voter registration

Supreme Court: Arizona law requiring citizenship proof for voters is illegal

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that states cannot require would-be voters to prove they are U.S. citizens before using a federal registration system designed to make signing up easier.

The justices voted 7-2 to throw out Arizona's voter-approved requirement that prospective voters document their U.S. citizenship in order to use a registration form produced under the federal "Motor Voter" voter registration law.

Federal law "precludes Arizona from requiring a federal form applicant to submit information beyond that required by the form itself," Justice Antonia Scalia wrote for the court's majority.

The court was considering the legality of Arizona's requirement that prospective voters document their U.S. citizenship in order to use a registration form produced under the federal "motor voter" registration law. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which doesn't require such documentation, trumps Arizona's Proposition 200 passed in 2004.

Arizona appealed that decision to the Supreme Court.

The case focuses on Arizona, which has tangled frequently with the federal government over immigration issues involving the Mexican border. But it has broader implications because four other states -- Alabama, Georgia, Kansas and Tennessee -- have similar requirements, and 12 other states are contemplating such legislation.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented from the court's ruling.

The Constitution "authorizes states to determine the qualifications of voters in federal elections, which necessarily includes the related power to determine whether those qualifications are satisfied," Thomas said in his dissent.

Opponents of Arizona's law see it as an attack on vulnerable voter groups such as minorities, immigrants and the elderly. They say they've counted more than 31,000 potentially legal voters in Arizona who easily could have registered before Proposition 200 but were blocked initially by the law in the 20 months after it passed in 2004. They say about 20 percent of those thwarted were Latino.

But Arizona officials say they should be able to pass laws to stop illegal immigrants and other noncitizens from getting on their voting rolls. The Arizona voting law was part of a package that also denied some government benefits to illegal immigrants and required Arizonans to show identification before voting.

The federal "motor voter" law, enacted in 1993 to expand voter registration, requires states to offer voter registration when a resident applies for a driver's license or certain benefits. Another provision of that law -- the one at issue before the court -- requires states to allow would-be voters to fill out mail-in registration cards and swear they are citizens under penalty of perjury, but it doesn't require them to show proof. Under Proposition 200, Arizona officials require an Arizona driver's license issued after 1996, a U.S. birth certificate, a passport or other similar document, or the state will reject the federal registration application form.

Arizona can ask the federal government to include the extra documents as a state-specific requirement, Scalia said, and take any decision made by the government on that request back to court.
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Missing the boat

Oregon Republicans seem to have missed a key lesson of the 2012 election, and are embarking on a symbolic campaign that will succeed only in further alienating Latino voters.

When Republicans fared worse than expected at the polls last November here and nationally, some soul-searching rhetoric from within the party suggested the GOP needed to reach out more effectively to Latino voters who rejected their message. A bipartisan immigration reform effort is still working its way through Congress despite vocal opposition from some in the GOP.

A key element of that reform bill would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already in this country.

Oregon Republicans, meanwhile, continue to oppose measures designed to allow those immigrants to better contribute to the state's economy. GOP lawmakers opposed two such bills that ultimately passed the Legislature and will become law.

One permits the children of parents who brought them here illegally to pay in-state tuition at public universities as long as they live in Oregon and graduated from high school here. The other will allow undocumented residents to obtain a permit to drive legally in Oregon.

After the driving permit bill passed and Gov. John Kitzhaber signed it, Republican Reps. Sal Esquivel of Medford and Kim Thatcher of Keizer launched a referendum to overturn the law — despite the fact that the state's 14 GOP senators split evenly on the bill on final passage.

If the two, aided by the group Oregonians for Immigration Reform, can gather more than 58,000 signatures from registered voters within 90 days of the Legislature's adjournment, the referendum will appear on the November 2014 ballot. The new law, scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, would be put on hold until after the vote.

Supporters of the new driving permit law argue it will make the state's roads safer by encouraging undocumented residents to purchase insurance and have their driving skills tested. Opponents say residents who came here illegally should not be rewarded with driving privileges.

Despite the bipartisan support for the bill in the Legislature, the Oregon Republican Party has endorsed the referendum campaign, warning of voter fraud and "subversive terrorist acts," in the words of GOP Chairwoman Suzanne Gallagher — although the driving permits may not be used to vote, board a plane or purchase a firearm.

We're not convinced the driving law will do what its backers say it will, but it's unlikely to do any real damage — except to the image of the state's Republicans among Latino voters.

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Who's REALLY in charge?

A recent letter sent to Causa supporters:

On behalf of all of us here at Causa Oregon, we want to thank you for all your work and support. While there are still some big fights to win this year, we have accomplished so much in the first three months of 2013.

With your help, we have forged new alliances with our sisters and brothers in the LGBT, labor, faith, business and education communities. Together, we've harnessed the political power to pass the ten-year-long struggle for tuition equity in Oregon and gained national recognition for our collaborative work in registering new Americans to vote. And, just this week it was announced that Causa, the Act Network and our allies were successful in forcing the Multnomah County Sheriff to end his policy of detaining undocumented immigrants for low-level crimes and non-violent misdemeanors.

It's only three months in to 2013 and together we're already making historyThank you for being a tireless ally in our mission to promote the rights of Latinos and immigrants in Oregon. Together, we are ensuring a healthy, vibrant American democracy.

In Solidarity,

Francisco Lopez
Executive Director

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I would like to take a moment to address the "successes" listed in the letter:

1.) Causa appears to be a group whose mission is to cause the ruling bodies of our state to CAVE IN to their demands.

2.) Causa appears to be a group that, by hooking up with legitimate minorities with issues, they hope that the public won't notice that they are advocating for the RIGHTS(?) of those in our country illegally. 

3.) Illegal aliens perpetrate crimes in far greater numbers than their 'legal' peers.  Yet, they seem to feel they shouldn't be in jail and that they deserve special treatment from the Multnomah County Sheriff....and he obliged their demand.

4.) The last line was the worst:  Thank you for being a tireless ally in our mission to promote the rights of Latinos and immigrants in Oregon. Together, we are ensuring a healthy, vibrant American democracy.

First of all, Latino's and legal immigrants have rights.  Do Latino's have special rights?  Causa simply chooses to drop the word ILLEGAL from their immigrant vocabulary and hopes that no one will notice.  After all, who doesn't want to help an 'immigrant'?  And, to make matters worse, claiming they are ensuring a healthy, vibrant American democracy is just a LIE!  Here in Oregon, the cost of services to illegal aliens tipped the BILLION dollar mark.

Since when do any of us get to pick and choose which laws we obey and which laws we ignore?  People who come here illegally are breaking immigration laws.   If they work, they are breaking labor laws. If they steal, buy, or borrow a social security number, they are committing identity theft. But, shhhh...don't say anything about that....that's not nice.  They are bringing the culture of corruption from their homeland, right to our front door.

But, all that aside, the thing that bothers me the most, are the lawmakers that are bending over backwards to work with groups like Causa.  That's the most disappointing of all!  Elections are a great opportunity to clear the decks! Read more about Who's REALLY in charge?

71% Favor Proof of Citizenship Before Allowing Voter Registration

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Monday on the federal government’s challenge of an Arizona law that requires proof of citizenship before allowing someone to register to vote. But most voters think everyone should have to prove their citizenship before being allowed to sign up for voting and don’t believe such a requirement is discriminatory.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 71% of Likely U.S. Voters believe everyone should be required to prove his or her U.S. citizenship before being allowed to register to vote. Twenty-one percent (21%) disagree and oppose such a requirement. (To see survey question wording, click here.) Read more about 71% Favor Proof of Citizenship Before Allowing Voter Registration

Senators aim to reach bipartisan immigration deal next week

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Eight senators aim to cap months of talks next week with a comprehensive deal to overhaul the U.S. immigration system, a member of the bipartisan group said on Thursday.

Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, a longtime reform advocate, said once the agreement is done, aides will draw up legislation that could be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee in April.

"That's our goal," Menendez told Reuters. "We hope to agree on all of the major issues, hopefully, by the end of next week. But it could slip a bit," he said, perhaps by a couple of days or so.

"I'm not rigid about anything other than getting it right," Menendez said.

The timetable Menendez spelled out mirrored one that the group suggested earlier this year. It said it aimed to have a bill in March and a vote by the full Democratic-led Senate in June or July.

The eight senators - four Democrats and four Republicans - announced a "framework for comprehensive immigration reform" in January and have been working to flesh it out.

There are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, many of them living in the shadows while seeking work and trying to avoid detection.

The eight senators have tried to draft a plan that would include a pathway toward U.S. citizenship for undocumented immigrants while strengthening border security.

They also want to create a more effective system to guard against U.S. employers hiring undocumented immigrants, and develop a program to better forecast and meet future U.S. workforce needs in a bid to curb illegal immigration.

The eight senators came together shortly after the November 2012 election results reflected the growing power of Hispanic voters and their pleas for immigration reform.

"There have been hard and tough negotiations, but it has been done all in the spirit of achieving the goal, in which compromise has been made on both sides," Menendez said.

The senators have worked with the encouragement of the White House and reached out to members of the Republican-led House of Representatives.

This week Obama met separately with Republican and Democratic lawmakers, mainly to talk about budget deficit concerns. But immigration reform also was discussed.

On Wednesday, Obama told a closed-door meeting of Senate Democrats that immigration was "'something that we can get done,'" Democratic Senator Benjamin Cardin of Maryland said.

On Thursday, Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, a member of the group of eight, said he thanked Obama for "playing a role that's behind the scenes."

Flake said the issue of future immigration to the United States is a sticking point for Democrats, and that Obama could build support for that part of the pending immigration bill.
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Investors Business Daily publishes OFIR VP article

Once again, OFIR's Vice President Rick LaMountain has written an exceptional article.  An overview of the GOP's folly of a plan to woo the Hispanic vote, 'Illegal-Alien Amnesty Gives Democrats 7 Million New Voters'  dissects and breaks down the plan with indisputable facts. Read more about Investors Business Daily publishes OFIR VP article

Is support for an illegal-alien amnesty the key to GOP salvation?

OFIR Vice President Rick LaMountain explains the folly of the GOP chasing the Hispanic vote by way of an amnesty.  Read Rick's article in Wednesday's Investor's Business Daily.


  Read more about Is support for an illegal-alien amnesty the key to GOP salvation?

Dropping out is not an alternative

Dropping out is an appealing escape route, and many good men and women have already taken that path. But true patriots will resist and overcome that temptation.

I'm certain you have all noticed how the media handles the stories of the day.  But it's our job to point out to them that we see it and don't like it.  We must insist on honest, fair and complete reporting without the media bias we have become so accustomed to.  It's shameful!

Read Tom Tancredo's excellent article and you decide if it's time to speak up.


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Why Hispanics Don’t Vote for Republicans

The call for Republicans to discard their opposition to immigration amnesty will grow deafening in the wake of President Obama’s victory. Hispanics supported Obama by a margin of nearly 75 percent to 25 percent, and may have provided important margins in some swing states. If only Republicans relented on their Neanderthal views regarding the immigration rule of law, the message will run, they would release the inner Republican waiting to emerge in the Hispanic population.

If Republicans want to change their stance on immigration, they should do so on the merits, not out of a belief that only immigration policy stands between them and a Republican Hispanic majority. It is not immigration policy that creates the strong bond between Hispanics and the Democratic party, but the core Democratic principles of a more generous safety net, strong government intervention in the economy, and progressive taxation. Hispanics will prove to be even more decisive in the victory of Governor Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30, which raised upper-income taxes and the sales tax, than in the Obama election.

And California is the wave of the future. A March 2011 poll by Moore Information found that Republican economic policies were a stronger turn-off for Hispanic voters in California than Republican positions on illegal immigration. Twenty-nine percent of Hispanic voters were suspicious of the Republican party on class-warfare grounds — “it favors only the rich”; “Republicans are selfish and out for themselves”; “Republicans don’t represent the average person”– compared with 7 percent who objected to Republican immigration stances.

I spoke last year with John Echeveste, founder of the oldest Latino marketing firm in southern California, about Hispanic politics. “What Republicans mean by ‘family values’ and what Hispanics mean are two completely different things,” he said. “We are a very compassionate people, we care about other people and understand that government has a role to play in helping people.”

And a strong reason for that support for big government is that so many Hispanics use government programs. U.S.-born Hispanic households in California use welfare programs at twice the rate of native-born non-Hispanic households. And that is because nearly one-quarter of all Hispanics are poor in California, compared to a little over one-tenth of non-Hispanics. Nearly seven in ten poor children in the state are Hispanic, and one in three Hispanic children is poor, compared to less than one in six non-Hispanic children. One can see that disparity in classrooms across the state, which are chock full of social workers and teachers’ aides trying to boost Hispanic educational performance.

The idea of the “social issues” Hispanic voter is also a mirage. A majority of Hispanics now support gay marriage, a Pew Research Center poll from last month found. The Hispanic out-of-wedlock birth rate is 53 percent, about twice that of whites.

The demographic changes set into motion by official and de facto immigration policy favoring low-skilled over high-skilled immigrants mean that a Republican party that purports to stand for small government and free markets faces an uncertain future. Read more about Why Hispanics Don’t Vote for Republicans

Driver licenses for illegal aliens create bigger problems

Governor Kitzhaber has stated, in no uncertain terms, that he wants to restore driving privileges to illegal aliens living and working in our state.  Perhaps he should take look at what Washington State is dealing with due to their "welcome mat" approach to illegal aliens.  Read more here. Read more about Driver licenses for illegal aliens create bigger problems

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