our communities have clear guidance so they are in compliance with state and federal law. It is imperative that we take this important step to protect the rights of all Oregonians,” said Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.

HB 3464 is expected to be referred to the House Rules Committee and should be scheduled for a public hearing shortly.

 

[To see this news release in pdf version as originally distributed, click here.] 

Oregon Lawmakers Aim to Increase Protections of Immigrants

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Public bodies in Oregon would be prohibited from disclosing a person's immigration status and details like addresses, except when required by law, under a bill filed Wednesday in the Legislature.

Teresa Alonso Leon, a Democrat from Woodburn, and Diego Hernandez, a Democrat from Portland filed the bill in the House as immigration enforcement increases under President Donald Trump...

....The bill said that, "except as required by state or federal law," a public body may not disclose for the purpose of immigration enforcement, a person's address, workplace or work schedule, school and contact information.

A public body would also be prohibited from inquiring about a person's citizenship or immigration status except when determining benefit eligibility or as required by state or federal law.

Oregon state law and federal laws, however, clash when it comes to immigration.

*Oregon created America's first sanctuary state in 1987 with a law that prevents law enforcement from detaining people who are in the United States illegally but have not broken other laws. In February, Brown signed an executive order that said all state agencies must follow the 1987 statute.

A Republican lawmaker who advocates enforcement of America's immigration laws said the state should comply with federal law.

"If you read federal law, it says not only is it illegal to be in the country without authorization and if you're caught you have to go back, but it is also illegal to harbor someone," Rep. Sal Esquivel, from the southwestern Oregon town of Medford, said in a phone interview....

Esquivel said Brown is "protecting people of illegal status in the state, which is against the law. This is a country of laws and if we don't adhere to the laws we won't have a country left."

Brown said Wednesday that  *"Oregon relies on a diverse workforce to support a growing economy, and we must ensure the civil rights of all Oregonians are protected and that the rule of law is respected."...

He said school administrators, county judges, and other public bodies are seeking guidance from the state on how to respond if ICE asks for information....

"This bill is a way to help make sure our communities have clear guidance so they are in compliance with state and federal law," Rosenblum said...

*Emphasis added

'Sanctuary city' resolution on the agenda for Tualatin City Council's next meeting

The council heard from several residents last week who urged it to declare Tualatin a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants. The statement would be mostly a symbolic gesture.

Tualatin could become a self-declared "sanctuary city" as soon as Monday, May 22, if its City Council votes to adopt a resolution slated for discussion on the meeting agenda.

The City Council heard from two students and two staff members at Tualatin High School last Monday, May 8, who asked the council to adopt a resolution similar to those passed in Beaverton and Hillsboro earlier this year. Although receptive, with at least three councilors saying explicitly at the meeting that they are in favor of Tualatin becoming a sanctuary city, the council opted then to continue discussion at least to their next meeting.

An agenda for the council's work session, which begins at 5:30 p.m., includes an estimated 45-minute discussion of the resolution, along with other actions the city could take in a similar vein, such as "a series of listening sessions to address the need and concern of the broader community to feel safe and welcome."

The draft resolution itself is on the agenda for the council's business meeting, which starts at 7 p.m.

Draft resolution provides definition of 'sanctuary city'

It defines a "sanctuary city" as "as a city that is committed to providing a safe community for individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity, place or origin, or immigration status, and works to ensure that all members of our community are sage and can call for public safety assistance without being questioned about federal immigration laws and without fear or reprisal based solely on legal status, in accordance with current Oregon law."

Sanctuary city status in Oregon is largely symbolic, as the state has had a law on the books since 1987 prohibiting state and local law enforcement from using their resources to pursue or detain people on the sole basis of their immigration status.

However, the group that appeared at the May 8 meeting said such a declaration by the Tualatin City Council would affirm Tualatin's place as a community where immigrants can feel welcome. Activists have made similar arguments in Tigard, where the city has responded to groups asking for a sanctuary city declaration with a statement of unity read by Mayor John L. Cook at one recent meeting.

The draft resolution specifies that Tualatin's sanctuary city declaration would be made "as a statement of unity for our community."

Councilor Paul Morrison suggested at the May 8 meeting that the council could consider changing the word "sanctuary," to something else, such as "unity." He and five other council members argued against voting on a resolution at that meeting, the agenda for which did not list sanctuary cities as a discussion item.

Councilor Jeff DeHaan disagreed, saying that he saw neither a need to change the term "sanctuary city" nor a compelling reason to wait until a future meeting to hold a vote. He made a motion that the council adopt the resolution proposed by the group from Tualatin High, but the motion did not receive a second.

Resolution would not prevent ICE from making arrests

Some 17.3 percent of Tualatin residents were identified as "Hispanic or Latino" by the 2010 Census. One of Tualatin's neighborhood schools, Bridgeport Elementary School in east Tualatin, is roughly even-split between students who speak English at home and students who speak Spanish at home, and it has a dual language immersion program to encourage bilingualism in its student population.

A school counselor at Tualatin High who spoke at the May 8 council meeting said that some students have stopped regularly attending classes, staying home due to fears that members of their family could be arrested for being in the United States without legal documentation.

President Donald Trump was elected last November on a campaign platform that included taking a tougher line on illegal immigration. Trump has said he wants to deport millions of undocumented immigrants. Since his inauguration in January, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has stepped up its activity, reportedly arresting dozens in the Portland area alone.

Mayor Lou Ogden cautioned at the May 8 meeting that even if Tualatin declares itself a sanctuary city, it cannot stop ICE from operating in the city. Furthermore, state law does allow law enforcement agencies to exchange information with federal authorities in order to verify arrested suspects' immigration status.

The Tualatin City Council work session and meeting at which the resolution is expected to be discussed will be held at the Juanita Pohl Center, 8513 S.W. Tualatin Road.

The May 8 meeting was held at the Tualatin Police Department, not the usual venue for council meetings, due to a budget advisory committee meeting there that immediately preceded it.

FILE - Tualatin City Councilor Jeff DeHaan moved unsuccessfully for the council to approve a resolution declaring Tualatin a sanctuary city at its May 8 meeting.

Obama DOJ Reprimanded SPLC for Hateful Attacks on Immigration Control Groups

The radical leftist group that helped a gunman commit an act of terrorism against a conservative organization was officially reprimanded by the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) for its hateful attacks, according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is an extremist nonprofit that lists conservative organizations that disagree with it on social issues on a catalogue of “hate groups.” The previously undisclosed DOJ rebuke is a vindication for groups targeted by the SPLC’s witch hunts and is especially impactful because the Obama administration was tight with the SPLC and even hired the controversial nonprofit to conduct diversity training for the government. Judicial Watch uncovered documents relating to the SPLC’s diversity training at the DOJ back in 2013.

Also in 2013, Judicial Watch reported that a Virginia man who planned a mass shooting based on the SPLC’s “hate map” of conservatives got a 25-year prison sentence. Prosecutors called it an act of terrorism and recommended a 45-year sentence. The terrorist, Floyd Lee Corkins, stormed into the headquarters of the Family Research Council (FRC) and carried out the politically-motivated shooting based on an SPLC target list. The FRC is a Christian organization that promotes the traditional family unit and the Judeo- Christian value system. Corkins pleaded guilty and admitted that he learned about the FRC from the SPLC, which describes itself as a civil rights group but labels conservatives who disagree with it on social issues as hateful.

In 2015, the SPLC issued a hit list of U.S. women against sharia law, the authoritarian doctrine that inspires Islamists and their jihadism. This included a starter kit for Islamists to attack American women who refuse to comply with Sharia law and a detailed list of female bloggers, activist and television personalities who reject Sharia law, which is rooted in the Quran. Among those targeted were colleagues and friends of Judicial Watch who fear for their safety simply for practicing their rights under the U.S. Constitution. That SPLC hate list is titled Women Against Islam/The Dirty Dozen and includes illustrations and detailed information on all the women, who are branded “the core of the anti-Muslim radical right.” The SPLC hate brochure further targets them by claiming that they’re “a dozen of the most hardline anti-Muslim women activists in America.”

Another favorite SPLC target is any group or individual that speaks openly against illegal immigration. The DOJ reprimand, issued last year but kept quiet at the agency’s request, involves the SPLC’s atrocious behavior during immigration court proceedings. Two groups that oppose illegal immigration, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), were the target of personal, baseless and below-the-belt attacks from SPLC attorneys during official immigration court proceedings. The SPLC filed a motion attacking and defaming the two respected nonprofits by describing them as “white supremacist”, “eugenicist”, “anti-Semitic”, and “anti-Catholic.” In its reprimand the DOJ says it is troubled by the conduct of SPLC lawyer Christopher Strawn and that his conduct “overstepped the bounds of zealous advocacy and was unprofessional.” Furthermore, SPLC made “uncivil comments that disparaged FAIR and its staff,” the rebuke states, adding that the language constitutes frivolous behavior and doesn’t aid in the administration of justice.

The Obama administration kept the reprimand confidential and asked FAIR and IRLI to keep it under wraps. In the meantime, SPLC continues to publicly trash the groups and escalate attacks against them by putting them on the official hate list. The executive director and general counsel of IRLI, Dale Wilcox, says his nonprofit and FAIR will keep fighting for immigration policies that put America first. “The SPLC’s latest tactic in its never-ending witch-hunt and the federal government’s resulting reprimand should send the following message to the mainstream media,” Wilcox said: “Stop using the SPLC as a legitimate hate-watch source in your news coverage. That a cabal of biased list-keepers can play such an important role in distorting the immigration debate in this country is testament to the utter failure of much of the mainstream media which frequently publishes their inflammatory commentary and refuses to question their baseless methods or financial motivations.”

OFIR launches STOP Oregon Sanctuaries ballot measure drive

Alert date: 
2017-05-01
Alert body: 

Oregonians for Immigration Reform announces the launching of a new initiative: Initiative Petition 22 -- "Stop Oregon Sanctuaries" - to be placed on the November 2018 statewide ballot.  OFIR is now collecting sponsorship signatures.

"Since 1987, Oregon Revised Statute 181A.820 has prevented Oregon's state and local law-enforcement agencies from offering their fullest cooperation to the U.S. authorities who seek to identify and detain illegal aliens," said OFIR president Cynthia Kendoll.  She stated further:

"The law has effectively rendered ours a 'sanctuary state' for those in the country illegally.  ORS 181A.820 undermines the rule of law generally and federal immigration law specifically, thwarts the enforcement efforts of the brave men and women who serve on our national-security front lines, and endangers innocent Americans and legal residents."

As an example of the latter, Kendoll noted last summer's murder of three people in Woodburn.  Bonifacio Oseguera-Gonzalez, an illegal alien who had been deported six times, is charged with this crime, is incarcerated and awaiting trial.  "If not for ORS 181A.820," Kendoll said, "Oseguera-Gonzalez might have been identified previously as an illegal alien by state or local police and deported by ICE."

OFIR vice president Richard LaMountain points out: "Illegal aliens can and do harm the very people to whom Oregon and its counties and cities owe their foremost responsibility: American citizens.  For this reason, enforcement of U.S. immigration law is not extrinsic, but central, to the duties of state and local law enforcement."

Besides the deaths and injuries to innocent citizens in Oregon caused by illegal aliens, there are significant fiscal costs to taxpayers for services to illegal aliens.

The current threshold for initiatives to be placed on the 2018 ballot is 88,184 signatures of registered Oregon voters, collected by July 2018.

Founded in 2000, Oregonians for Immigration Reform advocates ending illegal immigration and reducing the excessive levels of legal immigration.  In 2014, OFIR spearheaded the successful Ballot Measure 88 referendum by which Oregon voters rejected Senate Bill 833 that would have granted legal driving privileges to illegal aliens.

For further information about OFIR's goals and activities, see the website at:  http://www.oregonir.org.

Oregon's sanctuary law when passed in 1987 was cited as ORS 181.850.  It has subsequently been amended and is now cited as ORS 181A.820.

Legislation could prevent some deportations of legal immigrants

SALEM — State lawmakers are considering a change to sentencing law that could help prevent the mandatory federal deportation of legal immigrants convicted of gross misdemeanors.

The proposal is in an amendment to Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum’s bill:[HB 2355] to discourage racial profiling.

The change would reduce the maximum sentence for a Class A misdemeanor from 365 days to 364 days. A 365-day sentence is one of several triggers for mandatory federal deportation of green card holders, refugees and other legal noncitizens. Other triggers are violent crimes and felonies, said Stephen Manning, a Portland immigration attorney.

The change would have no effect on illegal immigrants.

“This is an equity issue,” said state House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland. “People should not be torn from their families and their communities because of an arbitrary difference between state and federal sentencing law for low-level, nonviolent misdemeanors.”

If adopted, the law would make Oregon uniform with Washington state and California, which already made the change in the last several years.

It would serve to strengthen the three states’ governors’ efforts to create “a zone of inclusivity” along the West Coast, Manning said.

Gov. Kate Brown has been defiant in the face of President Donald Trump’s executive orders limiting immigration and banning refugees, which also have been halted by the courts.

In February, Brown issued her own executive order barring the use of state resources to enforce federal immigration policy. Rosenblum subsequently sought to join Washington’s lawsuit against the Trump administration’s immigration orders.

“Gov. Brown supports the amendment and looks forward to signing the racial profiling bill into law to better protect all Oregonians,” said Bryan Hockaday, the governor’s press secretary.

Kotek requested the sentencing change to be added to an amendment to a bill that requires police to collect data on race when they pull over drivers or pedestrians. The bill is meant to discourage racial profiling by law enforcement.

Kotek made the request after receiving feedback from community groups, law enforcement, immigration attorneys and others working on the racial profiling bill, said Lindsey O’Brien, a spokeswoman in the Speaker’s Office.

Felonies, certain violent crimes and 365-day or greater sentences for gross misdemeanors can trigger mandatory deportation under federal law. Class A misdemeanors in Oregon can range from falsifying information and writing a bad check to fourth-degree assault.

“Shifting to 364 days means our fellow Oregonians are not subject to that very drastic penalty,” Manning said.

As an immigration attorney, Manning said he sees legal immigrants deported for misdemeanor crimes all of the time.

“I couldn’t even count for you how many times,” he said. “It’s extremely painful and sad … and is a form of stigmatization against noncitizens.”

The House Judiciary Committee adopted the amendment and approved the overarching bill in March. No one addressed the significance of the sentencing change at that time.

Reps. Sal Esquivel of Medford, and Mike Nearman of Independence said they oppose the change because they see it as an attempt to circumvent federal law.

“To me that is a way to dodge the federal law,” said Esquivel, who is the son of a legal Mexican immigrant. “You’re on probation when you come here on a green card.”

The two Republican lawmakers co-sponsored legislation this session to outlaw sanctuary city designations and to make English the state’s official language.

Several Oregon cities, including Portland, have declared themselves sanctuary cities for immigrants, and the Trump administration has threatened to pull federal grants and other funding from those jurisdictions.

The bill is now before the Joint Committee on Ways and Means but won’t have another hearing until May, said Rep. Duane Stark, R-Grants Pass, chairman of the Subcommittee on Public Safety.

The Capital Bureau is a collaboration between EO Media Group and Pamplin Media Group.
 

Advocates for illegal aliens and their tactics

 
Two bills before the Oregon Legislature in March 2017 illustrate the tactics of illegal alien advocates in using children to institutionalize acceptance of illegal immigration.  Their position is that anyone who opposes health care to children is mean and unfeeling.
 
The bills are HB 2726 and SB 558, with identical text.  They entitle “all children” in Oregon to state-paid health care.  We already have Medicaid and the Oregon Health Plan that cover indigent citizens and their children, so why add another plan?
 
Almost all of the statements submitted by interested parties at the Legislature’s hearings carefully avoid mention of the illegal status of the proposed recipients; they simply cite a figure of some 17,000 children estimated not to have regular access to medical care.
 
Who is pushing these bills? Both of the bills were pre-Session filed, meaning that they were probably filed at the request of someone or some organization, besides the sponsors named in the bill.  Named sponsors are: for HB 2726, Reps. Gilliam, Huffman, Monnes Anderson, Alonso Leon, Marsh and Senators Roblan and Boquist.  For SB 558, legislative sponsors are Senators Roblan, Kruse, and Boquist, Reps. Huffman, Alonso Leon, and Olson.
 
Public hearings were held early in the session, one immediately after the other; the House hearing first on Feb. 20 and the Senate next on Feb. 21.  This could be viewed as fast-tracking by the Legislative leadership to push through quickly a bill they expect would face public opposition if fully known and understood.
 
While the bill had little public notice, its advocates had advance, unlimited opportunity to prepare and present their testimony.  The result was predictable:  At the House hearing, some 43 supportive “exhibits” were presented but only one short statement from a private citizen that politely questioned the expenditure in light of the state’s financial situation.  At the Senate hearing, there was also a large number of supportive statements and no opposing statements.
 
At both hearings, most supporters of the bills were well-practiced lobbyists from organizations many of which are known for regularly speaking in favor of unlimited immigration and citizenship privileges for anyone who chooses to come into the U.S. and settle here, without regard to the wishes of, or effects on, citizens.
 
These organizations had representatives who submitted supportive statements to the House Health Care Committee for its hearing on HB 2726 on Feb. 20:
 
AFL-CIO Political Director
AFSCME Council 75
American Federation of Teachers Oregon
Asian Pacific-American Network of Oregon
Basic Rights Oregon
Cascade AIDS Project
CAUSA Oregon
Children First for Oregon
Coalition for a Healthy Oregon
Coalition of Communities of Color
Coalition of Community Health Clinics
Fair Shot for All Coalition
Family Forward Oregon
Health Share of Oregon
Human Services Coalition of Oregon
Keny-Guyer, Rep. Alissa, representing Rep. Vic Gilliam
League of Women Voters of Oregon
Legacy Health (a health care provider)
Moda Health 
Multnomah County Office of Government Relations
Northwest Health Foundation
Northwest Human Services
Northwest Workers’ Justice Project
Oregon Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs
Oregon Commission on Hispanic Affairs
Oregon Community Health Workers  
Oregon Education Association
Oregon Health Equity Alliance
Oregon Latino Health Coalition
Oregon Law Center
Oregon Nurses Association
Oregon Primary Care Association
Oregon Public Health Institute
Oregon School-Based Health Alliance
Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon
Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste, Oregon’s Farmworker Union
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon
Portland Jobs with Justice
Portland State University, student
Service Employees International Union, Oregon State Council
United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 555
United Oregon
YWCA of Greater Portland
 
Many of the same organizations listed above again presented “exhibits” at the next day’s hearing by the Senate on SB 558.  Also, these organizations which did not make statements for the House hearing, did so for the Senate hearing. 
 
Coalition of Local Health Officials
Oregon Center for Public Policy
Siskiyou Community Health Center
Valley Family Health Care
Wallace Medical Center
 
 
The medical groups can hardly be blamed for seeking public funds to help their work because they’re daily confronted with far greater numbers of people needing medical care than would be here if immigration were controlled as it should be.
 
The answer to this medical care problem as well as the answer to the chaos now surging in the nation is to reduce immigration levels to sustainable numbers.  We are in dire need of a moratorium on immigration for an extended period because for several decades now, the levels have been far too high, overwhelming the country’s capacity to provide an acceptable quality of life for citizens. Our natural environment is dangerously degraded because of overpopulation, and at the same time, all social services are faltering from too-high demand.
 
Citizens who understand immigration issues and work for strict immigration law enforcement or reductions in immigration are often labeled haters and all-around bad guys.  It is fair to call out opponents of immigration controls, point out the fallacies of their arguments and question their motives as well. 
 
Politicians and political groups advocating for amnesties and benefits to illegal aliens consistently oppose efforts to pass mandatory E-Verify requirements for all employers, a step that would soon effectively stop illegal immigration.  Opponents claim the federal E-Verify program is not ready or is too prone to errors that hurt workers.  Such claims have no merit, as the program is not new, having been started in 1997 and now with some 20 years of successful operation.  
 
The basic dividing question is:  Should the U.S. continue to be a nation or should we have open borders and admit any and all persons who may wish to live here?  Sensible people realize the dangers of open borders, and most prefer to continue as a nation.  European countries are showing vividly what happens when there are inadequate limits to immigration.
 
Too many citizens are naïve and quick to sympathize when media highlight illegal immigrants as blameless and forced to live “in the shadows.”  Immigration laws exist to protect the safety and well-being of citizens, and if these laws are not respected and enforced, the U.S. will swiftly be subsumed by the millions around the world who would like to live here.
 
Aspiring immigrants should work to improve their own countries instead of fleeing them.  The U.S. has given generous financial aid and technical assistance to poor countries continuously for over 70 years; it’s time for them to help themselves now.
 
News reports:
 

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