Lawmakers should curb illegal immigration

Letter date: 
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Letter publisher: 
Lake Oswego - O Review
Letter author: 
Jim Luwick
Letter body: 

With all the talk about amnesties, in-state tuition and driver licenses for illegal aliens, we should take a “comprehensive” look at immigration today before we leap to “comprehensive immigration reform” in Oregon.

This is not 1800 or even 1900 any longer. The United States is taking in a million or more legal immigrants annually while our national economy is fragile, the government deeply indebted and over 20 million citizens are unemployed or underemployed, many of them for protracted periods of time. Illegal immigration has been a serious problem for many years.

Benefits to illegal aliens are very expensive and come from taxpayers’ funds. Most citizens have no idea of the extent to which illegal immigration is subsidized by taxpayers. A study released last month by the Federation for American Immigration documents the shocking fiscal effects of illegal immigration on Oregon taxpayers. The figures in this report come from a broad survey of government statistics and are indisputable.

FAIR estimates that illegal immigration costs taxpayers in Oregon about $1 billion annually. The average Oregon household headed by a U.S. citizen bears an annual burden of more than $700 to cover the costs associated with illegal aliens in the state — this while the governor and legislators are supposedly looking for ways to cut unnecessary spending.

The cost of providing K-12 education to the children of illegal aliens (including students who are themselves illegal and the U.S.-born children of illegal aliens) amounts to $575 million annually. Additionally, the cost of supplemental English language instruction is $159 million a year. Unreimbursed health care and social assistance programs cost Oregonians $92 million a year. Justice and law enforcement costs associated with illegal aliens add $140 million to the state’s tab. The cost of general public services provided to Oregon’s 170,000 illegal aliens and their U.S.-born children adds $79 million a year to the state’s costs

Accommodations to illegal aliens such as driver licenses, in-state tuition, etc. legitimize illegal immigration and encourage more of it. State legislators have the means to discourage illegal immigration and should act to do that. The most effective step would be to mandate the use of E-Verify by all employers, removing the magnet of jobs which draws most illegal aliens.

Tolerance of illegal immigration forces citizens to compete with illegal aliens, causing wage depression and unemployment. It also cheapens the value of citizenship and brings disrespect for the rule of law which is the foundation of a civilized society.

In the upcoming session of the Oregon Legislature, members should focus on ways to discourage illegal immigration, not accommodate it. It’s the duty of legislators to attend to the public interest and the needs of citizens, not to dole out favors for illegal aliens.

Jim Ludwick, of McMinnville, is a founder of Oregonians for Immigration Reform and currently serves on the OFIR Board. Reach him at