education

OR Legislature puts the law before the horse

Rep. Michael Dembrow and his band of co-horts are attempting to usurp Federal law by not only allowing foreign nationals, most likely illegally in our country to remain here, but now they want to give them an instate tuition benefit so they can attend college here.

I have asked this question repeatedly and not gotten an answer:                                                                                                                                                      How will these students and their parents pay for college?  Several students testified that they or their parents are working 2 or 3 jobs already.             Is that not another law being broken?

Is it just me...am I the only one who thinks we have we become too 'tolerant' of these lawbreakers?  To think that we can sit in the State Capitol Building - the hub of lawmaking in Oregon - surrounded by kids that freely admit they are here illegally and so are their parents and siblings.  They admit they are working several jobs (and most likely driving to those jobs without a license or insurance). And nothing happens to them.  "Living in the shadows", haha...it wouldn't appear so.

Barely allowing testimony from the opposition at yesterdays hearing, these legislators hope to pass a bill that would allow these student lawbreakers to be awarded the opportunity to pay instate tuition at our colleges and universities. 

Then what?  We will have subsidized the college education of illegal aliens who will be competing for jobs with college graduates that are US citizens.                Sounds like people need to stop and think first.  This is a bad idea.

When does this stop?  When do we finally say enough is enough?

 


 

Kitzhaber to back bill on immigrant tuition

Gov. John Kitzhaber is expected today to put his political weight behind a bill allowing in-state tuition rates to state university students who lack immigration documents.

He is scheduled to be joined by speakers for Associated Oregon Industries, Oregon Business Association, Portland Business Alliance and the Oregon Association of Nurseries — and the three leaders of the House Higher Education Committee, which will take up House Bill 2787 for its first public hearing on Wednesday.

Among its sponsors are Chairman Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, and the vice chairmen, Republican Rep. John Huffman of The Dalles and Democratic Rep. Chris Harker of Beaverton.

Kitzhaber took no public stance on a similar bill two years ago, when it passed the Senate but died without a vote in an equally split House. But when he presented his two-year budget on Nov. 30, Kitzhaber said he would sign such a bill.

The current bill is similar in that it requires residency in Oregon for three years before high school graduation, graduation from high school in Oregon, and steps toward legal status in the United States. The latter would be in the form of affidavits filed with the state university attesting to applications for legal status or an intent to apply for it as soon as someone is eligible.

It also provides for a direct challenge of the law before the Oregon Supreme Court.

A similar law was upheld by the California Supreme Court in 2010, and the U.S. Supreme Court let it stand in 2011 when the justices declined to hear an appeal by opponents.

Although he is a sponsor of the bill, Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, said legislative leaders have agreed it is up to the House to act first this session. The Senate passed bills in 2003 and 2011, but each died in the House.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 12 states — including Washington and California — have laws allowing in-state tuition rates for undocumented students. Two states have done so through other means.

Four states specifically ban such rates, and two others bar enrollment of any students who cannot prove legal presence in the United States.

The political battle lines in Oregon will be the same as in 2011.

Immigrant-rights groups and student groups will support the bill. A comprehensive federal immigration bill could make action by states unnecessary, but as Causa Oregon’s Erik Sorensen said, “I do not anticipate Congress is going to have anything that soon.”

Oregonians for Immigration Reform, which has been critical of federal immigration policy, will oppose it again. But Jim Ludwick of McMinnville, a spokesman for the group, said opponents will emphasize arguments that the bill would be a money loser for the state because higher out-of-state tuition rates would not apply to those students.

Given that Democrats have majorities in both chambers this session, Ludwick said, “it’s going to be tough for us.”

What’s next

The House Higher Education Committee will conduct a public hearing on House Bill 2787, which grants in-state tuition rates to state university students without immigration documents, at 8 a.m. Wednesday in Hearing Room D in the Capitol. Overflow rooms are likely to be designated.

The committee plans a “work session” Friday, when it could advance the bill to a vote of the full House.
Follow all our political and state government coverage on the Oregon Politics Watch blog, StatesmanJournal.com/politics

Calendar

Selected legislative committee meetings and other events this week. Agendas are subject to change; for updates, call the numbers listed or see the Oregon Legislature’s website at www.leg.state.or.us.

Wednesday

House Higher Education: 8 a.m., Hearing Room D. Public hearing on House Bill 2787, allowing in-state tuition rates for university students without immigration documents. (503) 986-1664.

Poll results don't support Legislature's plans

These are the final results of the Statesman Journal’s online poll yesterday. Results were printed in the hardcopy edition of the newspaper today, January 28, 2013. The paper’s practice is to give results in the print edition the day after each poll closes, and results are not posted online after the poll has closed.

Statesman Journal, Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, p.5C (editorial page)

POLL RESULTS TO YESTERDAY’S QUESTION

Should immigrants in Oregon be allowed to pay in-state college tuition if they met these conditions?

- 3 years in Oregon high school

- Graduation from Oregon High school

- Admission to a state university

- Actively working toward U.S. citizenship

Yes 31.5%

No 66.6%

Don’t Know 1.4%

Don’t Care 0.5%

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

Several OFIR members objected to the wording of the question, which omitted the word “illegal” in referring to immigrants. In the context of the paper’s recent coverage of immigration issues, it is reasonable to assume the question meant illegal immigrants, and most viewers read the question that way. Of course the question should have been made clear to all by specifically referring to illegal immigrants, not just “immigrants.”

OFIR Board member Vandermolen's letter to the editor sparks agreement

OFIR Board member Lyneil Vandermolen expressed her discontent with plans to give an instate tuition benefit to illegal alien high schoolers.  In a letter to the editor, Lyneil explains how "feel good" legislation doesn't "feel so good" to those of us who have to pay the bill.  Other readers have expressed their concerns, as well.  Read the letters here.
Our Legislators need to know and hear your discontent about their plans for the upcoming Legislature.  Please call, write or visit your Legislator.  Always be polite, respectful and to the point.  Thank them for their time.

 

 

Republicans Leak Draft of GOP-DREAM Act

Last week, a group of Republican Senators working on a GOP-led alternative to the DREAM Act released details of their plan to the Daily Caller. (Daily Caller, Nov. 15, 2012) The draft legislation, entitled the ACHIEVE Act, would put illegal aliens up to the age of 32 on a path to citizenship. (Id.)

This path to citizenship starts through the creation of new non-immigrant visa category, the W-visa. Under the Republican plan, illegal aliens would be eligible for a W-1 visa if they:

  • have either:
    • completed high-school and are admitted to college or earned a college degree, or
    • completed high school and are enlisted in or have completed four years of military service,
  • have entered the country before the age of 14,
  • have lived in the U.S. continuously for five years,
  • have not committed a felony, two misdemeanors with a jail term of over 30 days, or a crime of moral turpitude,
  • are not subject to a final order of removal ,
  • pay a $525 fee, and
  • are under the age of 28 (or 32 if they have a bachelor's degree from a U.S. university).

Once an illegal alien receives a W-1 visa, the alien has six years to obtain a bachelor's, associate's, vocational/technical, or graduate degree, or to complete four years of military service. If the alien meets this threshold, the alien is then eligible for a W-2 visa. Under a W-2 visa, an alien must then either maintain employment for 36 months, or be in enrolled in or complete a graduate degree program within four years.

Then, after the four-year period is up, an alien who has fulfilled the requirements of a W-2 visa becomes eligible for a W-3 "permanent non-immigrant" visa. Although the authors of the ACHIEVE Act say it does not provide a special pathway to citizenship, the W-3 is renewable in four-year increments, and its recipients are free to adjust status to a green card via pathways already set up under current law.

Congressional sources say retiring Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) were working on the ACHIEVE Act with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio this summer, but put the plan on hold following President Obama's announcement he would be granting deferred action and work authorization to illegal aliens under the age of 31. (Fox News, Nov. 16, 2012)The text is "a working draft of what Sen. Rubio began working on over the summer," Sen. Marco Rubio's spokesman Alex Conant confirmed with the Huffington Post.(Huffington Post, Nov. 15, 2012)

The same day the GOP draft was leaked to the Daily Caller, Sen. Rubio called for a "permanent solution" for illegal alien minors during the annual Washington Ideas Forum. (Fox News Latino, Nov. 16, 2012) "[T]he issue of kids that are in this country undocumented is not an immigration issue, it's a humanitarian one," Rubio told the audience. (Id.) Sen. Rubio's spokesman indicated he is still finalizing the timing and specifics of the legislation. (Huffington Post, Nov. 15, 2012)

Rule bars non-citizens from youth volunteer jobs

An Oregon immigrant rights organization and its supporters testified at Keizer City Hall on Monday in hopes of stopping a new rule that would bar non-U.S. citizens from serving as youth councilors.

Supporters of the new rule also testified, saying participating in the government process should be a benefit of citizenship.

On Aug. 20, the Keizer council approved an update in the volunteer program for youths, indicating that candidates for the position must be eligible to vote if they are 18 years old.

The rule would keep non-citizen immigrants, regardless of legal status, from participating.

The youth volunteers advise the council on issues that affect young people in the community.

A key issue for the immigrant rights advocates was the timing of the council’s action. It came shortly after Hugo Nicolas, 19, a former Keizer youth councilor and undocumented immigrant, went public with his status and applied for the Obama administration’s deferred action program.

Nicolas and Francisco Lopez, executive director of Causa, stopped short of accusing the City Council of acting on the rule in response to the attention surrounding Nicolas. Considering the timing of developments, they said, it’s hard to believe it was a coincidence.

“That’s the question that we have today,” Lopez said. “Why now?”

Councilors and Mayor Lore Christopher maintained that the rule was revised as part of a review of all of the council’s rules and procedures.

Councilor David McKane said the citizenship rule was added as an eligibility requirement to make it consistent with the rules the councilors and mayor must meet to be serve in local government. They must be citizens of the state, he said.

It was the subcommittee’s hope that the youth councilors could eventually serve as city councilors, he said.

Nicolas gave emotional testimony, his voice shaking. He thanked the council for allowing him the opportunity to serve as youth councilor two years ago.

But the new rule sends an unfortunate message to youths, he said.

“We share a city but not a community,” he said.

Nicolas went over the three-minute time limit, set by Christopher because of the lengthy speakers list.

But councilor Mark Caillier allowed him to continue, asking, “Hugo, what else do you want to say?”

When Nicolas finished, his supporters applauded. City officials responded, apologizing about the timing of the council’s action.

McKane told Nicolas that the rule had nothing to do with him.

“If there’s anything that I can do or we can do to help you, all you have to do is ask,” he said.

Nicolas recently garnered media attention when he traveled to Portland to apply for the deferred action program. If eligible, he could be shielded from deportation for two years. He could also apply for a work permit that would allow him to work legally in the U.S.

Nicolas was brought illegally to the U.S. from Veracruz, Mexico, when he was 11.

Less than a week after the Statesman Journal story about Nicolas’ journey was published, Keizer City Council made a decision that would prohibit youths such as Nicolas from volunteering.

Two days later, Nicolas received the Mayor’s Youth Achievement Award from the city of Salem. The award is presented to a youth or youth group involved in a volunteer project benefiting the city.

Lopez said he hoped the City Council would reconsider the rule, and involve more people in coming up with a solution.

 

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