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.

William R. Schneider
July 25, 2012

Gov. John Kitzhaber’s attempt to reinstate driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants is really aiding them to use licenses for identification of all kinds and weakens our attempt to stop terrorist and other illegal activities.

Also, if one is in our country illegally, they should not be able to drive to work because it is illegal to hire an illegal immigrant.

Please call your representatives and tell them you do not want illegal immigrants to have driver’s licenses.


S. Rob Sobhani
The Washington Times
July 13, 2012

When people talk about the problem with immigration, they usually are referring to illegals. It is easy to scapegoat the rule-breakers who escape corrupt countries such as El Salvador and Mexico for a better life in America. But the truth is, the 11 million or 12 million illegals in this country represent just a fraction of the problem. Along with globalization, legal — not illegal — immigration threatens to demolish the American middle class.

While illegal immigrants pose a direct challenge to low-wage earners in America, immigration from countries such as Russia, India, China and Venezuela crowds out job opportunities for America’s middle class. As I write this, our nation is suffering a severe jobs crisis, with unemployment around 8.2 percent. Nearly 20 million Americans struggle every day to find employment. It seems counterintuitive to allow more people to enter the United States and, by default, fill jobs Americans desperately need, but that is exactly what our government has been doing for a long time. According to the Department of Homeland Security, there were 9.1 million immigrant admissions between 2000 and 2009. By law, each of those immigrants is entitled to petition for entry for family members, and the numbers keep skyrocketing, totaling more than 30 million admissions since 1980. Though those immigrants’ entry is lawful, understandable and in the spirit of what makes America such a great magnet, it is devastating to jobless citizens who are left feeling disenfranchised and neglected.

In an era when the nature of economic activity in our nation has shifted from manufacturing to the service industry (banking, construction, hospitality, health care, fast-food chains, computers) immigrants crowd out the existing job seekers. For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in June 2011, the United States had 2.118 million unemployed residents with bachelor’s or more advanced degrees. There is no question that a percentage of them are competing with legal immigrants who have similar skill sets.

The threat of unlimited legal immigration to our economy and jobs picture is real and urgent. Consider the example of Russia. According to the Russian Public Opinion Research Center, 22 percent of Russians — or more than 31 million people — want to leave the country. In the 18-to 24 age group, the number is almost 40 percent. The reasons are corruption, lack of economic opportunity and an increasingly stifling political environment. Imagine for a moment if Russia were our neighbor instead of Mexico. We would have at least 31 million people vying for a chance to come over our border for a new beginning. Clearly, that wouldn’t be sustainable. Whom would we be helping if we allowed all those Russians who want to leave to immigrate to the United States? Certainly not Russia’s leaders, who would become even less motivated to establish good governance. All those creative and highly skilled Russians who want and deserve a better life would create an even more precarious situation for American job seekers with the same creativity and skill sets. Open borders create a lose-lose situation.

If we fail to limit chain immigration, the American middle class will continue to suffer. We cannot afford for conditions to worsen. Currently, the unemployment rate for men between ages 25 and 34 with high school diplomas is 14.4 percent, up from 6.1 percent four years ago. According to professor Ralph Catalano of the University of California at Berkeley, “We are at risk of having a generation of young males who are not well-connected to the labor market and who do not feel strong ownership of community or society because they have not benefited from it.” And when the economy does pick up, employers are ready to hire immigrants for lower wages, thus overlooking native Americans.

Baby boomers also are facing a jobs bust. The Labor Department reports that the average duration of unemployment for a 55- to 64-year-old is 56.6 weeks. Without full-time jobs, older Americans are short on money and afraid of what lies ahead. There are 4 million Americans aged 55 to 64 who cannot find full-time work. This number has doubled in five years, while during this same period, we have allowed 6 million people into the country legally through family reunification.

We must fix the entire immigration system to provide jobs and justice to all involved. Our narrative on immigration needs to shift from nostalgia to how it impacts the economic well-being of America and its citizens.

To that end, I have a simple proposal: Limit the number of legal immigrants by making changes in family-reunification policies, and at the same time loosen the restrictions on tourist and visitor visas. This is compassionate, fair and in America’s interest. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 1.3 million jobs would be created if the U.S. share of the travel market were restored to 2000 levels. In 2000, 50.9 million people visited the United States and produced 18 million jobs. Imagine the economic boom if we added another 10 million visitors per year. Essentially, we would tell the world, “We want you to visit, but we don’t want you to stay.”

As with any society, America’s middle class is the anchor of our liberal democratic system of government. We must preserve our middle class by fixing our broken immigration system.

Rob Sobhani is CEO of Caspian Group Holdings and author of “Press 2 for English: Fix Immigration, Save America” (Caspian Publishing, 2012).

Charles Krauthammer
July 5, 2012

WASHINGTON — Though overshadowed by the Supreme Court decision on health care, the court’s Arizona immigration decision, issued three days earlier, remains far more significant than appreciated.

It was generally viewed as mixed or ambiguous because the Justice Department succeeded in striking down three of the law’s provisions. However, regarding the law’s central and most controversial element — requiring officers to inquire into the immigration status of anyone picked up for some other violation — the ruling was definitive, indeed unanimous.

No liberal-conservative divide here. Not a single justice found merit in the administration’s claim that this “show me your papers” provision constituted an impermissible pre-emption of federal authority.

On what grounds unconstitutional? Presumably because state officials would be asking about the immigration status of all, rather than adhering to the federal enforcement priorities regarding which illegal aliens would not be subject to deportation.

For example, under the Obama administration’s newly promulgated regulations, there’ll be no more deportation of young people brought here illegally as children (and meeting certain chronological criteria). Presumably, therefore, the Arizona law is invalid because an officer might be looking into the status of a young person the feds now classify as here legally.

Beyond being logically ridiculous — if a state law is unconstitutional because it’s out of sync with the federal government’s current priorities, does it become constitutional again when federal policy changes? — this argument is “an astounding assertion of federal executive power,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito in a concurrence. The Obama Justice Department is suggesting that “a state law may be pre-empted, not because it conflicts with a federal statute or regulation, but because it is inconsistent with a federal agency’s current enforcement priorities. Those priorities, however, are not law. They are nothing more than agency policy.”

And there’s the rub: the Obama administration’s inability to distinguish policy from law. This becomes particularly perverse regarding immigration when, as Justice Antonin Scalia points out, what the administration delicately calls its priorities is quite simply a determination not to enforce the law as passed.

This is what makes so egregious the Obama claim that Arizona is impermissibly undermining federal law. “To say, as the court does,” writes Scalia regarding those parts of the law struck down by the majority, “that Arizona contradicts federal law by enforcing applications of the Immigration Act that the president declines to enforce boggles the mind.”

Consider this breathtaking cascade: An administration violates its constitutional duty to execute the law by deliberately refusing to enforce it. It then characterizes its non-enforcement as simply establishing priorities. It then tries to strike down a state law on immigration on the grounds that it contradicts federal law — by actually trying to enforce it!

The logic is circular, oxymoronic and the very definition of executive overreach. During the Bush-43 years, we were repeatedly treated to garment-rending about the imperial presidency, to major hyperventilation about the “unitary executive.” Yet the current administration’s imperiousness has earned little comparable attention.

Perhaps because President Obama has been so ineffective. It’s hard to call someone imperial who’s failed so consistently. Or maybe not. You can surely be imperial and unsuccessful. Waterloo comes to mind.

Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, DC 20071. Send email to letters@charleskrauthammer.com.

Roger Provost - Redmond
bend bulletin.com
July 5, 2012

On June 25, the Supreme Court upheld the heart of Arizona’s SB 1070 illegal alien law. Since the president did not agree with the Supreme Court’s decision, within hours the Obama administration canceled the immigration enforcement partnership with the state. This kind of reminds me of when I was a kid, and Johnny was the only kid in the neighborhood who had a ball and a bat. If Johnny didn’t get to pitch, he took his ball and bat and went home.

Tom Sheffield
July 5, 2012

I would just like to express my opinion to Allan Jay Silver's letter to the editor on June 27, "Let's welcome Mexicans."

Let's point out the high unemployment rate, which I may add was talked about right next to Mr. Silver's letter. Who supports these individuals when they come over with no job or insurance? It is almost like saying let's welcome someone who breaks the law.

Whose fault is it that the cartels got quite a few guns by killing an innocent American? The answer is our federal government, which is sworn to protect us from evil.

I may also add that because so many have come over, there has been an increase in crime rates in those states like Arizona. This is what led that state to take some action, which I applaud them for, although I am somewhat disappointed in the justices in that case.

I will admit what frustrates me the most is a lot of those individuals try to gain citizenship after they came here illegally. I am proud to admit that I took the proper channels to get my wife and daughter over here from China. It wasn't a free ride like these people coming from Mexico are expecting after breaking the law.

Does this mean that maybe I am entitled to get the money back that was spent to get them here? This latest move that our president made most definitely is politically motivated, and anyone who doesn't believe that would also believe they install screen doors on submarines.


July 2, 2012

Logic has nothing to do with how the Supreme Court decides some cases. This was evident especially in the decision that threw out most of Arizona’s law on illegal immigration.

Justice Kennedy took note of the fact that the federal government has not been able to come up with better ways to enforce the immigration laws or to change the laws, and he wrote:

“Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the state may not pursue policies that undermine federal law.”

How does a state undermine federal law by trying to enforce it? Or trying to help the federal authorities to enforce it?

Federal law says foreign nationals are not to enter the United States except by meeting certain regulations, and if they do so anyway in violation of the law, they’re not supposed to be able to get a paying job in this country.

Arizona, which being on the border has more issues with this than many other states, was trying to carry out the law, not to undermine it.

States that pass medical marijuana laws, like Oregon, do undermine federal law. But Arizona? On the immigration front it was just trying to do its part.

Mike Alsworth
July 2, 2012

While watching Meet the Press recently, it became evident to me that we can’t solve the immigration problem because we haven’t the stomach for it.

We in this country have been raised to believe that there is a pain-free solution to every problem that we face personally, locally, nationally and worldwide. We are taught that life can be fair, everyone has a right to prosperity without contribution and any problem can be solved through spending. This has resulted in many problems that harm our way of life. An example is the immigration issue.

There is no painless solution to this problem! Only the delusional think there is. Our leadership is preoccupied over who benefits, pays or gets blamed.

Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Many Americans take this to heart. Our leadership does not.

It is time for the president, Congress and the elite of this country to do what is right even if it is a liability to them. Don’t hide behind protection of the children to shirk your duty. You caused the problem by not upholding our laws ... now fix it!


Gregory C Pluchos - Redmond
bend bulletin.com
June 28, 2012

To be sure, the president of the United States is the most powerful position in the world. That position is entrusted to only those that the electorate deems trustworthy enough to occupy such a daunting responsibility.

President Barack Obama has broken that trust by circumventing Congress to grant immunity from deportation to illegal aliens under the age of 30, if they meet certain criteria that he established.

It was said that part of the benefit would be to keep families together. That being the case, would the parents of these unlawful interlopers be given special dispensation from our immigration laws as well?

Will those who take a job during these renewable visas be entitled to unemployment if laid off? Medical care, public paid education, federally subsidized housing, food stamps, Medicare, Social Security and a myriad of other benefits paid for by legal taxpaying citizens?

The president is sworn to uphold the laws of these United States of America. He is not doing his job and not following the oath of office he swore to honor. Plainly, he is trying to garner votes and doing so with a blatant transparency that is insulting to every American citizen capable of a nonpartisan thought. Hopefully our next president will have more honor.


Joe Guzzardi
June 28, 2012

The headlines about the Supreme Court decision on Arizona S. B. 1070 indicate that the justices cut the bill back to its bare bones.

In June 2010, Arizona passed legislation that allows law enforcement officers to inquire about immigration status when an individual is lawfully detained and suspected to be illegally present. But this week’s headlines are misleading. The law’s key provision, proof of status, remains.

Both camps, the pro-S.B. 1070 enforcement advocates and the anti-S.B. 1070 critics, claim the Court delivered them a victory.

Critics point to the Supreme Court invalidating three of the bill’s four provisions. Since President Obama ordered the Justice Department to sue Arizona, his supporters hailed the Court’s decision as a major triumph.

The emotionally charged, two year long debate about S.B. 1070 has always focused on whether the police should have the right to ask about legal presence with reasonable cause during a lawful stop. On that point, the Supreme Court upheld Arizona’s right in an 8-0 unanimous vote.

The three points the Supreme Court tossed were minor: 1) to make failure to comply with federal alien-registration requirements a state misdemeanor, 2) to establish a misdemeanor for an illegal alien to seek or engage in work in the State and 3) to authorize state and local officers to arrest without a warrant a person an officer has probable cause to believe has committed a public offense that makes the person removable from the United States.

Think back two years ago. None of the rejected arguments were the focus of the nationwide screaming match between the pro and anti forces. The confrontations centered exclusively on whether S.B. 1070, called the “show me your papers” law by it opponents, would result in “racial profiling.”

The court found that improbable and unanimously agreed that it’s constitutional to ask for proper identification under certain circumstances. From the majority opinion, the court noted that the law, as written, expressly forbids profiling. From his opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that there are three such limits in S.B. 1070 including one that officers “may not consider race, color or national origin . . . except to the extent permitted by the United States [and] Arizona Constitution[s].”

The outrage from S.B. 1070’s detractors proves who lost. Janet Murguia, National Council of La Raza’s chief executive officer, said the ruling places a “bull’s eye” on the backs of Arizona’s Hispanics. The American Civil Liberties Union admitted defeat and immediately launched a fund raising drive to, according to its email alert, “stop anti-immigrant laws from spreading across the nation.”

The court’s decision delivered on top of Obama’s recent announcement that illegal immigrants age 16-30 as well as other “low priority aliens” excused in his proclamation last year will not be deported assures that immigration policy will be front and center until November.

Justices Kennedy and Scalia, the ultimate non-partisans, had cautionary words for Obama who has decided that he alone determines immigration law. Observing that Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have all ignored federal immigration law, Justice Kennedy wrote that Arizona “bears many of the consequences of illegal immigration” as evidenced by an “epidemic of crime, safety risks, serious property damage, and environmental problems.”

Justice Scalia, in a scathing spoken address, noted that because of Obama’s prosecutorial discretion hundreds of thousands of aliens are “now immune from enforcement” and “will be able to compete openly with Arizona citizens for jobs.” Added Justice Scalia: “To say, as the court (majority) does that Arizona contradicts federal (law) by enforcing application of the Immigration Act that the President declines to enforce boggles the mind."

The federal government, with Obama’s blessing and encouragement, not only refuses to enforce its own laws, but also has ordered high ranking officials like Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to break the law. Napolitano, in turn, orders to her agents to ignore immigration regulations and substitute Obama’s personal versions.

Under a totalitarian Obama, democracy is a fast fading memory.

Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org.


Jan Ting
June 28, 2012

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled against key parts of an Arizona law intended to deter illegal immigration in the state. As you can imagine, this ruling has wide-ranging effects for the ability of all states to fight against the tidal wave of illegal immigration locally.

The Supreme Court’s ruling means more illegal immigration tomorrow. For those trying to decide where or not to enter our country illegally, the risks and costs have just gone down, and the potential benefits have just increased. It would be more intellectually coherent for Congress to repeal our current immigration laws and just welcome all who would like to come without numerical limitation. The current policy of maintaining numerical limits on the books, but not enforcing those limits, and now prohibiting most state enforcement of those limits, simply makes no sense.

This policy is a slap in the face for the millions of qualified immigrants now waiting outside the U.S. for their chance to immigrate legally. They look like fools, and their children will age out and not be allowed to immigrate with them if they ever get visas.

The court gave broad support to the Obama administration’s policy of prosecutorial discretion, or limited enforcement of U.S. immigration law. The court cited with approval the administration’s 2011 memo announcing a policy of prosecutorial discretion in immigration enforcement, basically limited to criminals and national security threats. The court noted, “a primary feature of the removal system is the broad discretion exercised by immigration officials.” Prosecutorial discretion is what underlies the recent administration decision to give work authorization for illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. before age 16.

Most of Arizona’s efforts to deal with illegal immigration were struck down. Studies estimate that the unauthorized portion of Arizona's population currently sits somewhere between 6 percent and 9 percent. One study cited by the court found that the 8.9 percent unauthorized portion of Arizona’s population was responsible for 21.8 percent of Arizona’s felony crimes. The message to other states: No matter how bad it gets for you, you won’t be allowed to do what Arizona tried.

The court preserved a narrow window for state action to restrict illegal immigration. As determined last year in Whiting v. Chamber of Commerce, states can use licensing power to revoke the business licenses of employers who hire illegal immigrants without checking work authorization using the automated E-Verify procedure. This licensing power is also what the city of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, has tried to use in its anti-illegal immigration ordinances.

Secondly, the court permitted to stand the portion of the Arizona statute requiring a determination of immigration status anytime a police officer makes a legal stop and has a reasonable suspicion that the stopped individual may be illegal. That provision also specified that anyone actually arrested should have an immigration status determination before release. The high court approved that provision only on condition that it not result in practice in prolonged detention. The racial profiling argument is a loser; If it government had made an attempt to argue this, it could have be used to strike federal immigration law provisions as well.

This procedure for a mandatory immigration status check upon reasonable suspicion after a legal stop is already standard operating procedure in many jurisdictions throughout the United States. Arizona put it in SB1070 because certain Arizona “sanctuary city” jurisdictions were instructing their police not to do status checks despite reasonable suspicion.

Chief Justice Roberts's position in support of the majority opinion was surprising and curious. Justice Kennedy maintained his usual position as the key swing vote assigned to write the majority opinion, but if the Chief Justice had decided to vote along with his fellow Republican appointees, it would not have made a much of a difference. A 4-4 split, because Justice Kagen recused herself, would have left the lower court opinion in effect, striking all four of the challenged portions of SB1070.

Chief justices feel responsible for the image of the court as a whole, and hate to have the court viewed as ineffective and its opinions without meaning. I suspect the Chief Justice offered to vote with the majority, creating a decisive 5-3 majority vote, provided the majority agreed to sustain at least one of the contested provisions of SB1070 requiring an immigration status check after a legal stop if the police officer has a reasonable suspicion that the individual is without legal status. And, of course, that is what the majority proceeded to do.

Jan Ting is a Professor of Law at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law and a former Assistant Commissioner for Refugees, Asylum and Parole, Immigration and Naturalization Service, U.S. Department of Justice. Jan can be reached at janting@temple.edu.