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.

Gary John Will
March 5, 2013

House Bill 2787, the so-called “tuition equity” bill, is being shoved down our throats regardless of the desires of the people.

So far, the newspaper polls are running 75 percent to 85 percent against it, but that has no impact on our elected officials who dance to the tune of special interests.

They chose to ignore the basic inherent immorality of the issue in favor of either permitting the ranks of cheap labor to increase (thus further reducing the standard of living for the working poor and lower middle class) or furthering the increase of a massive and rapidly growing voter block, regardless of its legal status.

I can’t believe that the average citizen can’t see that this is all happening to the detrament of all of us but the very wealthy, powerful or politically connected.

As a homeowner, I am really sick of paying for the costs of what promotes benefit to only a limited number of elected officials and business elite.

If they want this type of giveaway, let them pay for it. But oh, no. All I hear from this group is let’s lower taxes on business, but let’s also give away the farm and send the bill to someone else.

Gary John Will



Lyneil Vandermolen
The Bulletin
March 3, 2013

I wasn’t allowed to testify against the in-state tuition bill (HB 2787) at the Feb. 13 legislative hearing, although I arrived early and signed the first sheet. The fix was already in.

No one wants to punish students brought here by law-breaking parents, but citizens should know that illegal immigrants who qualify for in-state college tuition may also achieve protected minority status, giving them an affirmative action advantage for jobs against equally innocent American students.

Employers who can’t think past cheap labor are fueling the planned representational irrelevance of citizens as illegal immigration expands.

When I asked Democratic Rep. Michael Dembrow if he’d sponsor a state e-verify bill to stop drawing illegal labor to Oregon, he dismissed it as a federal issue and walked away. How’s that for compassion?

Lyneil Vandermolen

Powell Butte

Gabriella Morrongiello
March 2, 2013

The quickest way to befriend a child is to hand them candy. Want to assure a permanent life-long supporter of liberal policies? Hand out government subsidized programs. That’s exactly the motive behind the “Tuition Equity” bill that has been adopted in many states and is now coming before the newly left-winged majority legislature of Oregon.

What so many fail to ask when advocating government handouts such as food stamps, housing vouchers, or reduced college tuition for children of illegal immigrants is: at whose expense will these programs be covered?

In the case of Oregon House Bill 2787, which proposes allowing children of illegal immigrants residing in Oregon to benefit from in-state tuition at publicly-funded universities, it is my parents and Oregon tax payers who will shoulder the financial burden.

I am a sophomore at Oregon State and one of the 8,906 out-of-state students currently attending the university.

Compared to an Oregon resident who pays roughly $8,000 annually in tuition, my parents foot a $22,000 bill each year. My tuition is substantially higher to help compensate the Oregon taxpayer for the use of bricks and mortar, the cost of faculty and administrator salaries, pensions and benefits, and maintenance and upkeep of the campus grounds.

Illegal immigrants whose children attend Oregon high schools are not paying taxes to cover the expenses for Oregon public universities either. Therefore, if these individuals wish to have their child attend an Oregon public university, I believe they ought to pay out-of-state tuition, just as I do.

The parents of these children, who entered this country illegally, are either being paid their wages in cash, as part of the “underground economy,” or by check from employers who are not withholding the income taxes they must take from legitimate, legal workers. Additionally, their children are attending public grade schools and high schools that are paid for by property and state income taxes of legal residents.

What is “fair and equitable” about that?

People break the laws of the United States when they immigrate to our country illegally. The children these individuals bring with them become a financial burden to the community in which they reside with impunity.

This is not to say these children are at fault; many are excellent citizens that work hard academically and in their community. That however, is irrelevant. As an out-of-state student, I do all I can to help lessen the financial burden my parents reap because of my choice to attend college outside of California.

I wait tables, am a paid reporter for my campus newspaper, and I keep an exemplary GPA to earn and maintain tuition reductions.

I don’t believe my hard-working, self-employed parents should face increasing tuition hikes to cover the certainty of burgeoning expenses at OSU due to skyrocketing enrollment of “Tuition Equity” students.

As availability becomes more affordable, enrollment and the need for more faculty, administrators, bricks and mortar will increase. This will all be at a cost to the Oregon tax payer and out-of-state students.

Shifting the cost for the child of an illegal immigrant to attend college to me and my parents is not tuition equity, but confiscation and redistribution.

This legislation is about giving candy to a child — and future voter — to befriend them. It will grant government mandated “goodies” to young, largely Hispanic future voters most likely to support the liberal agenda.

House Bill 2787 assists those in this country illegally while leaving law-abiding American citizens to pick up the tab.

Gabriella Morrongiello is a sophomore at Oregon State University majoring in new media communications and is chairwoman of the OSU Young Americans for Freedom.


Dennis Harrison
The Bulletin
March 2, 2013

Amazing and very alarming. The Oregon House of Representatives passed House Bill 2787, called the “tuition equity" bill by a margin of 38 to 18. This bill gives special treatment to certain illegal aliens who wish to attend college in Oregon.

I thought our representatives and senators were elected to represent the interests of the citizens of Oregon and here they are representing the interests of a select group of illegal aliens and making law to benefit these select illegal aliens.

Some of the perpetrators of this activity are Rep. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, Rep. John Huffman, R-The Dalles and Rep. Betty Komp, D-Woodburn. What kind of representation is this? Let’s hope the majority of senators vote no on this, thereby preventing Gov. John Kitzhaber from signing it into law.

Dennis Harrison



Mona Waibel
February 28, 2013

I read in the Democrat-Herald about the passing of the immigrant tuition bill. Something is wrong here. Every high achiever of Sweet Home High School wants to go to college and, because of the lack of jobs and money, we can’t send our own children away to colleges.

I object that illegals are getting this free money and our own children are left behind.

The Sweet Home Alumni Foundation has been working for many years to bring in enough money to give awards to our graduating seniors. It is difficult to get money and many of you have given your hard-earned dollars to help many go on to college. We are pleased to have this support. But why are some students being left behind and the money that is available going to illegals?

Must be some poor decisions have been made at the Oregon House. That money should have gone to the Linn County High School students where money is needed. Our high school students here in Sweet Home, Scio and all the other small towns have worked very hard to graduate from high school and then there is not enough money for them to go to a university.

Anyone who wants to give to our local SHAF foundation, just email me at mybull@centurytel.net. We will see that legal students get money for education.

P.S.: If your column on page 2 with emails, etc., doesn’t get larger, I will need to cease writing you. Make this larger please! My 83-year-old eyes and magnifying glass had a problem reading this.

Mona Waibel, Sweet Home

Jeani West
February 28, 2013

Regarding the article in Saturday’s paper, “House passes immigrant tuition bill:”

I may be a little dense but could someone please explain to me how letting 38 to 80 illegal immigrants attend college on residential college rates in the next two years will increase our state’s revenue by $335,000 the first two years and an additional $1.6 million in the following two years?

Since residential tuition is $10,700 less than nonresidential tuition and they will all be going to school rather than working, how does this increase our state revenue?

Since they will not be eligible for state or federal aid, does this mean that we are now paying those 38 to 80 illegal immigrants $1.6 million in benefits?

If they are here illegally, then why are we paying them $1.6 million in benefits?

Now if I only have so much income coming in, and I don’t have to spend as much this month as last month, then my revenue does not increase because my expenses have decreased.

It’s all liberal logic. If you plan on spending $150 on a item but only spend $100, the liberals say you saved $50 even if you are still short $100. If you plan on raising taxes by 30 percent but only raise them by 20 percent, liberals think you get a tax cut of 10 percent, but to me it means I still have a tax hike of 20 percent, duh.

Jeani West, Sweet Home

Gabriella Morrongiello
Young America’s Foundation
February 26, 2013

Waking up at the crack of dawn for 8am classes has never been my forte. However, on the morning of the public hearing for the "Tuition Equity" bill, I was out of bed before the first verse of my alarm had even run its course. An hour later I was cruising down I-5 toward the Oregon State Capitol. Upon arrival, I noticed I was not the only student who would be present. Two large charter buses had pulled up and were offloading dozens of Hispanic students. Each bus sported a custom paint job and was adorned with worn out tried and true phrases of the left: "students for equality," "social justice now," "humans aren't illegal." Thirty minutes later the majority of these students and their teachers glared at me, jaws-dropped, as I returned back to my seat following my testimony.

I came to the capitol to testify against Oregon House Bill 2787, better known as "Tuition Equity." This bill proposes in-state tuition for illegal aliens, but fails to extend the same benefit to out-of-state American students. It is, in my opinion, anything but equitable. With my testimony, I hoped to make some rational Oregonians realize this was just another effort on behalf of government officials to work against the people they are elected to serve and instead give comfort and aid to undocumented immigrants.

I was the ONLY student, out of the 100+ in attendance, who testified in opposition to this bill.

The first half hour of the hearing was monopolized by the panel of state representatives publicly addressing one another as they glorified the bill. This obviated the purpose of a hearing for the public. It quickly became apparent how skewed the hearing would be after a panel in which only three of us would testify in opposition. The 80 minutes that ensued was spent listening to carefully orchestrated and emotionally-appealing testimonials by supporters who clearly left their logic at the door. One Latino student even wore her graduation gown, hoping it would somehow convey her said crushed aspirations upon graduating high school since she would be unable to afford college. In the hearing's last five minutes, the representatives obligatorily rushed an opportunity for three Oregon taxpayers to voice their disdain. How virtuous of them.

At the end of the day, I was thankful for the opportunity to denounce this bill. The irony of the hearing though, is what will voraciously eat away at me over the next few weeks. How could these representatives, who titled the legislation "Tuition Equity" themselves, have staged a public hearing that was anything but equal in the diversity of opinion?

Pardon my French, but Oregon must wake up and smell the bull; House Bill 2787 assists those in this country illegally while leaving law-abiding American citizens to pick up the tab. Now what is equitable about that?

Gabriella Morrongiello is a sophomore at Oregon State University, and chairman of the OSU Young Americans for Freedom

Cliff Girod
February 23, 2013

On Feb. 13, I attended a House Committee on Higher Education and Workforce Development Hearing. HB 2787 (in-state tuition for illegal immigrants) was the topic. Prior to the hearing, testimony sign-up sheets were available.

The hearing, taking just over two hours, heavily favored the “for” group. The “against” group had about 20 minutes of time to testify. The chairman (later quoted in The Oregonian) said he was unaware of a second sheet of opponents who had signed up to testify. My friend and I were on the first sheet but were not called to testify.

During the hearing, the chairman stepped down to address his views. His statements took valuable time away from further testimonies.

The Statesman Journal coverage prior to and following the hearing appeared to heavily favor the “for” group.

Passage of HB 2787 means:

1. Acting contrary to federal law.

2. Injustice to current legal out-of-state students who are paying out-of-state tuition.

3. More taxes because of the increase in illegal immigration.

4. Lawsuits against the state.

We already are being taxed to pay for illegal immigrants in our public schools.

Please contact your state senator concerning your opposition to HB 2787.

Cliff Girod


Brian Maas
February 21, 2013

Miriam Corona’s Feb. 1 guest opinion advocating her position that in-state tuition to Oregon colleges be granted for undocumented immigrants neglected other areas of concern that must be considered by lawmakers: in general, the larger picture of how a decision favoring her view would affect others.

While I empathize with the predicament these undocumented students face in paying the high cost of non-resident tuition, there fails to be any recognition of how the very demands they make discriminate against others with the very same aspirations for a college education that they themselves seek. In other words, they are not taking into account that the issue is larger than just themselves.

I have never heard any group that advocates for in-state tuition for undocumented students express any concern for the non-resident students who are legal citizens of this country but are required to pay three to four times the amount of tuition as an Oregon resident. It becomes apparent that the word “equity” (as in the tuition equity bill being proposed) is hardly the appropriate term if it is not inclusive of in-state tuition also being extended to current and future non-resident students.

These non-resident students also want something better for themselves and many have undergone adversity. Some may be legal immigrants from the same country as Corona. Others may be past or current military veterans. Should their dreams be ignored because they cannot afford the costs of non-resident tuition? Should the wants of an undocumented student take precedence over a legal citizen who is a non-resident?

The tuition equity bill would allow undocumented students to pay the same tuition as Oregon residents. Corona states in her guest opinion that “This bill wouldn’t give undocumented students special treatment.” I disagree. Allowing undocumented students to pay the same tuition as Oregon residents while denying non-resident citizens the same privilege is, without a doubt, special treatment. Most disturbing to me is the absence of any gratitude expressed by undocumented students for the 12 years of free public education they have already received in preparation for a college education.

It is through lack of enforcement of federal and state immigration laws that we are left with this dilemma. Although many immigrants go through the legal process to become citizens, many do not and it is primarily the children who suffer that poor decision.

There is little doubt in my mind that the undocumented students who are eligible for college or have already been accepted have worked hard and studied hard to achieve their dream. However, considerations pertaining to whether they should also be eligible for resident tuition will take careful thought.

Our legislators must cast aside any personal agendas or thoughts and consider all sides of this issue. Most certainly those considerations must extend to the plight of the non-resident student. Our legislators’ decisions regarding this issue must be fair to all. I pray they are up to the task.

Brian Maas, retired from Oregon Dept of Revenue and military veteran / Special to the Statesman Journal

Brian L. Maas of Salem is retired from the Oregon Department of Revenue. He can be reached at Maasblm@aol.com

David Olen Cross
February 20, 2013

Oregonians looking at the future cost of attending, and the funding of, Oregon’s public four-year colleges and universities should be concerned about state Rep. Sara Gelser’s support of House Bill 2787 that would grant in-state tuition for international students illegally in the country.

Crunching some numbers from Oregon State University for years 2012-2013, the estimated undergraduate tuition and fees (15 credits per term) for an Oregon resident is $8,139 per year, while an international student is $22,323 per year.

Under HB 2787, OSU would be required to cut individual tuition and fees for illegal international students attending the university by $14,184 per year.

The result of the legislation becoming law, OSU would lose over a four-year period for every illegal international student attending the university $56,736.

Rep. Gelser’s support of in-state tuition for illegal international students reveals a state legislator lacking a sense of fiduciary responsibility to her voting constituents and, moreover, the state’s higher education system.

Oregonians should contact Rep. Gelser (Rep.SaraGelser@state.or.us) and ask her the following question: “Representative, who is going to make up the tuition shortfall at Oregon’s public four-year colleges and universities if in-state tuition for international students illegally in the country becomes law?”