Letters and Op-Eds

Welcome to the OFIR Letters and Op-Eds section.  Here you can read Letters to the Editor and Op-Eds that have been published in various newspapers and news sources.

David Olen Cross
East Oregonian
January 31, 2017

One of the negative impacts of having a significant foreign national population residing in the United States, be they legally or illegally present in the country, continues to be crime.

The scope and impact of foreign national crime on the U.S. citizens and residents of this country continues to go almost unreported by mainstream news sources online, on television or in hard-copy newspapers.

Information on foreign national crime is readily available to any mainstream news source that has the ability to do a simple search on the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons inmates statistics website under the heading of inmate citizenship.

A search of the bureau website reveals the number and percentage of criminal aliens in federal prisons on Dec. 24, 2016.

There were 41,216 criminal alien inmates in the prison system. Alien inmates were 21.8 percent of the federal prison population; more than two in every ten prisoners were criminal aliens.

With 27,085 Mexican nationals being incarcerated in the prison system, they were the vast majority of criminal aliens in federal prisons.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons breaks down the federal prison population into 13 types of offenses.

One of the top five offenses, the reason inmates were incarcerated in federal prisons, was for immigration crimes. There were 15,073 inmates in the BOP prison system incarcerated for immigration crimes; they were 8.5 percent of the federal prison population.

The mainstream media’s ongoing failure to exercise its due diligence in reporting on foreign national crime means that elected and non-elected governmental officials responsible for law enforcement at a national, state and local level will not be held accountable in enforcing laws written to protect U.S. citizens and residents from criminal aliens that have and continue to invade our country.

Cynthia Kendoll
Statesman Journal
January 31, 2017

“Your fight will be my fight,” U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden told a crowd demonstrating for illegal immigrants’ “rights” at the state Capitol last month.

If it is, however, that fight will be against the very constituents he was elected to serve.

The reason: Just over two years ago, in the November 2014 general election, those constituents rejected illegal-immigrant driver cards by a whopping 66 percent to 34 percent margin. In doing so, voters made clear their opposition to policies that reward and encourage illegal immigration.

If Wyden really wishes to wage a fight, it should be to advance Measure 88 voter mandate. The way for him to start is by supporting President Trump as he works to secure our porous borders, punish illegal-immigrant “sanctuary cities” and remove illegal immigrants from the jobs they are taking by the millions from young and lower-skilled Americans.

The Register Guard
January 31, 2017

I was pleasantly surprised to see, in a Register-Guard editorial, recognition of the unmistakable “hell no” message Oregonians sent via Measure 88 in November 2014 (“Delivering on immigration,” Jan. 30)

With their 2-to-1 trouncing of the Oregon Legislature’s ill-conceived plan to grant driver cards to illegal immigrants, voters in this deep blue state made a powerful statement. It was part of a national undercurrent lost on the Democratic Party and exemplifies why Donald Trump now resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

The left generally does not distinguish between legal and illegal immigration. Most Americans are fine with the former, but want the latter stopped. Most Americans do not want tens of thousands of “refugees” from countries that hate us flooding into our nation. President Trump is doing what he promised to do during his campaign, and what he promised to do is what got him elected.

As liberals nationwide throw hissy fits and temper tantrums, riot in the streets, vandalize property, burn cars, threaten police officers and denounce Trump supporters in the vilest terms, the rest of America is watching — and thinking about congressional races in two years.

Time will tell if the Trump presidency will be “great” or if it will be the unparalleled disaster the left insists it will be. But if liberals want to retake Congress and the White House, they’d better stop the tantrums and riots and start listening to the heartland.

Cynthia Kendoll
January 28, 2017

"Your fight will be my fight," U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden told a crowd demonstrating for illegal immigrants' "rights" at the state Capitol earlier this month. If it is, that fight will be against the very constituents he was elected to serve.

Just over two years ago, in the November 2014 general election, those constituents rejected illegal-immigrant driver cards by a whopping 66 percent to 34 percent margin. In doing so, voters made clear their opposition to policies that reward and encourage illegal immigration.

If Wyden really wishes to wage a fight, it should be to advance that voter mandate. The way for him to start is by supporting President Trump as he works to secure our porous borders, punish illegal-immigrant "sanctuary cities," and remove illegal immigrants from the jobs they are taking by the millions from young and lower-skilled Americans.

Stephen D. Carlile
Statesman Journal
January 27, 2017

State, city and county officials all over the country have been loudly proclaiming they will defy Trump and federal law and will continue to provide safe havens for criminal aliens.

It’s a no-brainer that they did this when Obama was president — he also violated immigration law. Now, however, a new sheriff is in town, and the Trump DOJ will now follow the law and begin prosecuting those officials who think they can select which laws they obey.

I’m anxious to see how many public officials are as brave when they are prosecuted for violation of 8 USC 1324 which, in essence, proscribes that anyone who invites, encourages, harbors, etc. an illegal alien is subject to a myriad of punishments: from five years in prison to life in prison if a death is involved (such as Kate Steinle).

I think, however, what really puzzles me the most is how any voter would knowingly elect a public official who invites and harbors criminal aliens into their city and state when these officials have been unable to protect their residents from crimes committed by American citizens. Don’t we have enough crime without harboring alien criminals as well?

Richard F. LaMountain
January 19, 2017

Sanctuary jurisdictions undermine federal immigration law, shield criminals from justice, and threaten the U.S. citizens they are sworn to serve.

Last week, pursuant to advice offered by a recent Times editorial ("Beaverton may seek designation as Sanctuary City," Dec. 15), Beaverton's elected council declared the city a sanctuary for illegal immigrants.

This was a mistake. Sanctuary jurisdictions undermine federal immigration law, shield criminals from justice, and threaten the U.S. citizens they are sworn to serve. Beaverton's more responsible action would have been to lobby state legislators to repeal Oregon's statewide sanctuary law, Oregon Revised Statute 181A.820.

The central passage of the law, approved by Oregon lawmakers in 1987, is this: "No law enforcement agency of the State of Oregon or of any political subdivision of the state shall use agency moneys, equipment or personnel for the purpose of detecting or apprehending persons whose only violation of law is that they are persons of foreign citizenship present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws." (Emphasis added.) For Beaverton to declare itself an illegal-immigrant sanctuary, then, is at best symbolic — Oregon already has made sanctuaries of all its cities. Still, Beaverton should have rejected that symbolism and asserted the opposite: that enforcement of U.S. immigration law is not extrinsic, but central, to the duties of state and local law enforcement.

The reason: Illegal immigrants can and do harm the people to whom states and municipalities owe their foremost responsibility: American citizens. Here's, let's consider how sanctuary policies increase the risk of that harm.

The Times' editorial cited a California study purporting to prove that foreign-born residents, and by extension illegal immigrants, are less prone to crime than are Americans. But broader national analyses show otherwise. A recent Federation for American Immigration Reform study of foreign nationals incarcerated by states and localities "found that their share of the prison population was 50 percent higher than the prison share of natives." In 2015, Fox News investigators surveyed statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Sentencing Commission, federal Bureau of Justice Statistics and other sources and discovered that illegal immigrants — whom they estimated at 3.5 percent of the population — accounted for "13.6 percent of all offenders sentenced for crimes committed in the U.S." including "20 percent of kidnapping sentences and 16 percent of drug trafficking sentences." Worst of all: "Illegal immigrants are three times as likely to be convicted of murder as members of the general population."

David Olen Cross, a Salem-based expert on illegal-immigrant crime in Oregon, reported that late last year, "there were 964 foreign nationals... incarcerated in the state's prison system (who comprised) 6.54 percent of the total prison population." Of those, 748 — more than three-quarters — were in for homicide, assault, robbery, kidnapping, rape, sodomy and sex abuse.

More, illegal immigrants "routinely commit crimes related to their illegal status," public-policy analyst Marti Dinerstein has written, including "fraudulently obtaining U.S. birth certificates, Social Security numbers and driver's licenses." Though non-violent, crimes like these — as anyone who has suffered identity theft can attest — wreak havoc on innocent Americans.

Despite all this, reporter Stephen Dinan wrote early this month in The Washington Times, in fiscal year 2016 almost 300 sanctuary municipalities across America "released more than 2,000 illegal immigrants back onto the streets rather than turn them over to federal authorities" — illegal immigrants, indeed, who were "convicted criminals, national-security risks or people who are ignoring recent orders of deportation." These illegal immigrants returned to American neighborhoods full of working-class families.

In Woodburn last summer, Bonifacio Oseguera-Gonzalez, an illegal immigrant who had been deported six times, murdered three people. If not for Oregon's sanctuary law, before those murders Oseguera-Gonzalez, perhaps during an encounter with police, might have been identified as an illegal immigrant, detained and removed from the country. Does Beaverton really want to endorse a policy that protects such people — indeed, welcomes them into its midst?

Sanctuary policies enable illegal-immigrant criminals not only to evade capture and deportation, but to continue preying on the American citizens to whom Beaverton and all U.S. municipalities owe their primary allegiance. Let's hope a future Beaverton council rejects the sanctuary mentality, lobbies to repeal ORS 181A.820, and commits to resuming one of its most fundamental duties: helping the U.S. government enforce immigration law.

Richard F. LaMountain, a Cedar Mill resident, is vice president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform (oregonir.org).

Learn more about sanctuary policies.

Richard F. LaMountain
Herald and News
January 15, 2017

So says Michael Bloomberg’s Partnership for a New American Economy, whose 2016 study — “The Contributions of New Americans in Oregon” — was lauded by Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek in her recent call to legalize many so-called “undocumented” workers.

PNAE’s study, however, is riddled with omissions and misrepresentations that mask illegal immigrants’ harm to Oregonians. Here, let’s take a fuller, fairer look at the subject.

One of PNAE’s flimsiest assertions is that Oregon’s illegal immigrants “are not displacing the U.S.-born, but rather taking jobs few Americans are interested in pursuing.” (PNAE puts the state’s illegal-immigrant population at 114,000; the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates for immigration reductions, recently set it at closer to 170,000).

And, no doubt, industries like food preparation, custodial services and construction, which rely heavily on lower-skilled manual labor, teem with workers here illegally.

This is not, however, because Americans “won’t do” physically arduous jobs. Rather, in great part, it’s because a huge influx of low-skilled illegal immigrants — almost three-fifths of whom, labor economist Vernon M. Briggs Jr. has estimated, possess less than a high-school education — has so depressed wages for those jobs that U.S. citizens can’t afford to take them.

As per Americans and manual work, “the only catch is that they want to make enough money to actually be able to support their families,” writes David Seminara of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). “When companies offer attractive wages and benefits, they generally have little trouble finding American workers to do jobs in...fields like garbage collection, custodial work and dishwashing.”

But when illegal immigrants overinflate the labor supply, take jobs, and drive down wages and benefits, they contribute to environments like Oregon’s — where, the state Employment Department reports, some 200,000 people, the great majority of them American, are officially unemployed, “marginally attached to the labor force” or part-time workers wanting full-time work.

Also consider: Many illegal immigrants’ wages are paid “under the table” in cash, are not reported to government authorities — and, so, go untaxed.

In Arizona in one recent year, CIS’ Steven Camarota has estimated, fully 45 percent of illegal immigrants were under-the-table workers. Nationwide, Dennis Sebayan has reported on SmartAsset.com, this illegal immigrant-fueled “underground economy” may recently have cost American governments, including those in Oregon, $450 billion to $500 billion a year in lost revenue — revenue that could have been used to fix roads, fund schools, and balance budgets. All this, however, goes unmentioned in PNAE’s study.

So too does the fact that illegal-immigrant workers remit much of their U.S. income to relatives abroad. In one recent year, the World Bank has reported, foreign-born U.S. residents sent some $32 billion to Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador — the home countries, estimates the Migration Policy Institute, of two-thirds of the United States’ illegal immigrants.

If the money sent abroad by Oregon’s illegal immigrants was earned instead by the state’s U.S. citizens, it would remain here to help support our own people and fuel our own economy.

And last: “We are currently unable to calculate the amount spent on any public benefits or services used by [Oregon’s] undocumented immigrant families,” laments the PNAE study.

Well, its authors must not have tried too hard. In a detailed report published in December 2012 — the most recent to examine the subject in depth — the Federation for American Immigration Reform determined that Oregon’s illegal immigrants and their U.S.-born children used $1 billion-plus a year in state- and local-government services but that illegal immigrants paid only $77 million a year in state and local taxes. In the four years since, their cost to Oregon’s taxpayers almost certainly has increased.

The facts are clear: Illegal immigrants take jobs from Oregonians and siphon money from the state’s private economy and government coffers. In response, Oregon’s state government operates under a self-imposed “sanctuary” law that impedes illegal immigrants’ removal.

In the 2017 legislative session, lawmakers should repeal that law and pass a new one mandating that the state’s employers use the federal E-Verify system to vet new hires for proof of legal U.S. presence. This would help shrink Oregon’s illegal-immigrant population — and reduce its drain on our unemployed and underemployed, our overall economy, and our taxpayer-funded government services.

Donald Rose, MD
Hood River News
January 11, 2017

Your editorial of Jan. 7, “Support Sanctuary,” requires a response. I think that making Hood River a sanctuary city would be a mistake for the following reasons:

1. Apparently, climate change would be addressed. Climate has always changed and is minimally influenced by mankind. Solar activity does seem to be the major factor for climate change. Being a sanctuary city or not has no effect on climate.

2. I agree that we should not turn our backs on men and women here from other countries, but they should be here legally.

3. Local resources should be used to enforce immigration law. Our country has the right and responsibility to decide who will and who won’t enter our nation.

4. Federal funding should be revoked to sanctuary cities. Why should funds be given to cities who thumb their noses at U.S. law?

5. Deportations of felons should be automatic. More stringent measures should be taken for illegal reentries of everyone. Consider the case of Kathryn Steinly in San Francisco, who was shot and killed by an illegal alien, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who had been deported five times.

6. A wall would be a great help to prevent the huge influx of people entering our country illegally.

The decision whether Hood River should be a sanctuary city is too serious a matter that should not be determined by the handful of people on the city council. If the issue is seriously considered, it should be made by the citizens of the Hood River area.

David Olen Cross
January 10, 2017

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler declaring the city will continue to be a sanctuary to foreign nationals illegally in the country (undocumented immigrants) is promoting a culture of corruption that has historically resulted in the residents of the city being plagued by foreign national crime.

On Nov. 1, 2016, an Oregon Department of Corrections report exposed that Multnomah County was No. 2 in foreign national crime with 210 — 21.8 percent — of the state's 964 criminal undocumented immigrants incarcerated in the DOC prison system.

Here is the DOC numerical breakdown of the 12 types of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants against Multnomah County residents: 35 rapes; 34 sex abuses; 33 assaults; 26 homicides; 24 robberies; 23 drug offenses; 11 sodomies; 10 burglaries; seven driving offenses; three kidnappings; two vehicle thefts; one theft; and one other type or a combination of the preceding crimes.

All 964 criminal undocumented immigrants previously mentioned in the DOC prison system had U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement detainers placed on them.

Important facts: The recidivism rate for DOC prisoners is 24.4 percent. Eventually most of these criminal undocumented immigrants will be released from prison. Some of them will return to Portland even if ICE officials remove them from the country.

So Mayor Wheeler, to be responsible and accountable to the public safety of the residents of Portland, should reject any ideas about declaring Portland a sanctuary city and not fully cooperating with ICE officials, because undocumented immigrants, far too many of them criminals, should be removed from the United States by federal immigration officials.

Bend Bulletin Editors
The Bulletin
January 8, 2017

Some colleges and universities across the nation have declared themselves “sanctuary campuses.” The meaning of that designation can differ from campus to campus, but the movement arises from concern about what the election of Donald Trump might mean for students who are in this country illegally.

In Oregon, the state’s three largest public universities — the University of Oregon, Oregon State University and Portland State University — and Portland Community College have declared themselves sanctuary campuses to similar degrees.

For instance, UO has said it “will not facilitate immigration enforcement on our campus without a warrant or a clear demonstration” of exigent circumstance, the campus police will not act on behalf of federal officials enforcing immigration laws, and the university will not share the immigration status of any student without a court order.

In a way, Oregon is already a sanctuary state. State law prohibits any law enforcement agency in Oregon from taking action against someone solely because they are a foreign citizen and in violation of federal immigration law.

The largely symbolic “sanctuary campus” designation should worry Oregonians anyway, as it signals a willingness to defy federal law in the event that state law changes.

Earlier this week, Gene Pitts, the chairman of Portland Community College’s board of directors, resigned because he objected to the sanctuary designation. He said it “places risk on the backs of the 40+ percent of the college’s students that receive Pell grant monies (and ultimately on the college’s federal funding), and alienates a percentage of voters as we approach the college’s next bond campaign,” according to The Willamette Week. The federal government might withhold funding if colleges defy the law.

That’s a potentially high price to pay for what is little more than a symbolic gesture of opposition to the country’s new president.