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Your calls urgently needed

Alert date: 
April 20, 2013
Alert body: 

If you have been wondering if there is anything you can do to help this sinking ship, which is called Oregon, I URGE you to call as many Legislators as you possibly can and ask them to please vote NO on Senate bill 833. 

This bill is very thinly veiled with unsubstantiated proclamations of public safety all while ignoring the simple fact that illegal aliens aren't supposed to be in our country at all...let alone driving back and forth to their jobs!

Call Committee members today and tell them you are very disappointed they have voted to advance this bill:

Sen. Lee Beyer (503) 986-1706 sen.leebeyer@state.or.us

Sen Bruce Starr (503) 986-1715 sen.brucestarr@state.or.us (thank him for voting NO)

Sen. Chris Edwards (503) 986-1707 sen.chrisedwards@state.or.us

Sen. Fred Girod (503) 986-1709 sen.fredgirod@state.or.us (thank him for voting NO)

Se. Rod Monroe (503) 986-1724 sen.rodmonroe@state.or.us

Sen. Chuck Thomsen (503) 986-1726 sen.chuckthomsen@state.or.us

Then, call your own Legislator:  http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/home.htm and tell them you are a constituent and you do not want this bill to pass.  It's bad for Oregon.

 


 

Cops bust two drug mules on the same bus

In what police are calling a startling coincidence, two men with no connection to each other were arrested in Jackson County last week on the same northbound bus, both allegedly hauling pounds of heroin and methamphetamine.

Medford Drug and Gang Enforcement officials said the men were not working with each other. They just happened to get on the same bus in California with bags full of drugs, MADGE Lt. Brett Johnson said.

"We have no reason to believe these two were working with each other because the packaging was totally different and so were the drugs," Johnson said. "It's clear their drugs did not come from the same batch."

MADGE received a tip from federal agents who said Vincente Gomez-Chavez had 4.5 pounds of heroin and 1 pound of meth with him on a bus.

MADGE stopped the bus on April 9 near Phoenix and found Gomez-Chavez's stash, which Johnson said was some of the purest heroin local officers have seen in some time.

"This looked like it was poured directly from the lab and into the bags," Johnson said. "It would be too pure for anyone to use."

Usually heroin is mixed with several other materials to expand its volume and therefore its value, Johnson said.

Johnson said the meth found in Gomez-Chavez's luggage was a potent type of crystal most likely brewed in a super lab in Mexico. Gomez-Chavez would not provide a hometown, but police said they believe he lives in California.

As MADGE was checking the luggage officers learned that another man on the bus also was believed to be moving a load of drugs through the area.

Officers approached Jaime Joel Ruiz-Perez, 27, of Salem, and said they found that he had several plastic containers filled with meth stored on the bus.

The meth was from a different batch than that found on Gomez-Chavez, though it, too, was high quality, Johnson said.

"He had them broken into 11 containers, which equaled about a pound each," Johnson said.

Between the two of them, police figure about $700,000 in drugs was on the bus.

"It just happened that they were two guys on the same bus line with a large amount of drugs," Johnson said. "Whoever was their supplier is not going to be happy to lose that amount of drugs."

Both men remain lodged in the Jackson County Jail without bail.

Throughout the year, MADGE periodically stops buses rolling up and down the interstate.

"In this case, we had separate tips and worked them at the same stop," Johnson said.

Driver’s license bill likely to prevail

SALEM — At the urging of immigrant rights groups, several significant business associations and Gov. John Kitzhaber, lawmakers appear likely to approve a bipartisan bill this session that would create a new short-term driving license for illegal immigrants.

Proponents believe the concept is grounded in realism, allowing a population that already lives and works in Oregon to drive legally and with insurance, until various immigration-related issues are comprehensively addressed at the federal level.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of Oregonians who have a visceral conviction that the policy gives an unwarranted benefit to lawbreakers, encouraging more illegal immigrants to come to the state, and without necessarily making the state’s roads any safer. Those conflicting viewpoints were expressed in full voice at a heavily attended first public hearing Thursday on Senate Bill 833. Although public testimony was limited to two minutes per person, many who had signed up to testify were unable to do so at the two-hour hearing, while those watching the proceedings spilled into at least three overflow rooms.

Mariana Alvarez Flores of Salem said she had taken the day off from her job as a farm laborer to testify to the committee in favor of the bill.

“I don’t like driving without a license, but right now I have no other option,” she said through a translator.

Conversely, Cynthia Kendoll, the president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform, said the proposal “is wrong on every level.”

“Just because you can pass a bill, doesn’t mean you should,” she said.

Under SB 833, four-year licenses — rather than the eight-year licenses possessed by most Oregon drivers — could be granted to individuals who can provide proof of identity and at least one year of Oregon residency.

The new type of licenses would be slightly more expensive than typical Class C licenses, at $74 with a $54 renewal fee after four years, although several amendments are being considered that would lower the amounts.

No commercial license would be similarly made available.

Sen. Chuck Thomsen, a Hood River Republican who is co-sponsoring the bill, noted that the licenses, or “driving cards” as they may ultimately be named, wouldn’t allow a holder to register to vote, or to purchase a gun. They also couldn’t be used as a legal form of identification for miscellaneous non-driving purposes, as typical licenses can be, he added.

“This is a very important piece of legislation that affects a lot of ... good people and their families who live here in Oregon,” he said.

Rep. Kim Thatcher, a Keizer Republican, was one of several who testified who cited examples of vehicle accidents involving illegal immigrants.

“I tell you this story not because I think all people without (citizenship) documents are driving around drunk,” she said. But “this is an illustration of what can happen when we issue licenses to people who shouldn’t have them to begin with.”

No further public hearings on the proposal are expected in the Senate. The bill has been scheduled for a work session on Monday, where it could be amended and voted to the chamber floor.

Jose Lizarraras-Chacon needs a driver license

Jose Lizarraras-Chacon and his wife Maria Gonzalez-Torres want their driver licenses restored so they can continue to sell heroin.  By not reporting the income she earned selling drugs, Maria was able to collect over $1,100 in welfare benefits, as well. They will need to wait a few years, however.

Read the full article here.
 

69% Favor Use of U.S. Military on Border to Keep Mexican Drug Violence Out

Voters remain more concerned about Mexican drug violence coming to this country than they are about illegal immigration, and most favor use of the U.S. military on the border to prevent it. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 34% of Likely U.S. Voters are more concerned about illegal immigration. Fifty-seven percent (57%) worry more about drug violence. (To see survey question wording, click here.) Those figures are little changed from four years ago.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on April 3-4, 2013 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC.

Senate Rejects Amendment to Deny Amnestied Illegal Aliens ObamaCare

In a telling vote early Saturday morning, the Senate rejected an amendment (#614) by true immigration reformer Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to the Senate's 2014 budget bill that would deny illegal aliens ObamaCare and Medicaid in the event Congress passes an amnesty bill later this year. (The Hill, Mar. 23, 2013)

"My amendment would simply say if you are here illegally and then get lawful status, you do not qualify for ObamaCare and Medicaid," explained Sen. Sessions ahead of the vote. (The Hill, Mar. 23, 2013) Long-time pro-amnesty Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), a member of the Senate "Gang of Eight" who was recently investigated for hiring an illegal alien intern, argued against the Sessions' amendment, saying "current law already explicitly excludes undocumented people from receiving benefits." (Id.)

Although illegal aliens are prohibited from receiving subsidized healthcare under ObamaCare, non-immigrants and immigrants (green card holders) are allowed coverage. This means that if Congress grants amnesty to the 11-12 million illegal aliens currently in the U.S., those aliens will be eligible for subsidized healthcare from day one of legalization. So far, the Senate "Gang of Eight" proposal does nothing to prohibit illegal aliens from receiving these benefits.

Republican Senators Susan Collins (ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK) voted with the Democrat majority to deny the sensible reform measure 43 to 56. To see whether your Senators voted to support subsidized healthcare for amnestied aliens, check the vote here. To find your Members of Congress to tell them to oppose Obamacare and other benefits for amnestied aliens, click here.

DHS plans to release 5,000 illegal immigrants due to sequestration

House investigators learned Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials developed plans to release about 5,000 illegal immigrant detainees, although Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has denied responsibility for the decision.

“An internal document obtained by the House Judiciary Committee shows that Administration officials at ICE prepared cold calculations to release thousands of criminal aliens onto the streets and did not demonstrate any consideration of the impact this decision would have on the safety of Americans,” committee chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., announced.

The ICE document contains a table that proposes “reduc[ing] invoiced daily population by 1,000 weekly.” Between February 22 and March 31st, this plan would drop the number of detainees from 30,748 to 25,748.

“The decision to release detained aliens undermines the Department of Homeland Security’s mission to keep our homeland secure and instead makes our communities less safe and more vulnerable to crime,” Goodlatte said. “[R]egardless of sequestration, DHS actually has plenty of funding to pay for the detention of criminal aliens. Unfortunately, it seems Administration officials are more interested in using sequestration to promote their political agenda than as an opportunity to get our nation’s fiscal house in order.”

Napolitano said that it wasn’t her decision, even though ICE is part of DHS. “Detainee populations and how that is managed back and forth is really handled by career officials in the field,” she told ABC.

She also confirmed that the releases would continue. “We are going to manage our way through this by identifying the lowest risk detainees, and putting them into some kind of alternative to release,” Napolitano said at a Politico event, per The Daily Caller.

The New York Times profiled a “low risk” detainee released by ICE. The detainee was taken into custody “when it was discovered that he had violated probation for a conviction in 2005 of simple assault, simple battery and child abuse, charges that sprung from a domestic dispute with his wife at the time.” NRO’s Jim Geraghty asked, “If convictions for ‘simple assault, simple battery and child abuse’ make you ‘low-risk,’ what do you have to do for Janet Napolitano to consider you ‘high-risk’?”

A Washington Narrative Meets Reality

During his visit to El Paso in May 2011, President Obama mocked calls for border security. After declaring that sufficient measures had been taken to stem illegal crossings, he joked that his critics would always demand more, perhaps even calling for alligators in a moat. While the line drew howls from the national media, local residents did not laugh. The quip revealed only ignorance or callousness to the escalating dangers that are part of their daily life. Since that time the administration has repeatedly declared the border more secure than ever while simultaneously making it more vulnerable with executive pardons for whole classes of illegal aliens and calls for a mass amnesty that have triggered an exponential increase in human smuggling.

We got a local perspective of the situation during our recent tour through south Texas. Led by Jerry Kammer, our group followed the Rio Grande from Del Rio to Brownsville on an itinerary that covered more than 1,100 miles. In meetings with various people along the way, common themes emerged: Illegal crossings are soaring, violence and exploitation are routine, and area residents are increasingly alienated.

A group of ranchers who manage game lands about 70 miles from the border told us that they have seen a 500 percent increase in illegal-alien traffic since last summer. In past years the flow has fluctuated with the seasons, but there has been no recent cessation. Nearly every day they encounter groups of illegal aliens who have been left by smugglers to wander the vast landscape. Sometimes they find dead bodies or loads of drugs. The Border Patrol can take hours or even days to arrive because of staff limitations and the agents will not come at all if the number of illegal aliens reported is deemed too small. It is estimated that only 10 percent are detained.

The continuous flow of human traffic requires constant vigilance from the ranchers, who must devote considerable time to managing the dangers and disruptions. Another group we spoke to agreed with this assessment and is working closely with the county sheriff, the state’s Department of Public Safety, and volunteers in attempts to stem the flow.

Throughout the region people told us that illegal crossings have increased significantly. These observations parallel recent trends in Arizona. Just south of Laredo we stopped for a few minutes beside the Rio Grande and happened to see Border Patrol agents apprehend a group of Honduran illegal aliens who had just crossed in the middle of the afternoon. The incident occurred on private property belonging to a couple who told us that foreign nationals cross through their land on almost a daily basis.

A woman we visited near Brownsville told us that the commotion from people crossing regularly wakes her at night. She advised against driving down to the river, which is only a few hundred feet from her house, even though it was midday. She said that a local golf course has recently lost business and that the University of Texas at Brownsville has had to relocate student parking because of gunfire coming from the border.

Two of Mexico’s most notorious gangs, the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel, are headquartered just across the river in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Their influence has been so devastating to civil society that some observers say Tamaulipas is a failed state. A couple years ago, authorities found the bodies of 72 Central and South Americans who were slaughtered en masse after refusing to work for a drug gang who had intercepted them on their way to America. The violence has eroded any sense of community. Jim Kuykendall, the former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s office in Guadalajara, told us that public events such as festivals and rodeos no longer take place.

A young woman who manages a motel in Rio Grande City said that her family owns a house just across the river. They have been unable to collect rent from their delinquent tenant for four years because they will not risk venturing into the area, which she describes as a ghost town. Not one person we spoke to in the entire region still travels into Mexico.

The people who live on this side of the Rio Grande say that the cartels are always monitoring their property in order to funnel drugs and humans into the country and that theft and vandalism are rampant. Dob Cunningham, a retired border patrolman who was born and raised on the border, claims that the behavior of the crossers has fundamentally changed. Decades ago most illegal aliens came from rural parts of Mexico. They were tough young men who came on their own, respected property, and offered to do the most menial tasks in exchange for assistance. Cunningham says that illegal aliens now arrive from all over the world. They pay smugglers exorbitant fees to get them into the United States and are ruthlessly exploited, oftentimes kidnapped, raped, or forced to carry loads of drugs.

Recently retired Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez has spent more than 30 years enforcing the law in Zapata County. He served his last 16 years as sheriff after his predecessor was indicted for drug smuggling, an offense that is now routinely committed by law enforcement officials along the border. The sheriff told us stories of nihilistic violence as he showed us around San Ygnacio, Zapata, and Falcon Lake.

He said that the Mexican side is patrolled by young gang members armed with automatic weapons. The cartels, always looking for ways to shock and intimidate competing organizations, have resorted to gruesome methods of execution. Severed torsos and bodies that have been boiled to death have been found. The violence is mostly meted out on rival syndicates, but sometimes innocents get caught in the struggle. This is what Gonzalez alleged happened in the highly-publicized murder of David Hartley, who was sightseeing on Falcon Lake with his wife. Mexican authorities later arrested a Zeta member in the case.

Sheriff Gonzalez explained that spillover violence in Zapata has typically been home invasion burglaries. Wealthy border residents with no apparent connection to the drug trade have been targeted. What is more prevalent, however, is a type of capitulation along the border. While showing us around downtown Laredo, Kuykendall explained how vibrant and exciting the city was in his youth. Those days are gone as fancy shops and hotels have been replaced with thrift stores and rundown housing. Days before we visited, three grenades exploded feet from the U.S. consulate across the river in Nuevo Laredo. Such incidents have had a depreciating effect on local enterprise. Longtime border residents have witnessed dramatic changes. Kuykendall says that there are so many illegal aliens in Laredo nobody really makes a distinction. Two nations have become one. This includes the influence of the cartels, which employ a growing number of people on this side of the border.

In the midst of all this, residents are alienated. Mexican authorities have proven incapable of combating the cartels and they actually encourage illegal immigration. But more frustrating than the corruption there, is the political environment here. Despite his years in the Border Patrol, Cunningham emphatically stated that he fears being prosecuted by the United States federal government more than being harmed by foreign nationals. He knows several people who are serving lengthy prison terms for trying to stop illicit activity.

The perception that federal prosecutors are focused on diplomacy and accommodation rather than law and order also applies to the Department of Homeland Security. Most of the people we spoke to have good working relationships with their local Border Patrol agents. But climbing the political hierarchy brings disillusionment. Washington has repeatedly made decisions that undermine enforcement, so much so that the Border Patrol unions devote a considerable amount of time fighting management to retain their stated responsibilities. Swaths of the border go unmonitored due to inadequate numbers and agents who do their job face political obstacles. This has led Sheriff Gonzalez to believe that the only way to secure the border is through local control.

Recent declarations that the border is secure are intended to encourage congressional passage of a mass amnesty. The politicians and activists who are pushing this couch their efforts in humanitarian terms, questioning the morality of those in opposition. But what they do not understand is that amnesty benefits human smugglers. Their business of exploiting the desperate booms every time a careless politician or commentator starts self-righteously talking about a pathway to citizenship. Such talk creates chaos on the border and undermines the rule of law.


 


 

Immigrant tuition equity bill is not an equitable solution

Passage of the so-called tuition equity bill was neither surprising nor equitable.

Tears flowed, children were paraded to the Oregon House floor and galleries to witness their “historic” moment and representatives employed hyperbole alleging that through no fault of their own, these students cannot afford college. Headlines the next day obliged this sensational spin on a complex issue.

I don’t feel sorry for these youngsters or guilty about their situation. I saw possibility in their faces and I feel pride for a country where the mistakes of parents cannot dim the hope of a child to follow the American dream.

The federal government has failed to protect our borders and enforce a sane immigration policy. Oregon hasn’t done much better. But can we ignore the sheer numbers of undocumented folks in our communities? The “round ’em up and send ’em back” mentality is not only ridiculous in the Willamette Valley, it smells of bigotry.

The reality is, despite shoddy immigration practices and the difficulty of raising a family under a dark cloud of illegal residency, we have an undeniable mass of undocumented citizens the majority of whom are hardworking, honest neighbors.

They’ve been here a long time and have provided much of the work force that sustains our region’s agricultural foundation. They’ve done back-breaking work and many now manage farms, nurseries or work in numerous vocations. Are we surprised that now their children and grandchildren want a higher education and to attend football games as bona fide Ducks or Beavers?

Republicans and Democrats are ready to offer in-state tuition to these children but the bill was rushed to the floor last week and is deeply flawed.

Addressing fairness for some while disallowing provisions for veterans currently ineligible for in-state tuition or ignoring American students now paying out-of-state tuition is not fair at all. The bill received one two-hour public hearing, thereby disallowing many to even testify. Some amendments were allowed but efforts for substantive improvement were largely ignored and I couldn’t support it as written.

The debate barely acknowledged impending federal immigration policy now boiling over in Washington, D.C. and the effect on Oregon. The fiscal analysis was pathetically vague and testimony about projected costs ranged from negligible to millions of dollars of lost revenue. Further, a prudent sunset clause to re-examine this noble experiment was rejected out of hand.

Perhaps the most troubling omission is the refusal to provide clarity for students to obtain citizenship and permission to work legally during their college studies and, most importantly, after graduation. This glaring error puts the graduates and Oregon businesses in an untenable lurch.

In the quest for “historic headlines,” I fear the House of Representatives has set up to fail the very children we want to assist. I’m not fond of the phrase: “Fix it on the Senate side,” but now that may be the only hope to find tuition equity for all Oregonians and students wishing to study here.


Vic Gilliam / Special to the Statesman Journal

Rep. Vic Gilliam, R-Silverton, is a member of the House Committee on Higher Education & Workforce Development and the Committee on Human Services & Housing. He can be reached at (503) 986-1418 or Rep.VicGilliam@state.or.us.

 

DHS releasing hundreds of illegal immigrants, blaming budget cuts

The Department of Homeland Security has started releasing hundreds of illegal immigrants held in local jails in anticipation of automatic budget cuts, in a move one Arizona sheriff called politically motivated -- and dangerous.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said Tuesday that Immigration and Customs Enforcement released more than 500 detainees in his county alone over the weekend. A spokesman for Babeu told FoxNews.com that ICE officials have said they plan to release a total of nearly 10,000 illegal immigrants.

The numbers, though, are in dispute. ICE officials said that it's unclear how many ultimately might be released and that only 303 have been released from four Arizona facilities so far, though all those are in Pinal County. According to ICE, 2,280 detainees are still in custody in those facilities.

Babeu described the move as a "mass budget pardon" and suggested the administration was going to unnecessary lengths to demonstrate the impact of the so-called sequester.

"President Obama would never release 500 criminal illegals to the streets of his hometown, yet he has no problem with releasing them in Arizona. The safety of the public is threatened and the rule of law discarded as a political tactic in this sequester battle," he said.

An ICE spokeswoman confirmed the plans without specifying how many illegal immigrants might be released.

Spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said ICE had directed field offices to make sure the "detained population" is "in line with available funding." She stressed that ICE would continue to prosecute the cases while keeping them under supervision.

"Over the last week, ICE has reviewed several hundred cases and placed these individuals on methods of supervision less costly than detention," she said. "All of these individuals remain in removal proceedings. Priority for detention remains on serious criminal offenders and other individuals who pose a significant threat to public safety."

The announcement comes after DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano on Monday warned about the potential impact of the cuts. She said the department "would not be able to maintain the 34,000 detention beds as required by Congress."

"We're doing our very best to minimize the impacts of sequester. But there's only so much I can do," she said. "I'm supposed to have 34,000 detention beds for immigration. How do I pay for those?"

Republicans in Congress, though, have challenged the numerous Obama Cabinet secretaries warning about the devastating impact to their departments. With cuts set to take effect Friday and no deal in sight to avert them, Republicans claim the administration is trying to make the cuts seem worse than they are -- some want to give the administration more leeway so that high-priority agencies don't get hit as hard.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., called the move to release illegal immigrants "abhorrent." "By releasing criminal immigrants onto the streets, the administration is needlessly endangering American lives," he said in a statement.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., also said "these savings could be much more safely and rationally achieved."

In Arizona, Babeu slammed the move, painting his community as a victim of gridlock in Washington.

"Clearly, serious criminals are being released to the streets of our local communities by this mass budget pardon. These are illegals that even President Obama wants to deport. This is insane that public safety is sacrificed when it should be the budget priority that's safeguarded," he said.
 

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