economy

Oregon immigrant rights groups respond to Trump's order for 200,000 Salvadorans to leave U.S.

The Trump administration will end temporary legal immigration status for 200,000 Salvadorans who have been living in the U.S. for nearly two decades, the Department of Homeland Security announced Monday.

The decision means that Salvadorans who currently have Temporary Protected Status (TPS) must return to their homeland by September 2019 or become undocumented immigrants if they choose to remain without legal protections.

Salvadorans were first granted TPS in 2001 following a pair of devastating earthquakes that killed nearly 1,000 people and destroyed more than 100,000 homes in the Central American country.

There are roughly 4,784 foreign-born Salvadorans living in Oregon, according to a 2016 Migration Policy Institute report. Roughly 1.2 percent of Oregon Salvadorans were born in the United States. It's unclear how many TPS holders are affected in Oregon.

The decision comes two months after the Department of Homeland Security announced plans to end temporary residency permit programs granting 5,000 citizens from Nicaragua and 60,000 Haitians to live and work in the United States for roughly 20 years and eight years, respectively. In November, the Trump administration postponed a decision until July regarding a similar program granting refuge for 86,000 residents from Honduras.

Oregon immigrant rights and human rights organizations called the decision inhumane.

"The biggest issue is that these folks have put roots in Oregon, they have jobs, they have children born here," said Levi Herrera-Lopez. "Just like the issue of DACA, people are deciding if their families are going to have to split up."

The Salvadoran Embassy in Washington estimates that 97 percent of Salvadorans in the program over the age of 24 are employed and paying taxes, and more than half own their own homes. Salvadorans on TPS have also given birth to 192,000 children, all U.S. citizens, according to a report from the Center for Migration Studies.

For Carlos Garcia, 58, of El Salvador, he said his days are now numbered.

He fled his home country with his two sons, who are both now Dreamers awaiting their own looming deadline, roughly 17 years ago.

Garcia works as a detailer for an auto dealership and works parttime installing windshields in vehicles.

"What am I going to do now? I’ve been a tax paying resident of this country and I don’t have any idea what I’m going to do," Garcia said.

Garcia said he's known tightening immigration reform has been one of Trump's sole focuses since his campaign, but the reality of returning to El Salvador's "corrupt" government and its "organized crime" is a concern.

"How can anyone live under these circumstances of not knowing what's going to happen this month, or this year?" Garcia said. "The main problem here is the mental health of 200,000 Salvadorans who don't know what the outcome will be."

He said his American dream has become the "American nightmare." Garcia hopes Congress will step in and pressure Trump to reverse the action.

Herrera-Lopez, executive director of Mano a Mano Family Center, a Latino-led community organization offering immigration assistance and youth development services, said Trump's decision falls in line with his campaign promise of deporting millions of undocumented immigrants. 

"I understand that these people were offered temporary status, but El Salvador's challenges have not been stabilized," Herrera-Lopez said. "That may be true from the natural disaster standpoint, but not of the social stability of the country."

He points to the country's struggle with Mara Salvatrucha, an international gang commonly known as MS13, in addition to other local crimes that may put tens of thousands of returned Salvadorans at a disadvantage.

"Their economy may not be stable enough to absorb 200,000 people," Herrera-Lopez said. "For many, they are going to a country that is foreign to them, that has changed over the past 20 years, and that is completely disconnected."

An Oregon anti-illegal immigration organization supports the president's action.

Jim Ludwick, communications director for Oregonians for Immigration Reform, said decision demonstrate's Trump's understanding that every nation has a sovereign right to establish immigration policies.

"They were brought in because of the earthquake and were supposed to be here on a temporary basis, but some people have a different definition of 'temporary,'" Ludwick said. "El Salvador has the right to regulate who goes into their country, just like we have the right to regulate who comes into ours."

He said he doesn't understand why people oppose the action, saying families don't have to be torn apart during their return to El Salvador. Hypothetically, he said, if he had children in another country, and his visa ran out, he wouldn't leave his family there.

"Trump isn't breaking up families," Ludwick said. "If someone breaks up their families, they're doing it themselves."

Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste, translated as Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United, plans on coordinating with other Oregon immigrant rights organizations like Mano a Mano to localize efforts and rally support from elected officials and business leaders, but they are thinking nationally as well.

PCUN's secretary-treasurer Jaime Arredondo said they are organizing along with their partner Fair Immigration Reform Movement, a national coalition of grassroots immigrant rights organizations.

"This is something we saw coming, so we're seeing if we can do anything on a national level to delay it or to make sure it's done away with,"Arredondo said.

Mat dos Santos, the legal director of the ACLU of Oregon, said President Trump's focus on targeted immigration operations, including rescinding DACA and ending other TPS programs, will tear Oregon families apart.

"This is another reminder from the Trump administration that new Americans are seen as a threat and not contributors to our country," dos Santos said.

He said he and his ACLU colleagues are expecting to get calls from Salvadorans who are impacted by the program's cut.

Kayse Jama, executive director of immigrant and refugee rights organization Unite Oregon, said the move demonstrates the systematic dismantling of immigration in the United States.

Jama, of Somalia, said President Trump's ban on travel from Muslim-majority countries has prevented him from returning to his home country, and that this recent program cut is only sustaining the president's "anti-immigrant" rhetoric still looming from his campaign.

"These community members are dishwashers, they working in nursing homes, they have their own businesses," Jama said. "This will have huge implications for the Salvadoran community but also our economy."

USA TODAY contributed to this story.

Email Lauren Hernandez at lehernande@statesmanjournal.com, call 503-399-6743 or follow on Twitter @LaurenPorFavor Read more about Oregon immigrant rights groups respond to Trump's order for 200,000 Salvadorans to leave U.S.

Sign the IP #22 at the Canby Gun Show Dec. 2 & 3

Alert date: 
November 23, 2017
Alert body: 

OFIR and The Stop Oregon Sanctuaries campaign will be hosting a booth at the Canby Gun Show next weekend, Saturday, Dec. 2nd and Sunday, Dec. 3rd.

Drop by and say hello!  Sign the petition to overturn Oregon's Sanctuary Statute.  Pick up a few 10 line sheets and collect the signatures of your friends and family, too.

We need 88,184 valid signatures by July 2018, so we need all hands on deck!

If you have not yet signed the petition and can't make it to the Gun Show, go to  www.StopOregonSanctuaries.org - print out a single signer sheet, sign, date and mail it in,

 

 

Record $135 billion a year for illegal immigration, average $8,075 each, $25,000 in NY

The swelling population of illegal immigrants and their kids is costing American taxpayers $135 billion a year, the highest ever, driven by free medical care, education and a huge law enforcement bill, according to the the most authoritative report on the issue yet.

And despite claims from pro-illegal immigration advocates that the aliens pay significant off-setting taxes back to federal, state and local treasuries, the Federation for American Immigration Reform report tallied just $19 billion, making the final hit to taxpayers about $116 billion.

State and local governments are getting ravaged by the costs, at over $88 billion. The federal government, by comparison, is getting off easy at $45 billion in costs for illegals.

President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and conservatives in Congress are moving aggressively to deal with illegals, especially those with long criminal records. But their effort is being fought by courts and some 300 so-called "sanctuary communities" that refuse to work with federal law enforcement.

The added burden on taxpayers and the unfairness to those who have applied to come into the United States through legal channels is also driving the administration's immigration crackdown.

The report, titled "The Fiscal Burden Of Illegal Immigration on U.S. Taxpayers," is the most comprehensive cost tally from FAIR. It said that the costs have jumped about $3 billion in four years and will continue to surge unless illegal immigration is stopped. It was provided in advance exclusively to Secrets.

"Clearly, the cost of doing nothing to stop illegal immigration is far too high," said FAIR Executive Director Dan Stein. "President Trump has laid out a comprehensive strategy to regain control of illegal immigration and bring down these costs," said Stein. "Building the wall, enhancing interior enforcement and mandating national E-Verify will go a long way in bringing these ridiculously high costs under control," he added.

Over 68 often shocking pages, FAIR documents the average $8,075 in state, local and federal spending for each of the of 12.5 million illegal immigrants and their 4.2 million citizen children.

Broadly, the costs include $29 billion in medical care, $23 billion for law enforcement, $9 billion in welfare, $46 billion for education.

Just consider the cost of teaching an illegal alien child who doesn't speak English. FAIR estimates an average cost of over $12,000 a year, and that can reach $25,000 in New York. Add to that welfare, health care, school lunches, and the per student price soars.

In state costs alone, California leads the list at $23 billion per year, followed by Texas at $11 billion, and New York at $7.4 billion.

And it also documents the taxes paid and how they don't come close to offsetting the costs. What's more, FAIR noted that 35 percent of the illegal population operate in an underground economy hidden from tax collectors. And worse, employers hire illegals and either pay them cheaply or under the table.

"The United States recoups only about 14 percent of the amount expended annually on illegal aliens. If the same jobs held by illegal aliens were filled by legal workers, at the prevailing market wage, it may safely be presumed that federal, state and local governments would receive higher tax payments," said FAIR.

Key findings pulled from the report:

  • The staggering total costs of illegal immigrants and their children outweigh the taxes paid to federal and state governments by a ratio of roughly 7 to 1, with costs at nearly $135 billion compared to tax revenues at nearly $19 billion.
  • The nearly $135 billion paid out by federal and state and local taxpayers to cover the cost of the presence of 12.5 million illegal aliens and their 4.2 million citizen children amounts to approximately $8,075 per illegal alien and citizen child prior to taxes paid, or $6,940 per person after taxes are paid.
  • On the federal level, medical ($17.14 billion) is by far the highest cost, with law enforcement coming second ($13.15 billion) and general government services ($8 billion) third.
  • At the state and local level, education ($44.4 billion) was by far the largest expense, followed by general public services ($18.5 billion) and medical ($12.1 billion).
  • The top three states based on total cost to state taxpayers for illegal immigrants and their children: California ($23 billion); Texas ($10.9 billion), and New York ($7.5 billion).

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com


  Read more about Record $135 billion a year for illegal immigration, average $8,075 each, $25,000 in NY

The DACA Amnesty Must Be Ended

An important deadline is approaching for the Trump Administration. By September 5, President Trump must decide whether or not to repeal President Obama’s DACA (“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”) executive amnesty for illegal aliens.

The deadline was set by ten States, whose attorneys general (or governor, in the case of Idaho) wrote to Attorney General Jeff Sessions demanding an end to the illegal amnesty. The States are Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Louisiana, Kansas, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia. If DACA is not terminated, the States will take the Trump Administration to court.

Candidate Trump promised during the 2016 campaign that he would end DACA. On August 31, 2016, in Phoenix he correctly described DACA as an “illegal executive amnesty.” And he promised that he would “[i]mmediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties in which he defied federal law and the Constitution.” It is time to make good on that promise.

The DACA amnesty allows virtually any illegal alien up to the age of 31 (as of June 15, 2012, when it was announced) who claims that he entered the United States before the age of 16 to gain “deferred action” and lawful presence in the United States. The alien also becomes eligible for employment authorization. In practice, today illegal aliens up the age of 36 are getting the amnesty. It’s not limited to “children” as the Left is so eager to pretend. It’s estimated that the DACA amnesty could extend to approximately 1.7 million illegal aliens. More than 886,000 have already applied for, and received, the amnesty.

The Obama Administration attempted to defend the legality of DACA on a flimsy theory that has already been rejected by multiple courts –  that “prosecutorial discretion” can be used to confer the benefit of lawful presence on millions of illegal aliens, en masse, without any action by Congress. The theory is ridiculous on its face. Prosecutorial discretion is a decision not to prosecute a specific person based on the evidence at hand; it is not a mass changing of legal status for millions of people.

If the States sue, they will win. As a legal question, it’s not even close. DACA is not illegal for just one reason. It’s illegal for at least five reasons – three violations of federal law and two violations of the United States Constitution:

Federal law violations:

  1. 8 USC 1225(b)(2). This statute requires that any alien an ICE officer determines to be inadmissible “shall” be placed in removal proceedings. Congress passed this law in 1996 to stop the “catch and release” policies of the Clinton Administration. Incredibly, DACA orders ICE agents to break this law. In 2012, in the case of Crane v. Napolitano, I represented 10 ICE agents who sued the Obama Administration to stop DACA. Although the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals eventually ruled that the ICE agents didn’t have standing, the district court in the Northern District of Texas had already held that we were likely to succeed on this claim.
  2. The Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Even if there weren’t a statutory barrier to a president issuing the DACA directive, the Department of Homeland Security would still have to promulgate a formal regulation (or “rule”), with notice and public comment, under the requirements of the APA. The Obama Administration violated this federal law as well when it created DACA. The Fifth Circuit already came to this conclusion in Texas v. United States, a case which resulted in an injunction halting the second Obama executive amnesty (which was based on the same theory as DACA).
  3. Prosecutorial discretion” cannot be used to confer federal benefits. Prosecutorial discretion is a decision not to prosecute; it is not a legally-permissible mechanism for granting lawful presence or the valuable benefit of employment authorization. Federal law lays out the only avenues for obtaining either. And DACA doesn’t follow those avenues. The Fifth Circuit reached this conclusion as well in Texas v. United States.

 United States Constitution violations:

  1. The Constitutional Separation of Powers. The granting of the right to remain in the United States, plus employment authorization, to a large number of aliens is a legislative action, not an executive action. The “DREAM Act” legislative amnesty, which DACA mimics, has been introduced and has failed in Congress more than twenty times since 2001. If someday Congress decides to enact the DREAM Act, Congress may do so. But a president may not usurp Congress’s authority, as President Obama did, by imposing the DACA amnesty on the country through executive fiat.
  2. Article 2, section 3, of the U.S. Constitution. This section of the Constitution requires the president to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” The DACA amnesty is an express order not to execute the multiple federal laws that render these aliens unlawfully present. An order not to enforce the law against 1.7 million specially-designated aliens is a clear violation of this constitutional provision.

Any single one of these legal claims is sufficient to torpedo DACA in court. And three have already been given credence by the courts. Attorney General Sessions knows this. As he correctly told the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, DACA is “very questionable, in my opinion, constitutionally.” He is undoubtedly reluctant to defend this blatantly illegal executive amnesty.

The Department of Justice can’t win the case. The Fifth Circuit has already ruled on the central legal question, and that is where the case would be heard. The Trump Administration would lose in court, and the president would lose a significant section of his political base as well. DACA is inconsistent with the rule of law, inconsistent with the president’s own promises, and inconsistent with the president’s principled stand against illegal immigration. It must end.

Kris W. Kobach is the elected secretary of state of Kansas.  An expert in immigration law and policy, he coauthored the Arizona SB-1070 immigration law and represented in federal court the 10 ICE agents who sued to stop Obama’s 2012 executive amnesty. In 2017 President Trump named him Vice Chairman of the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity. He is also a candidate for the office of governor of Kansas. His website is kriskobach.com. Read more about The DACA Amnesty Must Be Ended

Oregon Republicans shrug off politics, extend benefits to undocumented children

Oregon Republicans took the lead in arguing for spending $36 million on health care for undocumented Oregon children during a Monday session.

The “cover all kids” Senate Bill 558 passed the body on a 21-8 vote. The bill now proceeds to the House where it's likely to find favor with the majority Democrats.

Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, said he’ll take a shellacking for his ‘yes” vote on the bill from constituents who believe extending benefits encourages illegal immigration.

“I can hear the town hall questions; I can write them,” he said.

“I will look at folks with anger in their eyes and they will not listen to the answer that it is less expensive (to provide coverage),” Ferrioli said, finally adding, “Folks can sharpen their knives and load up. I’ll be in the district after the session is over. I can answer the questions then just as I can now.”

The bill would extend coverage under the Oregon Health Plan to an estimated 15,000 children in the state who otherwise would be prohibited from signing up because they lack legal residency status.

Gov. Kate Brown highlighted the cover all kids program as a priority in her proposed budget. Ninety-eight percent of Oregon children are covered today. The bill, which takes effect Jan. 1, would bring the proportion even higher.

A hospital provider tax of 1.7 percent on large hospitals and 4 percent on small hospitals passed in June will pay for the expansion, according to legislative documents.

Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, carried the bill to the Senate floor and made the case that it is really a conservative bill. Children don’t go completely without care, he said. When they turn up sick at hospitals, hospitals have to treat them, and that’s the most expensive way to treat them.

“I know about the optics of this thing. We could get wrapped up in sanctuary this, sanctuary that. We could get wrapped up with immigration this or immigration that,” Kruse said. “This is not about the optics or the politics. This is about health care at a reasonable cost.”

Passing the bill will bring relief to hospitals large and small across the state.

“We have asked hospitals to step up in a major way with the provider tax,” Kruse said. “Now to ask them to absorb (emergency department) care for these kids is just one more ask. That is an ask too much. ...

“Chances are I’m going to take some political hits for this too, but quite honestly, I don’t give a damn. I don’t care about politics, I care about policy and I care about doing the right thing.”

Not all Republicans favored the bill.

“My priority are services to veterans who fought and have been injured for this country and for this state,” said Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, who voted no. “We have not taken care of them the way we need to. If there are tens of millions of dollars, we need to start there.

“We can work our way to seniors who need care in their homes, those with disabilities, those who are vulnerable -- and there are many Oregonians who are in need,” he said.

All Senate Democrats voted in favor of the bill. Sen. Arnie Roblan, D-Coos Bay, a high school principal, said schools must teach all the children who turn up. “They only learn when they’re healthy,” he said.

Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, D-Gresham, is a public health nurse.

“Every child needs health care regardless of where they were born,” she said. “It is the moral and right thing to do. A child is not responsible for who their parents are, whether they’re legal or illegal, whether they’re rich or whether they’re poor.” Read more about Oregon Republicans shrug off politics, extend benefits to undocumented children

Consulate of Mexico visits Ontario, seeks to support Mexican nationals

ONTARIO — The Consulate of Mexico in Boise visited Four Rivers Cultural Center, Saturday, to support Mexican nationals in obtaining documentation, counseling as well as additional information.

About 70 Mexican nationals attended the one-day event to obtain a passport, Consular ID, voting ID or birth certificates.

The mobile consulate offers Mexican nationals the chance to obtain documentation from their country within a couple of hours that otherwise may have taken weeks to receive, Claudia Espinosa, a representative of the protection affairs department with the Consulate, said.

Moreover, the mobile consulate allows those who may not have a driver’s license to be able to visit with the organization that is located in Boise.

The last time the Consulate of Mexico visited Ontario was nearly seven years ago, Espinosa noted.

“With new immigration policies we are trying to visit areas outside of Boise to provide our services to as many as we can,” Espinosa said.

It’s now more important than ever to do this, Celso Humberto Delgado Ramirez, Consul of Mexico in Boise, said.

Recently, the consulate visited Montana to offer the same outreach, Delgado Ramirez said.

During his speech to the attendees, the consul commended those who showed up for the services and echoed the organization’s ambition to continue offering services as well as consular protection to Mexicans.

Delgado Ramirez also advised attendees to create a plan of emergency for those who are living in the country without proper documentation in case they are faced with deportation, especially if they have young children.

Moreover, he spoke about what an undocumented person should do in case they are detained by Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“Know your rights,” he said to the crowd. “Ask to speak with the Consulate of Mexico, to call a lawyer and to family, if possible.”

Throughout the day Mexican nationals were able to have their paperwork processed, have their biometrics taken as well as visit with local resources in the area.

One of the local organizations in attendance included the Oregon Human Development Corporation. Janeth Mendoza, a workforce consultant, said she exchanged information with several attendees about work trainings and emergency services. The Malheur County Health Department and Treasure Valley Community also hosted a booth at the event.

At the end of the event, consulate coordinators distributed documentation to Mexican nationals.

Celso Humberto Delgado Ramirez, Consul of Mexico in Boise, speaks to a crowd before attendees receive various documentation including passports, Consular ID and more, alongside Claudia Espinosa. About 70 Mexican nationals attended a mobile consulate provided by the Consulate of Mexico, in Boise, Saturday, in Ontario. The one day event sought to assist individuals with obtaining Mexican documentation. Read more about Consulate of Mexico visits Ontario, seeks to support Mexican nationals

DHS to Expand Controversial H-2B Visa Program, Breaking Trump Campaign Promise

The Trump administration has decided to expand the controversial H-2B visa program, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced last week. (ABC News, June 21, 2017). DHS spokesperson David Lapan said Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has yet to decide how many additional H-2B visas will be made available, but that the number should be set soon. (Id.) Lapan said the department expects to start issuing visas as soon as late July, setting the stage for the betrayal of a key Trump campaign promise—protecting American workers from cheaper foreign competition. (Id.)

In early May, at the behest of the business lobby, Congress gave Kelly and Labor Secretary Alex Acosta the power to more than double the number of H-2B visas issued this fiscal year. (See FAIR Legislative Update, May 2, 2017) Shortly thereafter, Kelly indicated that he was receiving pressure from lawmakers and stakeholders on both sides of the issue, but hinted an increase was likely. (See FAIR Legislative Update, May 30, 2017) “This is one of those things I wish I didn’t have discretion,” Kelly told the Senate Appropriations Committee. (Id.) “We’ll likely increase the numbers for this year, perhaps not by the entire number I’m authorized,” Kelly added at the time. (Id.)

The H-2B nonimmigrant visa program allows U.S. employers who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring low-skilled foreign workers to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs. (USCIS H-2B Program Fact Sheet) There is a cap on the total number of foreign workers who may be issued an H-2B visa or otherwise granted H-2B status during a fiscal year. (Id.) Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Congress set the H-2B cap at 66,000 workers per fiscal year. (INA § 214(g)(1)(B)) However, last month’s $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill gave Secretaries Kelly and Acosta the authority to ignore this cap and increase the number of low skilled foreign workers admitted by “the highest number” of H-2B nonimmigrants who participated in the H-2B returning worker exemption. (FY 2017 Omnibus, Sec. 543) As a reminder, in December 2015, House Speaker Paul Ryan snuck into the FY 2016 omnibus a provision that exempted from the H-2B cap all low skilled workers admitted between 2013 and 2015. (See FAIR Legislative Update, Dec. 22, 2015) There is no reliable data on the number of H-2B workers who took advantage of the returning worker exemption. It is possible that this provision will allow 66,000 additional cheap foreign workers to flood the labor market through the end of September—further suppressing blue-collar wages and taking away opportunities from Americans trying to get back into the labor force.

FAIR criticized the announcement to further flood the labor market with foreign workers. “The administration's decision to exceed the 66,000 cap not only undermines struggling American workers, but betrays unequivocal promises President Trump made in his campaign,” FAIR President Dan Stein charged. (FAIR Press Release, June 22, 2017) “In President Trump's own words, ‘the influx of foreign workers holds down salaries, keeps unemployment high, and makes it difficult for poor and working class Americans—including immigrants themselves and their children—to earn a middle class wage,’” Stein added. (Id.)

FAIR’s June 21 letter to Secretary Kelly urging against an H-2B visa increase can be found here. Read more about DHS to Expand Controversial H-2B Visa Program, Breaking Trump Campaign Promise

Oregon Lawmakers Aim to Increase Protections of Immigrants

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Public bodies in Oregon would be prohibited from disclosing a person's immigration status and details like addresses, except when required by law, under a bill filed Wednesday in the Legislature.

Teresa Alonso Leon, a Democrat from Woodburn, and Diego Hernandez, a Democrat from Portland filed the bill in the House as immigration enforcement increases under President Donald Trump...

....The bill said that, "except as required by state or federal law," a public body may not disclose for the purpose of immigration enforcement, a person's address, workplace or work schedule, school and contact information.

A public body would also be prohibited from inquiring about a person's citizenship or immigration status except when determining benefit eligibility or as required by state or federal law.

Oregon state law and federal laws, however, clash when it comes to immigration.

*Oregon created America's first sanctuary state in 1987 with a law that prevents law enforcement from detaining people who are in the United States illegally but have not broken other laws. In February, Brown signed an executive order that said all state agencies must follow the 1987 statute.

A Republican lawmaker who advocates enforcement of America's immigration laws said the state should comply with federal law.

"If you read federal law, it says not only is it illegal to be in the country without authorization and if you're caught you have to go back, but it is also illegal to harbor someone," Rep. Sal Esquivel, from the southwestern Oregon town of Medford, said in a phone interview....

Esquivel said Brown is "protecting people of illegal status in the state, which is against the law. This is a country of laws and if we don't adhere to the laws we won't have a country left."

Brown said Wednesday that  *"Oregon relies on a diverse workforce to support a growing economy, and we must ensure the civil rights of all Oregonians are protected and that the rule of law is respected."...

He said school administrators, county judges, and other public bodies are seeking guidance from the state on how to respond if ICE asks for information....

"This bill is a way to help make sure our communities have clear guidance so they are in compliance with state and federal law," Rosenblum said...

*Emphasis added Read more about Oregon Lawmakers Aim to Increase Protections of Immigrants

Bill would provide health care for all kids

More than 17,000 children are currently excluded from the Oregon Health Plan because of their residency status.

To address this, Governor Kate Brown testified Monday before the House Committee on Health Care in support of a bill known as “Cover All Kids.” If passed, House Bill 2726 would extend health care coverage through the Oregon Health Plan to all Oregon children, expanding legislation passed in 2012.

"It is our duty to ensure that our youngest Oregonians have the tools to grow into healthy adults with access to education, health care, and a bright future," Brown said. "Oregon children should have the opportunity to be healthy and ready to learn, and Oregon families should feel confident that a medical event will not dramatically change the trajectory of their lives."

Brown has included the expansion in her proposed budget, allocating $55 million in General Fund money. Brown highlighted the importance of all children having health care coverage in her inaugural address.

Uninsured children are much more likely than insured children to forgo necessary medical care due to costs, and more likely to have unmet medical needs, according to a report by the Campaign for Children’s Health Care.

Additionally, the Oregon Latino Health Coalition cites insured children are 9.7 percent less likely to drop out of high school and 5.5 percent more likely to graduate from college.

The bipartisan legislation currently facing the Oregon State Legislature is co-sponsored by Representatives Alonso Leon, Gilliam, Hernandez, Huffman and Olson and by Senators Boquist, Monnes Anderson, and Roblan.

Fatima Preciado, 18, a Portland State University student and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient, was one of the kids who did not qualify due to her residency.

“Because my siblings and I lacked proper health insurance, we were denied the right to live a normal childhood,” Preciado said in a statement. "Fear and worry instead consumed my everyday childhood.

"My mother struggled severely when it came to purchasing my sister’s medication," she said. "There were times when my sister went weeks without medication, causing her to suffer severe uncontrollable epileptic seizures.”

The Senate Committee on Health Care will hold a hearing on Senate Bill 558, a companion bill, on at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21 in Hearing Room B. Read more about Bill would provide health care for all kids

Brown: Extend Medicaid to more than 17,000 kids

SALEM — Gov. Kate Brown spoke Monday in support of a bipartisan proposal to expand Medicaid coverage to the more than 17,000 children currently ineligible due to their immigration status.

Brown — whose two-year budget included the estimated $55 million the coverage is expected to cost — is joined in her support for the measure by nearly 40 advocacy groups, health care providers and unions.

“It is our duty to ensure that our youngest Oregonians have the tools to grow into healthy adults, with access to education, health care and a bright future,” Brown said during a meeting of the state House Health Care Committee.

It’s a departure from a proposal by top Oregon budget writers to cut Medicaid coverage to roughly 355,000 adults to help fill the state’s $1.8 billion budget hole.

People who joined the program under the Affordable Care Act’s 2014 eligibility expansion would lose coverage.

Advocates, however, characterize the measure, called Cover All Kids, as building on strides the state has made over the years to increase access to health care coverage for children. Lawmakers voted in 2009 to expand kids’ access to Medicaid and subsidized health insurance policies. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act allowed Oregon to expand its Medicaid program to kids in families with incomes up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level. The coverage only applied to lawfully present children, however.

Still, it’s estimated about 2 percent of children in Oregon remain uninsured, the majority of whom are ineligible for coverage because they’re in the country illegally. House Bill 2726, along with its counterpart in the Senate, would extend Medicaid coverage to anyone under age 19 with family incomes up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level — $48,720 annually for a family of two or $73,800 for a family of four — regardless of immigration status.

Medicaid programs in California, Washington state, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., already cover children in the country illegally.

The measure’s sponsors include Republicans Rep. John Huffman of The Dalles, Rep. Andy Olson of Albany and Sen. Brian Boquist of Dallas. Democratic sponsors include Sen. Arnie Roblan of Coos Bay, Rep. Diego Hernandez of Portland, Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson of Gresham, Rep. Teresa Alonso León of Woodburn and Rep. Pam Marsh of Ashland.

Huffman told the audience at Monday’s hearing the bill makes sense both morally and economically.

“Morally, because I have always advocated for supporting our most vulnerable citizens,” he said. Economically, because healthy kids miss less school and their parents miss fewer days of work.

Former Republican Rep. Vic Gilliam also submitted testimony in support of the measure, which he wrote would not be just another government “entitlement” program but would strengthen communities.

Linda Roman, director of health policy and government relations for the Oregon Latino Health Coalition, said in an interview the issue boils down to values.

“I think across party lines, across chambers of the House and the Senate, we all believe that every child in our state on day one of school needs to be prepared and ready to learn,” she said. “I think our legislators in Oregon really understand that and embrace that.”

Even though the coverage would cost the state an estimated $55 million over the next two years, Roman said it would save money in the long run. Access to health care prevents treatable illnesses from becoming expensive health care crises, she said. Further, Roman said children with insurance perform better in school, are more likely to graduate high school and contribute more in taxes later in life.

“We’ve seen that it works,” she said. “It saves money.”

All of the written testimony submitted to the House Health Care Committee ahead of its hearing Monday urged lawmakers to support the measure. Organizations included the Oregon Primary Care Association, Basic Rights Oregon, the Oregon Nurses Association, the Oregon School-Based Health Alliance and several others. Insurance carrier Moda Health and health systems Legacy Health and Providence Health System also voiced support.

Monday’s session was a public hearing; a vote was not held. The Senate Health Care Committee will host a hearing on the measure Tuesday afternoon. Brown is not scheduled to testify at that hearing, but state Sen. Jeff Kruse, a Republican from Roseburg, and Koblan will speak in support of the bill, according to the Oregon Latino Health Coalition. Read more about Brown: Extend Medicaid to more than 17,000 kids

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