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.

Janice Dysinger
August 11, 2016

Aguirre and church sanctuary: I find the story of Salvadoran national Francisco Aguirre most insulting as a Christian. This illegal immigrant is just using the church as a way to escape the punishment he deserves. He is not being persecuted because of religious beliefs. He is being persecuted because he broke our immigration and drug laws. The people are putting their children at risk being in the presence of a man who associates with drug smuggling and breaking the law. Would they do the same thing for Americans who abuse our laws? I think not.

Just because this man has a different set of officers coming after him, they say it's OK.

The Bible does not support this behavior. What are they thinking? Problem is, they are not.

Gary Miranda
August 10, 2016

Where's the word 'illegal'?: In her response to Cynthia Kendoll's Aug. 2 opinion piece, Nancy Haque never acknowledges the all-important adjective, "illegal." Instead, Haque extols the achievements of her parents, herself and her siblings, none of whom entered this country illegally. It would seem that, despite her master's degree, the co-executive director of Basic Rights Oregon could use a refresher course in basic reading skills.

Gary Miranda
Southeast Portland

Cynthia Kendoll
The Oregonian
August 2, 2016

Last summer in San Francisco, Kate Steinle was shot dead by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times. Steinle's murder sparked bills in the U.S. Senate that aimed to stiffen penalties on previously-deported illegal immigrants and de-fund the "sanctuary cities" that protect illegal immigrants from deportation.

...Oregon Senators. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley joined other Senate Democrats to kill those bills. Disturbingly, their vote came barely a week after Oregon's own Kate Steinle-type tragedy: On June 27, Bonifacio Oseguera-Gonzalez, an illegal immigrant who had been deported six times, was arrested for allegedly shooting and killing three people and critically wounding a fourth in Woodburn.

The Senate's vote was but one of many federal government decisions and policies that ensure the continued presence of countless illegal-immigrant criminals....

As it does for the nation at large, illegal-immigrant crime bedevils Oregon.... almost half — some 47 percent — were in for rape and other sex crimes. Eight percent were in for assault, almost six percent for robbery, and some 11 percent for drug offenses. A shocking 14 percent were serving time for homicide.

Comes, then, the question: Given our federal government's dereliction of responsibility, what can be done at the state level to limit illegal immigrants' crimes against Oregonians?

The best way to stop illegal-immigrant crime is to prevent it. And the best way to prevent it is to dissuade illegal immigrants from coming to Oregon...

First, they should reject any new attempt to give illegal immigrants the driving privileges...

Second, they should mandate that Oregon employers vet their new hires' legal U.S. presence through the federal E-Verify system...

Third, they should pass a law to deny illegal immigrants most non-emergency state services.

And last, they should repeal Oregon Revised Statute 181.850, a de facto "sanctuary" law that presumes to limit state and local law-enforcement agencies' efforts to help apprehend illegal immigrants.

Two weeks ago, as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, I listened to heartrending speeches by parents of Americans murdered by illegal immigrants. And I heard Donald Trump promise, if elected, to protect his fellow citizens from illegal-immigrant crime via a restored, robust enforcement of immigration law.

Oregon's elected officials must do their part, as well. Illegal-immigrant crime is preventable ...

Cynthia Kendoll of Salem is president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform. Last month, she served as an at-large Oregon delegate to the Republican National Convention.

Please read the full article here

Diana Ezelle
The Dalles Chronicle
July 30, 2016

Imagine a stranger walking into your home. Imagine that the stranger brought friends, none of whom you know. Imagine if those strangers stayed in your home without an invitation — eating all of your food, sleeping wherever they want to sleep, using up all of your resources and then finally taking your job. The common American household has at least four walls and locks on their doors. Why walls and locks? To keep out intruders, of course.

Imagine that you are Donald Trump, and you are sick and tired of America being overran by illegal aliens walking into this country— illegally— using up all of our resources, taking our jobs, voting in elections in a country that they don’t belong, and using and abusing our nation.

When you have a lock on your door you are expecting people to knock.

You look to see who it is and then, and only then, if you know who it is you let them in. Donald Trump is only trying to do the same for the United States. He isn’t wanting to build a wall to keep everyone out.

He simply wants them to knock first so we can see who it is before we open the door and let them in. Who can blame him for that when every American in this country does the exact same thing? Think about it.

Lewia R. Luchs
The Register Guard
July 20, 2016

A wall more likely to succeed than the physical wall Donald Trump is proposing is legal and psychological.

Estimates are that between 300,000 and 400,00 children born to undocumented aliens each year in the United States are granted U.S. citizenship by the simple fact of being born here. This is an unintended consequence of the 14th amendment, originally passed to grant citizenship to former slaves.

This policy creates a powerful motivation for illegal immigration into the United States since, as U.S. citizens, those born of undocumented aliens are automatically given the rights and privileges of U.S. citizens, including public-funded education and health care.

Almost all nations grant citizenship only to those who are the children of their citizens or who become citizens through established legal immigration procedures.

The few nations that followed the U.S. pattern — Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, the U.K., and India — have repealed that policy.

It’s way past time we do likewise.

James E. Levings
The Register Guard
June 29, 2016

Donald Trump was recently severely criticized for suggesting that the U.S. should limit or temporarily suspend the immigration of certain ethnic groups, nationalities and even people of certain religions.

The critics condemned such a suggestion as being, among other things, un-American, dumb, stupid, reckless, dangerous and racist. The president called such a prohibition on immigration unconstitutional.

But, surprise: It seems that the selective immigration ban is already law and has been applied on several occasions.

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 allows for the “Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by the president. Whenever the president finds that the entry of aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, the president may, by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

The act was utilized by Jimmy Carter, no less, in 1979 to keep Iranians out of the United States. He made all Iranian students already here check in, and then deported seven thousand for violation of their visas. Some 15,000 Iranians were forced to leave the U.S.

The Quran forbids Muslims to swear allegiance to the U.S. Constitution; therefore, technically, all Muslims should be refused immigration.

G.A. Cummings
SJ Statesman Journal
June 26, 2016

I must comment on the June 19 letters to the editor. They were some of the best I’ve read in a long time.

I would go a step further on the immigration issue and close our doors to all immigration for a period of time. We do not want to become so over-populated ourselves that we become a third-world nation.

And, by all means, let’s have English as the language of our country.

G.A. Cummings

Jerry Ritter
The Register Guard
June 22, 2016

The 2016 Oregon legislative session confirmed that voters got a “pig in a poke” when they approved even-year “short” sessions, just as some of us warned.

The 2016 session was also rife with back-room deals, pandering to special interests, deliberate efforts to keep the public in the dark, one-hour hearing notices and bogus “emergency” clauses.

Half the bills approved in the last two legislative sessions included emergency clauses. In very few cases were these justified. Instead, the emergency clause is now primarily a means to prevent voter oversight of legislative decisions. Under an emergency clause, a bill becomes law immediately upon the governor’s signature, leaving no opportunity for a referendum.

The use of the emergency clause increased markedly after voters overturned the legislature’s ill-conceived Senate Bill 833 (illegal immigrant driver cards) by a ratio of 2 to 1 in 2014. A legislative source reports that adding the clause is now the default protocol when bills are drafted by legislative counsel.

We can rein in this abuse. Oregon Initiative Petition 49, now in circulation, would require a two-thirds majority vote in both legislative chambers to approve any bill with an attached emergency clause. Certain exceptions for true emergencies (e.g., natural disasters) would be allowed.

Google “nofakeemergencies” to find a link to the petition. Signatures must be in by June 29. Let’s stop this phony nonsense: Please sign the petition and spread the word!


Richard F. LaMountain
June 21, 2016

During the presidential primary season, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump attacked their parties’ nominating processes as rigged against rank-and-file citizens.

For sheer voter disenfranchisement, however, those processes have nothing on Oregon legislators’ abuse of the “emergency clause” — an abuse Oregonians soon may get a chance to end.

What is the emergency clause? It is wording in a bill that can make the bill effective immediately upon its approval by the House, Senate and governor. Without such a clause, a bill becomes law no earlier than 90 days from the end of the legislative session in which it was approved.

In Oregon’s system of direct democracy, those 90 days are crucial. If a group of citizens opposes a recently approved bill and wants to rally fellow Oregonians to scuttle it before it becomes law, that group must, within those 90 days, collect a constitutionally stipulated number of registered voters’ signatures (equal to 4 percent of votes cast for governor in the last election). If the group does so, the bill is put before voters for an up-or-down vote — what’s known as a referendum — in the next general election.

When, however, lawmakers approve a bill containing an emergency clause and it takes effect immediately, they foreclose citizens’ right to pursue a referendum. 

Now, in a true emergency, the clause can serve a valid purpose — say, to swiftly allot money to mitigate a natural disaster. Sometimes, however, lawmakers employ the clause to a less noble end: to shield from challenge a bill they know is controversial or unpopular and that, if put to referendum, many Oregonians may vote against and possibly defeat.

Consider, for instance, the 2015 session’s Senate Bill 932, which granted illegal-immigrant college students the right to compete with U.S. citizens for taxpayer-funded Oregon Opportunity Grant scholarships. Last summer, the bill was passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor — and it contained an emergency clause.

Now, the bill’s sponsors certainly knew it would be opposed by many Oregonians. The reason: Barely half a year before, in a 2014 referendum, the state’s voters had defeated SB 833 — a bill approved in 2013 that had sought to grant driving privileges to illegal immigrants — by a near 2-1 margin. That vote had made clear Oregonians’ staunch disapproval of government-sponsored benefits for illegal immigrants. Is it not probable, then, that SB 932’s sponsors attached an emergency clause to the bill to deter what might have been a successful referendum against it?

This is hardly unfounded conjecture. No less an authority than Sen. Doug Whitsett, R-Klamath Falls, a longtime legislator who knows how politics is played, has stated bluntly that the primary purpose of many bills’ emergency clauses is to “block the constitutionally guaranteed right of the people to refer.” As the old saying goes: If something looks, walks and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.

The bottom line: When legislators use the emergency clause to thwart potential referenda, they steal a critical means of government oversight and control from the very citizens they were elected to represent. Oregonians need to restore that clause to its proper, limited role in lawmaking.

An initiative petition is being circulated to do just that. If it reaches the November ballot and is passed by voters, the “No More Fake Emergencies” Act will require most bills containing emergency clauses to receive the votes of two-thirds (rather than the current bare majority) of both the House and Senate to pass — a threshold that would rein in lawmakers’ use of the clause to deter referenda.

Registered voters should go to nofakeemergencies.com and print, sign and put a petition into the U.S. mail by June 29. By doing so, they can help restore the voice of the citizen, as manifested in the referendum, to its paramount place in Oregon’s representative democracy.

Richard F. LaMountain served as a chief petitioner of the 2014 referendum via which Oregon voters rejected Senate Bill 833, the 2013 bill that sought to grant “driver cards” to illegal immigrants. He lives in Cedar Mill.

Elizabeth Van Staaveren
Statesman Journal
June 18, 2016

While Oregonians are being asked to welcome large numbers of refugees, we must think of the repercussions on our towns and citizens.

President Obama plans to bring in at least 10,000 additional Syrian refugees to the U.S. this year. Simultaneously, we learn from testimony on June 16 by CIA Director John Brennan that grave danger comes through refugee flows.

His testimony can be seen and heard on a C-SPAN video posted on the internet.

He said that despite our progress against ISIL on the battlefield and in the financial realm, “our efforts have not reduced the group’s terrorism capability and global reach.” He pointed out that the resources needed for terrorism are modest, and that ISIL has a large cadre of western fighters who could attack in the West and is probably exploring ways to infiltrate more agents.

President Obama reduced the screening process to three months for Syrian refugees despite a warning from the FBI director that the U.S. cannot thoroughly screen them for terrorist ties even in the previously allotted 18-24 months.

We pray for peace, but there are too many hazards in bringing in current numbers. It is an unwise policy that should be resisted by Oregon’s governor.

Elizabeth Van Staaveren