Congress

Supreme Court must rebuke Obama's self-coronation: Texas AG

The president of the United States of America has declared that unlawful conduct is lawful.

It sounds unbelievable when you say it out loud, doesn’t it? The president, the person we trust to take care that the laws are faithfully executed, has declared illegal conduct to be legal?

But in 2014, President Obama did just that. He declared that four million unlawfully-present immigrants were now lawfully-present. How? Because he says so.

Unfortunately for the president, the Constitution does not let him do that. And on April 18, Texas will lead a coalition of 26 states before the United States Supreme Court to stop President Obama’s illegal immigration policy.

This lawsuit should not be groundbreaking. It is a question that was decided at the nation’s founding. Can one person unilaterally change the law?

Of course not. Our Founders drafted the Constitution to make clear that the people, through their elected representatives in Congress, have the authority to decide immigration policy for the United States.

In 2011, President Obama understood this. When asked about immigration reform, he addressed his supporters honestly, explaining that “I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own ... But that’s not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.”

But in 2014, the president was singing a different tune. He announced to the world, with a flick of his pen on an executive order, “I just took an action to change the law.”

The president had it right the first time. He did not have the power to unilaterally change the law. He does not have the power to override the will of the people as vested in our Constitution.

As James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 47, “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands ... may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

Make no mistake, this is about more than just immigration. If this blatant power-grab goes unchecked, nothing would stop a president from issuing an executive order dissolving the rights of gun owners in violation of the Second Amendment, nullifying the religious freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment or abolishing any other right that we hold dear.

Madison warned against one person deciding for the entire nation what the law shall be. It is the antithesis of who we are as Americans. In this country, the people, through their representatives, decide the law — not one person.

Or as President Obama once put it, “I am president. I am not a king. I can’t do these things just by myself.”

Exactly.

Ken Paxton is the Attorney General of Texas.

Obama's immigration order overreaches: Our view

Sometimes it seems the Supreme Court’s main purpose these days is to resolve disputes between Republicans and President Obama.

Toward the end of Obama’s first term, the court ruled on a challenge to his signature health care law. On Monday, as Obama approaches the end of his second term, the justices are set to consider his executive order that would allow millions of undocumented workers to avoid deportation.

Obama won the first of these cases. The court ruled, correctly in our view, that Obamacare's insurance mandate did not violate the Constitution. The president's backers hope and believe that the court will take a similar tack in U.S. v. Texas, finding that the case is a political squabble dressed up as a legal dispute.

That, however, would be a mistake.

To be sure, Obama’s quest to reform the immigration system is a worthy cause. Keeping millions of undocumented immigrants in a state of legal limbo makes little sense.

Like his predecessor, George W. Bush, Obama backed legislation to grant these immigrants a path to legal status while beefing up border enforcement and making needed changes to the legal immigration system. That legislation passed with bipartisan support in the Senate but ran into a buzz saw of opposition from conservatives in the House.

Faced with legislative gridlock, the president acted unilaterally. Obama’s 2014 order, known as the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, combined with a predecessor order he issued two years earlier, would allow as many as 5 million of the estimated 11 million undocumented people to remain in the United States without fear of deportation.

While courts have typically given great deference to presidents in matters of immigration, this is simply too sweeping a policy change to exclude the legislative branch. It does the right thing in the wrong way.

The order has many flaws. Because it could be rescinded by a future president, it would not give immigrants the certainty they'd need to come out from the shadows and fully participate in their communities. Because it addresses only undocumented workers, it would do nothing for backlogs in legal immigration and a shortage of skilled workers.

The order's biggest flaw, however, is the precedent it would set by giving the president sweeping authority to interpret immigration laws virtually any way he or she sees fit. The same people who think Obama should have broad powers over immigration enforcement will feel a lot differently if a Republican wins the White House in November.

Imagine what orders Ted Cruz or Donald Trump would issue if elected president. Trump has advocated mass deportations, temporarily banning entry of foreign Muslims, and building a border wall financed by confiscating the remittances that undocumented workers attempt to send to their families back home.

In an interview with NBC News this year, Trump said he wouldn't hesitate to issue executive orders, noting that Obama had “led the way” with his actions.

The court would be wise to limit the president's authority in this area, and leave Congress and the White House to work out through the legislative process how to handle undocumented immigrants, as maddening as that might be.

USA TODAY's editorial opinions are decided by its Editorial Board, separate from the news staff. Most editorials are coupled with an opposing view — a unique USA TODAY feature.
 

Main result of current prison reform bill likely would be release of criminal aliens into U.S. communities (with no deportations)

Unfortunately, the legislation being considered by Congress in response to concerns about overly-long prison sentences for Americans has been crafted to primarily benefit criminal aliens. (Those are not Americans but citizens of other countries who have been imprisoned for committing serious crimes in the U.S.)

That's the conclusion of our legislative affairs team after several weeks of scrutinizing documents and reports, and of meeting with a number of experts on the issue.

NumbersUSA takes no position on issues of sentencing reform for Americans.

But we have to get involved with the current sentencing reform legislation (companion bills S. 2123 and H.R. 3713) because most of the people who would benefit from it would be criminal aliens who would be helped to avoid deportation and to re-enter the job market to the detriment of struggling American workers.

Reports are surfacing in Washington that both chambers of Congress are preparing this spring to pass S. 2123 and H.R. 2713 which were approved by the respective Judiciary Committees last October.

Speaker Paul Ryan has called passing the legislation a priority. (See more on Ryan below.)

As currently written, the legislation would result in the massive release of criminal aliens from federal prisons into the streets. It could alternatively be called the Criminal Alien Prison Release Act of 2016, but that bill title probably wouldn't garner many votes in Congress.

The bills would retroactively reduce the minimum sentencing requirements for all individuals (regardless of their citizenship or immigration status) convicted of certain federal crimes. It would only apply to federal prisons, which comprise 9% of the entire incarcerated population in the United States.

Its impact on reforming sentencing guidelines for U.S. citizens would be minimal.

In a letter sent to Sen. Jeff Sessions last fall, the Federal Bureau of Prisons reported that 77% of individuals convicted of federal drug possession charges and more than 25% of individuals convicted of federal drug trafficking charges in FY2015 were non-citizens. Since these are the individuals who would most likely be released, you can see our concern with the legislation. Further, there is no requirement in the legislation that Immigration and Customs Enforcement take custody of a criminal alien who is released and remove them from the United States, even when theirconviction by current law should result in their immediate removal under current law.

In October of 2015, the Obama Administration released 6,600 inmates from federal prison after the U.S. Sentencing Commission revised its guidelines. One-third of those released were non-citizens. Shortly before the release, the Center for Immigration Studies uncovered a letter written by 14 immigration-expansionist organizations to the Department of Homeland Security, pleading with the Administration to consider the criminal aliens for prosecutorial discretion under Pres. Obama's 2014 executive actions.

"We urge ICE not to rush to judgment on these immigrants' cases, but instead to commit to ensuring individualized due process in each case. ...

"Each of these immigrants, including those with an "aggravated felony" and those with final removal orders, must be individually assessed for [Prosecutorial Discretion]. The 2014 DHS civil enforcement priorities memorandum specifies that removal of Priority 1 immigrants may be deprioritized if "there are compelling and exceptional factors that clearly indicate the alien is not a threat to national security, border security, or public safety and should not therefore be an enforcement priority."

The full letter can be read here.

Given the Administration's history on interior enforcement, the bills, as written, would allow tens of thousands of deportable criminal aliens to return to the American communities they victimized in the first place. Just last year, the Administration released 90,000 criminal aliens from custody -- roughly 60% of all criminal aliens it came in contact with. In fact, the criminal aliens who were responsible for the 2015 killing of Kate Steinle and the 2014 murders of California Detective Michael Davis, Jr. and Deputy Sheriff Danny Oliver had been earlier convicted for the same class of federal drug crimes that lawmakers seek to reform through this legislation.

Unfortunately, the provisions of the bills that would result in the release of criminal aliens are central to the efforts of both House and Senate-- and key to the Democrats' support of the bills. Unless the criminal alien issues are addressed, NumbersUSA must call for rejection of the legislation. Sentencing reform efforts should focus on new legislation that isn't a Trojan horse for yet another kind of amnesty.

Local American communities (disproportionately Black and Hispanic) into which released criminal aliens likely would return should not be asked to bear this burden under an Administration that has eviscerated immigration enforcement.

RYAN GETS A PRIMARY CHALLENGER

House Speaker Paul Ryan has learned that he'll face a Republican challenger in the August 9 Wisconsin primary. Not only has Wisconsin businessman Paul Nehlan thrown his name into the race, but he's also focusing on the immigration issue hoping to rekindle some of the voter angst that lead to Rep. Dave Brat's upset of former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia in 2014.

Earlier this week, Nehlan completed a NumbersUSA immigration reduction survey and earned our True Reformer status. You can view the grid here.

Ryan has a troubled history on the immigration issue. He's a passionate supporter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that would greatly increase the number of foreign workers allowed to work in the U.S. He's also pushed for work permits for illegal aliens and expanding legal immigration.

During Tuesday's GOP Presidential Primaries, Sen. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump combined for 83% of the vote in Ryan's district. Cruz and Trump have immigration positions vastly different from Ryan's. But Nehlan's positions are closer aligned with Cruz and Trump, so we'll be keeping a close eye on this race over the next 5 months.


 

Rep. Bonamici to host Townhall meetings near you

Alert date: 
2016-03-31
Alert body: 

Townhall meetings coming this month to a location near you

This is a great opportunity for you to attend and ask specific immigration related questions.  Invite a friend or neighbor to join you.

Forest Grove Town Hall Meeting

Apr 6, 2016 in Forest Grove, OR

Astoria Town Hall Meeting

Apr 9, 2016 in Astoria, OR

St. Helens Town Hall Meeting

Apr 11, 2016 in St. Helens, OR

Congressional Art Competition Reception

Apr 25, 2016 in Beaverton, OR

Portland Town Hall Meeting

May 7, 2016 in Portland, OR

Sherwood Town Hall Meeting

May 7, 2016 in Sherwood, OR


 

You're invited! Senator Merkley to Hold Town Hall in Washington County Saturday, March 12

Alert date: 
2016-03-09
Alert body: 

Senator Merkley will hold a Town Hall for Washington County constituents on Saturday, March 12, in Tualatin. Please attend, if possible, and ask questions or make comments concerning immigration issues.

In his announcement, he says: "I invite all residents to come and discuss what we need to do to strengthen our state and our nation."  This is a great opportunity for you to attend and ask specific immigration related questions.

What: Washington County Town Hall

When:  Saturday, March 12, 2016, 3:00 PM

Where: Tualatin High School, 22300 SW Boones Ferry Road, Tualatin, OR 97062

NumbersUSA gives Sen. Merkley a grade of F for recent years 2013-2016.  We recommend that you view and print out a copy of his voting report to give to him:

https://www.numbersusa.com/content/print/my/congress/1341/printreportcard//

If you are able to attend the meeting and speak or ask a question, please share the information with OFIR at ofir@oregonir.org.

Backsliding on communicable diseases brought to the US by illegal aliens

Rick Oltman has described, in no uncertain terms, the threats brought right into our nation's living room by the utter disregard for the well being of the citizens of this great country.

----------------------

A Weapon of Mass Destruction – A Weapon of Cultural Destruction?

By Rick Oltman, February 29, 2016

Back as early as the mid-1990s, parents of grade schoolers in California were learning that diseases that were once believed to have been eliminated were back in the public schools.  Head lice was epidemic in many schools.  Products, once discontinued, were brought back to market to deal with the disgusting infection.

Measles and whooping cough were spreading rapidly.  To many Californians, the cause was obvious:   illegal alien students were bringing these infections back into the schools...

Scarlet fever also reappeared.

A polio-like disease caused partial paralysis in California children.

Remember H1N1, aka “swine flu,” from a few years ago?...

We seemed to have escaped widespread infection from Ebola.  Will it be the same with the Zika virus?

More recently, as a result of the massive influx of (not only) illegal alien children from Central America who were not being medically screened, the U.S. has had outbreaks of other illnesses that were once eradicated; TB:  Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Chickenpox and Smallpox.

MDR – TB, multiple drug resistant tuberculosis, rampant in South East Asia, has been coming across the southern border for years.

Multiple drug resistant diseases are the result of improper use and overuse of antibiotics.  Evolution and natural selection can produce organisms that we cannot defeat.  And, in an environment where diseases can travel halfway around the world in a single day, the possibility of an outbreak of a deadly epidemic is as real as your worse science fiction nightmare.

However, just this week, Health and Human Services has announced that in a month, on March 28th, three sexually transmitted infections will no longer bar you from entering our country....

What is a Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD)?

WMD is often referred to by the collection of modalities that make up the set of weapons:  chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive.

WMD is defined in U.S. law (18 USC §2332a) as “Any weapon involving a disease organism.” ...

Now, ask yourself, “What possible benefit to America is there in allowing people infected with communicable diseases to come into our country, legally or illegally?  What possible explanation can there be for a government to be so irresponsible as to expose our populace to any disease like those listed above?”

Read the full article at USInc.com

Townhall meetings coming your way

Alert date: 
2016-02-08
Alert body: 

Next week, Representative Kurt Schrader will be hosting town hall meetings around the district  These meetings are a chance for you to visit, talk about what's been going on in Washington, and find out ways that his office can be of service to you.

Oregon City Town Hall - Tuesday, February 16th, 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Providence Willamette Falls Community Center Auditorium
519 15th Street
Oregon City, OR 97045

Salem Town Hall - Wednesday, February 17th, 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Salem Library - Loucks Auditorium
585 Liberty Street SE
Salem, OR 97301

Military Academy Day Open House - Saturday, March 5th, 10 a.m. - noon*
West Linn High School
5464 W A Street
West Linn, OR 97068
*Presentation begins at 11 a.m.
 

Concern over refugee re-settlement widespread

Americans are the most compassionate people on earth.  Yet, who is looking out for the best interests of Americans?  Clearly, citizens across the country are growing ever more concerned and worried for the impact that thousands of immigrant refugees will have on our country, our culture, our jobs, our environment, and ultimately, our personal safety in our own country.

Letters from across the country paint a vivid picture of the worry folks are facing every day. 

If you are able, please write a Letter to the Editor of your local paper.  Be concise, be passionate and be accurate in your statements.  Let OFIR know if you get a letter published and we will add it to our OFIR website's letter section.

 

 

50 refugees to come to Salem in February


Fifty refugees from various countries will be coming to Salem between February and September.

Catholic Charities is leading the effort to find housing and services for the refugees.

Jennifer Barischoff has helped resettle hundreds of refugees from around the world and was looking for more feasible ways to help them in Oregon.

Housing in Portland is limited and expensive, she said, so she started exploring Salem.

Salem offers a lot of advantages over other areas of Oregon for refugees, she said.

Salem housing is less expensive, employment at entry-level positions is more available and appealing, and it is a smaller, calmer city, something that can be beneficial to someone who has been through a traumatic situation and for someone who doesn't have any prior networks, she said.

Catholic Charities has helped resettle four or five families in Salem in the past year.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Office for Refugee Resettlement. Such funding goes toward the Match Grant Program, which has worked with the Catholic Charities program in Salem.

The conference recommended 50 people to go to Salem since it is a new program.

Due to the conflict in Syria, the United States is expected to take in 85,000 refugees this year, up from the average of 70-80,000 a year the country has maintained in recent years, Barischoff said.

She said Catholic Charities, on average, helps to resettle about 350 refugees per fiscal year statewide. This year, they will be helping an additional 100 refugees to resettle in Oregon.

Although several governors asked President Obama last year to reject all refugees from Syria, at least temporarily, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said in November the state would accept and "open the doors of opportunity" to refugees.

Catholic Charities staff and volunteers will work to provide the refugees with secure housing and furnishings, food with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  and health insurance with the Oregon Health Plan, a Social Security card, a rapid employment program and more.

They will provide English language programs and are partnering with local businesses and organizations to help them find work within four to six months of being in Salem.

The incoming refugees are from multiple countries, Barischoff said, including Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Burma, and Syria, though this is an estimate at this time.

Ultimately, Barischoff wishes for one thing for the refugees: a "renewed sense of hope for (their lives) and future(s)."

"It's hard to emphasize how it feels to go from a place of fear and trauma, one in which your life is in limbo, to a feeling of safety, where you can plan for the future and your life is no longer on hold," she said.

Pritam Rohila is one of the five dozen volunteers working to help the refugees coming to Salem this year.

Rohila came to the United States in 1967 and said he understands what it feels like to be in an unfamiliar place and have a deep desire to connect with what you know and love.

"I came voluntarily," Rohila said. "They did not. They came under threatening conditions. They are coming under duress.

"Producing a sense of home for them is much more important."

It's worse than you can imagine! The TPP - what is it and how will it impact Oregon?

Alert date: 
2016-01-05
Alert body: 

Plan to attend - register today!

Salem City Club Luncheon:

The TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP:  A Look at the TPP through an Oregon Lens

Friday, January 8, 2016
11:30AM, Lunch; 12 Noon, Program
Willamette Heritage Center at the Mill

 
There are few programs presented by Salem City Club with a “call for action” national time line for its citizens. This is one of them. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a “trade and investment” pact between the United States and eleven other Pacific-Rim countries, which represented approximately 44% of Oregon’s international trade in 2014. Oregon agriculture and labor interests are said to be significantly impacted by this agreement.

The TPP countries are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam. China, Oregon’s largest export destination, is noticeably absent. TPP negotiations began in 2008 with little public input and calls for more transparency. WikiLeaks released various sections of the TPP being considered. This was the first public look at possible provisions.

Although the TPP is billed as a trade pact, providing for reduced tariffs on products imported by member countries, the pact also impacts a broad range of issues such as food safety, Internet freedom, medicine costs, financial regulation and more. Congress voted to give the Obama administration Fast Track Authority, which provides for an up or down vote by Congress after a 90-day review period…no amendments allowed.

On January 8, we will be about 60 days into the review period. As of now, members of Oregon’s congressional delegation are still studying the TPP agreement and appear to be split on the subject. The 6,000 page agreement is available on-line from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Additionally, an internet search for TPP Oregon will result in a number of relevant articles.

An hour does not provide enough time for a detailed analysis of the agreement, but we hope to provide you with helpful information as you develop your own analysis of this far reaching trade and investment pact. Public input is critical to this process and the clock is running!   

Dr. Russ Beaton, nationally recognized scholar of sustainable economics, will guide us through a summary of the TPP and provisions directly impacting Oregon. Although much of the attention will be given to Oregon-specific products, Dr. Beaton also will address some of the more global aspects of the agreement.

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/68e5e95f95dd9e0d73059ae6e/images/5416e36a-02ec-485c-a0ef-88ac5d2db02a.jpgBeaton received his bachelor’s degree from Willamette University and his Master’s and Ph.D. from Claremont University.  His original training was in mathematical economics and econometrics, although his doctoral thesis was in location theory and urban land economics, which became a lifetime interest. 

After teaching at California State College at Fullerton – now Fullerton State University, and at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Beaton returned to his alma mater, Willamette University, where he taught economics and did research for 33 years, retiring in 2003.

His teaching interests included Microeconomic Theory, Environmental Economics, Energy Economics, and Regional Economics and the Economy of Oregon – all courses which he developed and introduced.
His research interests have always gravitated toward useful policy efforts that have the capability of directly and immediately affecting the lives of people. He has consulted and done policy-based contract research for several State of Oregon agencies in areas such as land use, agriculture, timber, transportation, energy, housing and general economic policy.

Co-author with Chris Maser of three books, all in the area of sustainable development, Russ has also participated in drafting the legislation, passed by the 1973 Oregon Legislature that created Oregon’s widely acclaimed land use planning system.

For Jan. 8 luncheon reservations, register online or call (503) 370-2808
by noon, Wed. Jan. 6.


 

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