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.

Nicky A. Sprauve
Blue Mountain Eagle, Grant County OR
May 9, 2017
After seeing what happened in Portland with the May Day march, I believe the responsibility lies 100 percent with Gov. Brown. She has declared our state a “sanctuary state.” This gives every anarchist a license to destroy, pillage and burn the private and public property of our state. When the governor tells people that they do not need to obey the laws of our country, then you see the results of that action. It was on full display May 1.
I believe that any public official that declares their community a “sanctuary” community is not really working for the safety of that community. Portland was definitely not safe. I am appalled that our politicians are lumping immigrants and illegal immigrants in the same category. I believe the people of Oregon are for immigration, but they are not for illegal immigration. When the politicians say you can ignore the law when it comes to illegal immigration, then the anarchists believe they have a license to do just what we saw on May 1.
I believe that any public official that declares their community a “sanctuary” community, and that goes all the way to the governor, should resign, be recalled or voted out of office now.
Nicky A. Sprauve
Canyon City
Jim Elvin
Statesman Journal
May 8, 2017

It seems to me that the advice, “when you’re in a hole, you should stop digging,” should also apply to our budgets. An example is our school budgets that are so bad that the quality of education in our schools is in real trouble and getting worse. Yet we have a very high percentage of undocumented immigrant children in our schools who are costing us a fortune to educate and feed.

Then stupidity seems to take full control as our politicians (including Gov. Brown) shove “sanctuary state” down our throats.

The illegal immigrants seem to be outsmarting us in many ways. But I guess if we’re stupid enough to legalize marijuana for the taxes, we can’t expect much common sense to be very active in politics. So the illegal drug problems that will follow the legalization of marijuana will become a nightmare that will no doubt eat up more taxes than the legalization of marijuana brings in.

Our enemies don’t need to work at destroying us — we’re on the road to doing that ourselves.

Illegal drugs, illegal immigration and our politicians are out of control.


Elizabeth Van Staaveren
April 28, 2017

With their bill to ban ICE agents from detaining illegal aliens at local courthouses, U.S. Reps. Suzanne Bonamici and Earl Blumenauer show much more concern about the well-being of foreign citizens than of U.S. citizens.

They seem to think there's something morally wrong and evil about enforcing immigration laws. They obsess about the poor illegal aliens and ignore costs to citizenry and quality of life in the United States. They claim to support a healthful natural environment, but vote for amnesties and increases in immigration, even though excessive immigration is the reason the United States is overpopulated, causing environmental degradation.

Immigration laws exist to protect the safety and well-being of citizens, and if these laws are not respected and enforced, the United States could swiftly be subsumed by the nearly 700 million people around the world who would like to emigrate. Amnesties and benefits to illegal aliens are harmful to citizens and to the nation. Legislators who don't understand this or don't care should not be holding office.

Aspiring immigrants can work to improve their own countries instead of fleeing them. The United States has been giving generous financial aid and technical assistance to poor countries continuously for more than 50 years. They need to do more to help themselves.

The U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform (headed by revered former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan) concluded in a 1994 report: "The credibility of immigration policy can be measured by a simple yardstick. People who should get in do get in. People who should not get in are kept out. And people who are judged deportable are required to leave."


David Burns
East Oregonian
April 26, 2017

In reference to my recent article on sanctuary cities, yes, I should have stated more clearly that Oregon is ­— sadly — a sanctuary state. I appreciate the editor pointing out that fact. Stating that, however, now gives me the opportunity to inform readers that there is a strong effort currently to reverse this status for our state.

Oregon legislators Reps. Sal Esquivel and Mike Nearman introduced HB 2921 that would require Oregon’s cities and counties to comply with federal immigration detainer requests and repeal the 1987 state law that prevents law enforcement from using resources to find or arrest illegal aliens in Oregon. This bill would also prevent cities and counties from adopting ordinances that prevent cooperation with federal immigration officials.

In essence, passage of this bill would eliminate Oregon as a sanctuary state. These two legislators tried unsuccessfully to put this bill on the last ballot but hope it will be successful for the ballot in 2018.

The Pendleton City Council should also be congratulated for soundly defeating a recent effort to make Pendleton a sanctuary city as well.

Two other bills readers may want to support include HB 2923, which would make English the official language of Oregon. If passed state agencies would only be allowed to provide services and information in English, thus saving the state a lot of money from having to print everything in Spanish. Isn’t it sad that through all these years, since the birth of the United States, the U.S. Congress has never been able to pass legislation making English our official language?

The second is HB2917, which would require state agencies and the contractors they hire to be allowed to check the status of immigrant workers to make sure they are legal U.S. citizens. As a former board member of The League of Oregon Cities, I tried to get that body to pass a similar motion that would require the league to hire only firms and businesses owned by U.S. citizens.

My motion was soundly defeated, and I received a lot of criticism for even daring to offer it. However, I still believe it was the right thing to do. As a former Oregon contractor, I have seen first hand the illegal businesses that work here in Oregon without liability insurance and legal contractor status who are able to undercut legitimate business who play by the rules.

Dan Reid
Statesman Journal
April 25, 2017

Salem recently declared itself a sanctuary city and police were told to ignore relevant federal law. Why, then, should taxpayers approve a new facility for police who cannot enforce the law?

The city’s response is that immigration law enforcement falls under an Oregon statute, as though this excuses compliance under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. Has the city sought a change in this Oregon statute? And what compelled the council to make its declaration? Obviously, the city’s excuse is merely a red herring.

Police need a new facility. But by voting against the bond, I am exercising the only real influence I have on the ability of police to enforce everybody’s law.

If a law is objectionable, work within our democratic system to change the law. In the meantime, everybody (government especially) is obligated to obey the law. Salem’s disregard for federal law is both arbitrary, arrogant and sets the poorest kind of example.


Jim Kolousek
Statesman Journal
April 20, 2017

Recently I attended a meeting of the Oregonians for Immigration Reform in Salem and, as usual, the protesters were out en masse with their silly signs and meaningless chants. They attempted to block the entrance to the facility where we met.

When we started the meeting, we were advised not to confront or interact with the protesters. We want to respectfully honor their right to protest, and we did so. However, there were police and a hired private security guard there to protect our right to have a peaceful meeting. At one point, the security guard had to prevent the protesters from entering the facility conference room and disrupting our meeting.

I don’t get it. How can these protesters — who demand freedom of speech, tolerance and acceptance — be so willing to violate our rights of free assembly and freedom of speech by attempting to shut down our peaceful meeting? We were doing nothing wrong or illegal. We were not advocating violating the laws to accomplish an evil purpose. We were simply sharing information and discussing ideas of working within the existing laws to accomplish change.

What was so wrong about our meeting that these protesters find it acceptable to not practice what they preach?

Larry Crompton
Statesman Journal
April 20, 2017

It is time for Oregonians to wake up and take a stand. The laws that are being pushed by our governor and senators are not only bad, they are dangerous to all of us.

  • To push for legalized marijuana is insane. Not once is anything said about the dangers of pot. It is 100 times more dangerous than cigarettes. Any politician backing this is doing it for one of two reasons: to be able to smoke it legally or to draw in the millions in taxes to spend on crazy plans.
  • Sanctuary cities or states are dangerous and should be illegal. Any politician pushing and voting for this and forbidding our law enforcement officers to help the feds should understand that they are aiding and abetting serious crime and when it occurs (and it will), should be charged and sued by the victims.
  • The fine for driving in the fast lane, except to pass, is another insane law. People having to change lanes that often will cause as many accidents and injuries as the legal pot. Of course, look at the money each of these laws brings in to those in office. 

God, please bless Oregon. Our politicians won’t.


Jim Kolousek
Woodburn Independent
April 19, 2017

Recently I attended a meeting of the Oregonians for Immigration Reform in Salem, and as usual the protestors were out en masse with their silly signs and meaningless chants.

They attempted to block the entrance to the motel where we met. Most people drove through them (not over them) but I drove around back and parked quietly. As I usually notice, their message was so compelling that virtually no one was willingly standing around listening to them.

When we started the meeting we were advised not to confront or interact with the protestors. We want to respectfully honor their right to protest, and we did so. However there were police and a hired private security guard there to protect our right to have a peaceful meeting. At one point the security guard had to prevent the protestors from entering the motel conference room and disrupting our meeting.

I don't get it. How can these protestors, who demand freedom of speech, tolerance and acceptance, be so willing to violate our rights of free assembly and freedom of speech by attempting to shut down our peaceful meeting? We were doing nothing wrong or illegal. We were not advocating violating the laws to accomplish an evil purpose. We were simply sharing information and discussing ideas of working within the existing laws to accomplish change. What was so wrong about our meeting that these protestors find it acceptable to not practice what they preach?

Victor Davis Hanson
April 6, 2017

This article first appeared on the Hoover Institution site.

The arguments for ignoring illegal immigration are as well-known as the self-interested motives that drive it.

In the abstract, open-borders advocates argue that in a globalized culture, borders are becoming reactionary and artificial constructs. They should not interrupt more natural ebbs and flows of migrant populations.

More concretely, an array of vested interests sees advantage in dismantling the border: employers in hospitality, construction, food processing and agriculture prefer hard-working low-wage immigrants, whose social needs are often subsidized by the government and who are reluctant to organize for higher wages. 

The Democratic Party welcomes in impoverished immigrants from Latin America and Mexico. It hopes to provide generous social welfare assistance and thereby shepherd new arrivals and their offspring into the salad bowl of victimization and identity politics—and thereby change the electoral map of key states from red to blue.

La Raza activists see unchecked illegal immigration as useful in maintaining a large pool of unassimilated and poor foreign nationals who look to group leaders, thereby ensuring the continuance of what has become an industry of ethnic activism and careerism.

Mexico—which is now offering advice to illegal immigrants on how best to avoid U.S. federal immigration authorities—has the most to gain by porous borders. It envisions the United States as a relief valve destination to export its own poor and desperate rather than to have them agitate and demand costly social services from Mexico City.

Mexico enjoys some $25 billion in annual remittances, predicated on the unspoken assumption that its poor and hard-working expatriates can only afford to send such vast sums out of the United States through the magnanimity of the American social welfare system that helps subsidize families to free up hard-earned cash. Mexico has learned that its own expatriates are loyal proponents who romanticize Mexico—the farther away and longer they are absent from it.

U.S. border patrol agents stand at an open gate on the fence along the Mexico border at the Border Field State Park, California, on November 19, 2016. Victor Davis Hanson writes that in California, thousands of illegal aliens operate cars without mandatory insurance, driver’s licenses and registrations. Mike Blake/reuters

Yet lost in this conundrum are the pernicious effects of illegal immigration on the idea of citizenship in a consensual society. In the Western constitutional tradition, citizenship was based upon shared assumptions that were often codified in foundational constitutional documents.

The first pillar of citizenship is the idea that the nation-state has the sole right to create and control its own borders. The duty of all Western constitutions, dating back to those of the Greek city-states, was to protect their own citizens within clearly defined and defensible borders. Without a finite space, no consensual society can make rules and laws for its own, enhance and preserve commonalities of language and culture, or raise a military to protect its own self-interest.

Borders are not normally artificial or post-colonial constructs, but natural boundaries that usually arise to reflect common bonds of language, culture, habit and tradition. These ties are sometimes fragile and limited, and cannot operate on universal terms; indeed, they become attenuated when borders disappear and residents not only have little in common, but lack the mechanisms or even the desire to assimilate and integrate their migrant populations.

When borders are fluid and unenforced, it inevitably follows that assimilation and integration also become lax, as society loses a sense of who, or even where, their residents are. And the idea that the Bill of Rights should apply to those beyond U.S. borders may be a noble sentiment, but the practical effect of such utopianism is to open a Pandora’s box of impossible enforcement, affronts to foreign governments, endless litigation and a diversion of resources away from protecting the rights of citizens at home.

Residency is also confused with citizenship, but they are no more the same than are guests at a dinner party and the party’s hosts, who own the home. 

A country reverts to tribalism unless immigrants enter it legally—often based on the host’s determination of how easily and rapidly they can become citizens, and the degree to which they can benefit their adopted country—and embrace its customs, language and habits.

The Balkans, Rwanda and Iraq remind us that states without common citizen ties, affinities, rights and responsibilities become fragmented and violent, as their diverse populations share no investment in the welfare of the commonwealth. What plagues contemporary Iraq and Syria is the lack of clearly defined borders, and often shifting and migrating populations that have no stake in the country of their residence, resulting in competing tribes that vie for political control to aid their own and punish the Other.

A second pillar of citizenship is the sanctity of the law.

What also separates Western and Westernized nations from often impoverished and unsecure states is a notion that citizens entrust their elected representatives with the crafting of laws and then show their fealty by obeying the resulting legislation.

The sanctity of the entire legal system in a republic rests on two important corollaries: citizens cannot pick and choose which laws they obey—either on the grounds that some are deemed bothersome and not in their own self-interest, or on the pretext that they are minor and their violation does not impair society at large.

Citizenship instead demands that unpopular or unworkable laws be amended or repealed by the proper legislative and judicial branches of government, not by popular neglect or violation.

Once immigration law goes unenforced, there are pernicious ramifications. First, citizens question why all laws are not equally subject to nullification. If the immigrant is excused from obeying immigration law, is the citizen likewise exempt from IRS statutes or simple traffic laws?

Second, the immigrant himself adopts a mindset that obeying the law is unimportant. Currently among illegal aliens, there is an epidemic of identity theft, forged government affidavits, and the use of fake social security numbers.

Open-borders advocates do not disagree that these violations undermine a society, but instead argue that such desperate measures are needed for impoverished illegal aliens to survive in the shadows. Perhaps, but equally true is that once an illegal resident discovers that some of the laws of the host are not enforced, he then assumes others will not be either.

In truth, illegal aliens lose respect for their hosts, concluding that if Americans do not care to enforce their own laws, foreign nationals need not abide by them either. In reductionist terms, when an immigrant’s first act when entering the United States involves breaking the law, then all subsequent violations become only that much easier.

Besides secure borders and respect for the laws, a third tenet of citizenship is the idea of equal applicability of the law. Citizens in modern Western societies are assured that their laws are applied in the same manner to all citizens regardless of differences in class, gender, race, or religion.

Illegal immigration insidiously erodes such equality under the law. When millions of foreign nationals reside illegally in the United States, a myriad of laws must be enforced unequally to perpetuate the initial transgression. Illegal immigration does not just imply illegal entry, but also continued illegal residence and all that entails on a daily basis.

Sanctuary cities protect illegal aliens from federal immigration agencies in a way that is not true of American citizens who arrive at airports and must go through customs, with no exemption from federal agents examining their passports and personal histories. If crimes or infractions are found, there is no safe space at an airport exempt from federal enforcement.

In California, thousands of illegal aliens have operated automobiles without mandatory insurance, driver’s licenses and registrations and, in some municipalities, are not arrested for such violations—even as American citizens who cannot claim such apparent mitigating circumstances are.

In my own vicinity in rural California, there are hundreds of dwellings where multiple families in trailers, sheds, and garages reside, employing illegal water, power and sewage hookups. Most are more or less left alone by county authorities. The apparent rationale is that such violations are too chronic and widespread to be addressed, or that it simply does not pay for cash-strapped agencies to enforce the law in the case of those who are unable or unwilling to pay substantial fines.

Either way, the nearby citizen who is hounded by county or federal authorities on matters concerning the proper height of his mailbox, or the exact distance between a new leach line and his existing well, feels that the laws are unequally applied and loses confidence in the value of his own citizenship. He often sees it either as no real advantage over mere residency, or perhaps even a disadvantage.

In sum, there are several reasons to put a stop to illegal immigration. But among the most important and forgotten is the insidious destruction of what it means to be a citizen.

Victor Davis Hanson is a Martin and Illie Anderson senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.


Marcia M. Ferris
Register Guard
April 6, 2017

Where did Nancy Van Buskirk (letters, April 4) get her figures? Like the liberal media, she provides no verifiable sources other than “a study” and “another study” to “prove” that illegal immigrants “have not cost the American taxpayer a dime.”

I beg to differ. According to a landmark study published in 2013 by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) titled “The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States Taxpayers,” illegal immigration costs taxpayers approximately $113 billion yearly — an average cost to each household headed by a U.S. citizen of $1,117 annually. This money goes for public education, English instruction classes, health care, justice and law enforcement, public assistance and general government services.

A study by FAIR showed that approximately 170,000 illegal immigrants cost Oregon’s taxpayers $1.98 billion in 2010, but they paid only an estimated $76.5 million in taxes, leaving a shortfall of some $1 billion for Oregon natives to pick up; roughly $730 per household. Those costs have no doubt increased as our illegal alien population has burgeoned.

FAIR is a non-profit organization based in D.C. advocating the reduction of immigration. Why? Because the organization believes our country can no longer support the continuous and escalating drain on the economy created by supporting illegal immigrants, plus the loss of adequately paid jobs and the lowered standard of living for all. FAIR opposes discrimination on any basis, but advocates strict enforcement of existing immigration laws.