OFIR Alerts and Updates

Welcome to the "what's hot" news and alerts section.  This section includes important OFIR action alerts and informational updates that have been sent out in the recent past, as well as hot news items.

2019-12-13

The vote in the House of Representatives on Dec. 12 on H.B. 5038, Farm Workforce Modernization Act, was:  Ayes, 260; Nays, 160.   As you might expect all of Oregon’s House members voted in favor of rewarding law breakers.  Let’s hope President Trump will veto the bill if it makes it to his desk.

“Farm Workforce Modernization Act” would do George Orwell proud.  To return to stoop labor workers instead of mechanization is the anthesis of “modernization.”   To reward law breakers at the expense of farmers who obey laws is a slap in the face to the farmers who obey labor laws.

As Roy Beck of NumbersUSA reported: “226 Democrats took the side of law-breaking agri-business employers and their illegal workers against the legal workers in the ag industry.  Joining them in supporting the amnesty for employers who have massively broken immigration laws for years were 34 Republicans voting YES. …”

All 5 of Oregon’s Representatives voted to pass this betrayal of U.S. workers, increasing profits for employers by depressing workers’ wages and taking job opportunities away from citizens.  Standing up for U.S. citizen workers were 151 Republicans, 3 Democrats and one Independent.  You can see the record of the vote, showing how each member voted, here.

Hopefully the bill can be stopped in the Senate.  H.R. 5038 authorizes a major amnesty that will have far-reaching, harmful results for our country, now and in the future.  This article gives a vivid picture: 

FARMING LIKE IT’S 1699; It’s cheaper to invest in congressmen than in automation, by Mark Krikorian, in The National Review Dec. 10, 2019.    [Mr. Krikorian is a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues.  He has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.]

Excerpt:

The House is expected to vote Wednesday on the hilariously misnamed Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which would “modernize” agricultural labor right back to the 17th century.

At the core of the bill are several indentured-labor schemes intended to tie current illegal aliens and future “temporary” workers to farm jobs for four to ten years before giving them green cards. The reason for the indenture system is that farmers know from experience that once the illegal aliens or visa workers get green cards, almost all will flee the medieval labor system that prevails in much of fresh fruit and vegetable agriculture.

Fact sheets on the bill are here and here. It provides immediate amnesty to illegal aliens (and their dependents) who have (or claim to have) worked at least part time in agriculture over the past two years. The number of beneficiaries is estimated to be at least 1.5 million. . . .

See the complete article here.

2019-12-08

H.R. 5038 is called the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019.  It’s a massive amnesty bill disguised as “modernization.”  It should be called the Ag Amnesty and Indentured Servitude Act.  Or just the "Ag Amnesty bill".  It’s on a fast track in the House, scheduled for Rules Committee on Tuesday, Dec. 10, with floor vote likely Wednesday, Dec. 11.

Please call your Representative and voice your objections. In speaking to the U.S. Representative’s office, refer first to the bill number, H.R. 5038.  Phone numbers are given below.

Here are a few key facts, compiled by NumbersUSA.  They have prepared a more complete analysis here.

Amnesty -- H.R. 5038 would give amnesty--including work permits, green cards, and a path to citizenship--to illegal aliens who have been unlawfully employed in agriculture at least part time during the past two years. In fact, illegal aliens who spent just most weekends working in agriculture over two years would qualify.

H-2A Expansion -- Rather than providing incentives for mechanization to reduce the need for manual labor, or even just streamlining the existing H-2A program, the sponsors of H.R. 5038 decided that it is time to complete the hollowing out of several other industries, in addition to seasonal farm work. They kept the numerically unlimited H-2A category for seasonal work, but created a new, non-seasonal, year-round category so that at least 20,000 (and potentially many more) low-paid foreign workers can be imported each year to work at dairies, meat-packing plants, fish canneries, nurseries, and more.

Indentured Servitude -- Congress knows that giving amnesty to illegal agricultural workers will fail to produce a stable, legal workforce, because they've tried it before. Congress passed an agricultural amnesty in 1986, as part of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). But there was a catch: most of the amnestied ag workers left agriculture for better-paying jobs as soon as they got their work permits. The sponsors of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act decided to address this problem by regressing to the 17th Century practice of indenturing these newly amnestied agricultural workers for various durations, mainly four to eight years.

In its Alert on H.R. 5038, NumbersUSA says it's “important for every office's staff to know that WE THE PEOPLE know the amnesty vote is coming. And that WE THE PEOPLE probably know more about what is in the amnesty bill than their boss the Representative knows. For example, do they know this is a bill that re-establishes indentured servitude in this country.  Let's cause those staffers to start scrambling to see what is actually in this bill.”

If you have not signed up with NumbersUSA to receive its Alerts directly and to use its free messaging to Congress, we recommend that you do.  NumbersUSA staff watch Congress constantly, and the NumbersUSA website has a large fund of pertinent information.

The last thing the U.S. needs now is another massive amnesty for illegal aliens.  There have been too many amnesties already in recent decades, resulting in disrespect for immigration law and law in general. Amnesties stimulate further illegal immigration.  Oregonians face congestion already, along with widespread homelessness, expensive housing, climate crisis, drug crisis, etc. The future will be even grimmer as more and more people from other countries pour into the U.S.  See this trenchant commentary on H.R. 5038 by Bob Dane, of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.


Phone numbers for Oregon’s Representatives

You can reach the Washington office of any Representative by calling the U.S. Capitol switchboard number: 202-224-3121 (not a toll-free number). Then ask the operator to connect you with the Representative to whom you wish to speak. 

District 1 – Suzanne Bonamici – 202-225-0855

District 2 – Greg Walden 202-225-6730

District 3 - Earl Blumenauer – 202-225-4811

District 4 - Peter A. DeFazio – 202-225-6416

District 5 – Kurt Schrader – 202-225-5711

If you don't know the name of your Representative, you can find it here:  https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/FindYourLegislator/leg-districts.html

2019-11-21

NEW meeting location - The Scottish Rite Temple located at 4090 Commercial St SE, Salem, OR

Details about special guest speakers to follow after confirmation.  Please check back!

2019-10-15

NOTE: MEETING LOCATION CHANGE

OFIR's upcoming Pizza and Politics event Saturday will be Saturday, October. 26 at 2:00pm!  Oregon Republican Party Chair, Bill Currier will be our very special guest speaker and will talk about the recent initiative effort to recall Governor Kate Brown.

NEW meeting location - The Scottish Rite Temple located at 4090 Commercial St SE, Salem, OR

2019-09-25

The H-1B visa program has already displaced U.S. workers on a grand scale.  Now comes S.386, pending in the U.S. Senate, which would dramatically change our system for awarding H-1B employment green cards to further enrich businesses such as Intel, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, etc. at the expense of U.S. workers. This bill, S.386, is misleadingly named the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act.  It’s a companion bill to H.R.1044, which passed the House on July 10, with Oregon’s Congressional delegation all voting in favor of it.  Oregon’s Reps. Blumenauer and Bonamici were among the co-sponsors of H.R. 1044.  Both of Oregon’s Senators, Wyden and Merkley, are co-sponsors of S.386.

Groups of displaced U.S. workers are now organizing to fight against this injustice.  Many of them have been forced to train their foreign-worker replacements or lose any severance payments if they decline to train replacements.  Please help U.S. citizen workers by signing the White House petition.  President Trump’s office has set up a system enabling the public to initiate petitions, and any petition with enough signatures by a certain date will be reviewed by his office.  This petition (https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/petition-not-pass-bill-hr-1044-s386-fairness-high-skilled-immigrants-act-2019) has been posted asking him to oppose both bills.

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

Further Reading:  Excerpt from a report dated Sept. 18, 2019, by Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies:

This bill is anything but fair to U.S. workers, because it strengthens and perpetuates a system that is actively displacing them. It offers a major concession to employers who have bypassed U.S. workers for decades, without reforming the system to reduce guestworker admissions or prevent employers from replacing U.S. workers. This is one reason that DHS issued a statement opposing the bill when the House considered it earlier this year.

It eliminates a control known as the per-country cap, which meters issuance of green cards so that they are distributed to applicants from all countries before citizens of any one country can go above a certain number. Under this system, applicants from India now receive 20 percent of the employment green cards. Most of the applicants from India hold temporary visas (usually H-1B) as contract workers in technology occupations, and the number of green card applicants greatly exceeds the number of visas available, especially with the per-country cap. But according to USCIS, if the cap were eliminated, citizens of India would suddenly be able to claim nearly 100 percent of the employment green cards — for the next 10 years. So, applicants from all other countries would effectively be blocked for the foreseeable future. This also means that U.S. employers who want to sponsor new foreign workers for green cards from any other part of the world would no longer be able to do so.

The Indian contract workers who are waiting for the chance to apply for a green card may apply for a visa extension and are not forced to leave the United States. And they still have their jobs — unlike the Americans they replaced.

Sources tell us that an actual vote is highly unlikely; instead, a unanimous consent request from a senator is more likely, which allows them to bypass the committee process, hearings, amendments, and, most importantly, a public debate. Reportedly, even at this late hour, most offices still do not have a final version of the legislation to review.

The Senate version of the bill was co-introduced by Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had blocked it from unanimous consent because of concerns that it would reduce the admission of foreign nurses. Reportedly, Sen. Paul has recently agreed to let it come up if it includes a provision that would guarantee admission of 5,000 foreign nurses on temporary visas each year for the next 10 years. This will please U.S. hospitals, which generally prefer to import nurses from abroad rather than expand the number of slots for Americans to enter domestic nursing schools to fill the need. Since when is nursing a job Americans won't do?

The best solution to this issue is not to scrap the per country cap, or to increase the number of green cards, as some have argued, but to enact a merit-based system for awarding employment green cards that rewards the most qualified, talented, and likely to succeed, regardless of their country of origin.

2019-08-21

Thi year, OFIR will be hosting a very special guest in our booth at the Oregon Sate Fair. 

Maria Espinoza, co-founder of The Remembrance Project will be travelling from Washington DC to volunteer in the OFIR booth!  If you will be visitng the Oregon State Fair Monday or Tuesday morning (Aug. 25 and 27) from 10am - 2pm, please plan to stop by and say hello!  You will find the OFIR booth in the Jackman Long building - booth #235.

To learn more about The Remembrance Project, please visit their website.

We'll see you at the Fair!

2019-08-16

It's that time of year! The Oregon State Fair will be opening Friday, August 23 and will run through Monday, Labor Day, Sept. 2.

OFIR will be hosting a booth at the State Fair inside the Jackman Long building again this year.  We do hope you will drop by and say hello!

You can find us in booth #235 inside the Jackman Long Building which is located just to the south of the Red Gate.

If you are interested in volunteering for a shift in our booth - just give us a call at 503.435.0141 or send us an email through our website at  www.oregonir.org

Hope to see you at the Oregon State Fair!

 

2019-07-07

The next OFIR membership meeting will be Saturday, August 3 from 2 - 4pm at the Best Western MIll Creek Inn - across from Costco in Salem.

Aftter a really rough Legislative session, OFIR will be anxious to hear members ideas, thoughts and concerns about how OFIR will move forward.

It's almost Oregon State Fair time (Friday, August 23 - Monday, Sept. 2) - and we need you! Please, check your calendar and plan to  volunteer for a shift or two in the OFIR booth at the fair.

Details will be provided as the date draw closer.

 

2019-06-19

HB 2015 (drivers licenses for illegal aliens) is on the edge of the cliff and we need your help to stop it! Contact your Senator and, if you are able, contact every other Senator, too.
Remind them that Oregon voters already said NO with a 66% NO vote. New Zogby polling shows that 63% of Oregonians still OPPOSE drivers licenses for illegal aliens.
Call or email today! Time is running out. 
 

2019-06-06

This is it, folks!

In 2014, Oregon voters said NO to driver licenses to anyone without proof of legal presence. But, the party in charge at the Oregon Legislature is so arrogant they are willfully working to overthrow the will of the people.

HB 2015 will have a work session Monday, June 10 at 1:00pm. Your calls, emails, tweets and Facebook posts are critical to shine a light on this bill. We can stop this - with YOUR help. Have you seen our billboards across the state? Take a photo and post on your social media page.

All the information you need is located here.

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