Testimony on HB 2787, Feb. 13, 2013, by E. Van Staaveren



by Elizabeth Van Staaveren, McMinnville OR

Chair Dembrow, Members of the Committee:

I oppose HB 2787 for many reasons.

First of all, I think legislators should be looking for ways to reduce illegal immigration, rather than rewarding and encouraging it.  Immigration control is not solely a federal responsibility.  There are many things states can do to help the federal government enforce immigration laws.  I am including paragraphs on that subject at the end of my testimony.

Citizens are having a very hard time now, and legislators’ responsibility is to them, not to the citizens of other countries.  Legislators should be working to pass mandatory E-Verify, which could help citizens enormously.  The E-Verify program is accurate and ready for expansion.  There are no truly valid reasons to oppose it.  Those who do, we can assume, want illegal immigration to continue.

Some legislators claim that giving in-state tuition won’t cost anybody anything.  The university officials who stated that the cost of giving in-state tuition to illegal aliens actually brings an increase to the university’s funds are unbelievable.  Tuition costs at state colleges are subsidized by taxpayers, and the size of the student body is closely linked to the overall cost of maintaining a college. 

The costs of maintaining colleges and educating citizen students will be much greater if large numbers of illegal aliens are given in-state tuition.  Nobody knows how many will apply. The bill does not mention any numerical limits, and there is no ending date.  Citizen students could easily lose places in college if in competition with illegal aliens and that is extremely unjust, no matter what the circumstances of the illegal alien are.  Citizenship and the rule of law must mean something, or our country is in deep trouble. 

Legislators, please think of all the unemployed and underemployed citizens, many of whom have been out of work for long periods, are hungry and sleeping in parks and on the streets.  This is mostly because they can’t get jobs; illegal aliens are preferred because they can be paid under the table and at lower wages than would apply if our immigration laws were honestly enforced.  Illegal labor has taken over the construction industry, many hotel and restaurant jobs, and illegal aliens are found in professional occupations also.

It is the illegal alien parents of illegal students who are to blame for their illegal alien children’s situation.  The whole family including parents and children should be deported.  They will not need to “live in the shadows” there, and the children, educated at U.S. citizens’ expense, can contribute their knowledge and talents to the country where they are legally entitled to live.



by Elizabeth Van Staaveren

It's unreasonable to say or imply that only the federal government can deal with immigration issues, as some Oregon legislators have claimed.  Many states have already passed effective laws that reduce illegal immigration within the state. 

Instead of spending time devising benefits for illegal aliens, Oregon legislators could and should do much more to discourage illegal immigration.  Benefits to illegal aliens such as in-state tuition and driving privileges legitimize illegal immigration and entice more of it.  This is very harmful to citizens who must compete with illegal aliens for education and jobs at a time of widespread unemployment.  Also our country is overcrowded already, and the message to the world that we do not enforce our immigration laws will quickly overwhelm this nation.

A plethora of state action against illegal immigration is possible.  Rep. Kim Thatcher (House District 25, Salem) is a member of the national group, State Legislators for Legal Immigration (http://www.statelegislatorsforlegalimmigration.com/), formed in 2007, now including members in 41 states.  Their mission statement:  “to provide a network of state legislators who are committed to working together in demanding full cooperation among our federal, state and local governments in eliminating all economic attractions and incentives (including, but not limited to: public benefits, welfare, education and employment opportunities) for illegal aliens, as well as securing our borders against unlawful invasion.”

In 2009, Rep. Thatcher introduced a number of bills in the Legislature dealing with immigration, none of which moved forward because of the lack of support from other legislators, in particular the Democratic Party leadership.  Rep. Thatcher's news release of 3/19/09 listed her proposed bills.  The number and range of the bills show how much a motivated legislature could do to stop illegal immigration. 

ORS 181.850 now actually hinders and restricts cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration agents.  The Legislature should untie the hands of local police and allow them unimpeded cooperation.  Mr. David Cross has devoted many hours to tracking crimes by illegal aliens.  His monthly reports on criminal aliens in the Oregon State prison system give shocking statistics on the large numbers of foreign nationals convicted of serious crimes who have ICE holds placed on them, meaning they will be turned over the immigration authorities at the ends of their sentences.   Mr. Cross also reports on the hundreds of criminal aliens incarcerated in town and county jails as well as in the state prisons. 

The National Conference of State Legislatures, in the Issues & Research section of its website, has a section on immigration, including semi-annual reports on state laws related to immigrants and immigration.  The report for Jan. 1-June 30, 2012 is at http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/immig/2012-immigration-related-laws-and-resolutions.aspx.  It shows that many states are passing laws to help control illegal immigration.

The website of the Immigration Reform Law Institute (http://www.irli.org/index.html) has a section on State Cooperative Enforcement. Throughout the site there are references to various state actions related to immigration enforcement.  IRLI is affiliated with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

More references on state laws related to immigration:

States can address the negative impacts of illegal immigration using tools they already have, by Ronald W. Mortensen.  Center for Immigration Studies, July 5, 2012.  http://cis.org/mortensen/states-can-address-negative-impacts-illegal-immigration-using-tools-they-already-have

Immigration isn’t just a federal matter; [interview with Kris Kobach on state vs. federal authority in immigration matters] by Terry Baynes, Thomson Reuters News and Insight, April 16, 2012.  http://newsandinsight.thomsonreuters.com/Legal/News/2012/04_-_April/Kris_Kobach__Immigration_isn_t_just_a_federal_matter/

An overview of E-Verify policies at the state level, by Jon Feere, Center for Immigration Studies, July 2012.    http://www.cis.org/e-verify-at-the-state-level

Controlling illegal immigration; state and local governments must do more, by Matt A. Mayer, August 24, 2009.   29 p.    (Heritage Foundation Special Report)    http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2009/08/controlling-illegal-immigration-state-and-local-governments-must-do-more

Congressional Research Service.  Authority of state and local police to enforce federal immigration law, by Michael John Garcia and Kate M. Manuel, September 10, 2012    (CRS report for Congress 7-5700, R41423)   198059.pdf

Federation for American Immigration Reform.   Legislation in the States.