Oregon’s Quest for Secure Driver’s Licenses

For over a decade, we’ve been engaged in a battle for a secure driver’s license in Oregon. Much of the drama has been self-inflicted and it’s about time we get with the program and move on.

It started in 2005 when Congress passed, and President Bush signed the Real ID act, which calls for a more secure driver’s license. We don’t have a national ID card, so state-issued driver’s licenses are accepted by the federal government as identification when boarding a plane or entering a federal building.

States have different standards, and so Congress, in response to the 9/11 Commission, set uniform, secure, standards for states to apply. Driven by costs and other considerations, states are in various levels of compliance. For years, Homeland Security has been granting waivers to states, including Oregon, if they make progress. Now, the gig is up.

In 2007, Governor Kulongoski issued an executive order mandating comprehensive and meaningful identification to be issued a driver’s license, which brought Oregon many steps closer to compliance. This is why you have to practically bring your file cabinet down to the DMV to renew your driver’s license.

The main shortfall from full compliance with Real ID is that the DMV does not permanently retain an image of the documentation you provide. In eight years, when you have to renew again, you’ll have to bring the file cabinet back down to the DMV. Indeed, in 2009, the Legislature passed a law which forbids ODOT from expending any resources to comply with the Real ID act.

As the Kulongoski executive order made it harder for persons not legally in the country to get drivers licenses, a solution was sought in creating a “driver card” for those who could not prove legal status in the US. It passed both houses and was signed into law by Governor John Kitzhaber in a front porch ceremony on May 1, 2013. Since it did not have an emergency clause, it could be challenged by a citizens’ referendum, and it was. In an embarrassment to the legislative establishment, enough signatures were gathered (many by me) and it was put to the people in the form of Measure 88 in 2014. It was repealed by a 2:1 margin and a majority in 35 of Oregon’s 36 counties.

So, as our waiver runs out, I and Senator Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River) have separately introduced bills in the House and the Senate to repeal the prohibition on ODOT and allow the agency to comply with Real ID. This makes even more sense in light of the fact that the DMV has embarked on a $90 million software upgrade, and this could easily be included. Another bill introduced in the Senate by Senator Bill Hansell (R-Athena) creates a new, “Star ID” which complies with Real ID but leaves in place the current driver’s license as a less secure – and I think open to fraud — option.

Let’s not mess this up. Let’s have one Oregon Driver’s License, compliant with Real ID, and quit making me take my file cabinet down to the DMV each time I have to renew.

State Representative Mike Nearman (R-Independence) is on the board of directors of Oregonians for Immigration Reform and wants to make boarding a plane easier and more secure. Read more about Oregon’s Quest for Secure Driver’s Licenses

Law enforcement or law UNenforcement?

The Multnomah County Sheriff's office is in an uproar because a Deputy Sheriff notified ICE about an illegal alien charged with domestic abuse.  So twisted is that office, they are "investigating" the actions of the Deputy, while defending the illegal alien.  Read more here.

If nothing else, I think the recent election has and should send a loud and clear message that tax paying citizens are sick and tired of our tax dollars being spent to defend and protect from deportation all illegal aliens.

The argument that cooperating with ICE will somehow cause the community not to trust law enforcement is bogus at best - and an outright lie to the citizens they are sworn to protect.

  Read more about Law enforcement or law UNenforcement?

Law enforcement hands tied by Oregon Legislature

In 1987, the Oregon Legislature passed a bill making it against the law for our law enforcement officers to enforce the law.  It's time to put an end to this ridiculous loophole known as state statute 181A.820.

How many illegal aliens do you suppose are in Oregon and the only "crime" they have committed is to be in our country illegally - thus breaking our immigration laws?

Think about that for a moment...

Illegal aliens often come to this country illegally to work - which is in violation of our employment laws.  And, they are likely hired by an employer who knows full well that they are an illegal alien.

But, before securing employment, they must first acquire identification.  I hear that one can be bought on the streets for about $75.  It's not a quality ID, but it's enough to pass for the willing employer.   Isn't that against the law - to buy and sell fake identification?  And, whose identity is being stolen?  Yours, mine - or, your grandchild's?

Now, the only in the country illegally, illegal alien needs a way to get to their new found job.  They have a buddy that gets them a car which they proceed to drive to work - without a license or insurance.  That too, is against the law! 

So, please explain how it's a necessity to forego enforcement of our immigration laws to protect those that are only in our country illegally!

The Sheriffs of Oregon have released a statement - I encourage you to read it - then call your elected officials and tell them to repeal State Statute 181A.820 Read more about Law enforcement hands tied by Oregon Legislature

Oregon sheriffs: Quick change in immigration actions 'unlikely'

WILSONVILLE, Ore. - Oregon sheriffs issued a statement Friday explaining the background to their stance on not reporting all undocumented immigrants to federal authorities, due to state law, and how that likely means no immediate change in their agencies’ procedures.

Here’s the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association’s posted “legal analysis,” in full:

Many Oregon residents are asking their local Sheriff how President Trump’s January 25, 2017 Executive Order on Immigration will change local practices. The Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association provides the following analysis of this complex issue. The answer, at least in the short term, is that immediate changes to police practices are unlikely.

All Oregon police agencies are prohibited by state statute, ORS 181A.820, from spending public dollars, resources or personnel to locate or arrest a person whose only violation of law is that they are in the country in violation of federal immigration law.

That statute has been in place since 1987, and unless the Oregon legislature changes it, that law will continue to prohibit Oregon police officers from acting as immigration enforcement officers.

The county or city governing body may enact local ordinances that further restrict police officers in that jurisdiction from cooperating with ICE or otherwise assisting in immigration enforcement. The executive order signed by the President does not directly affect Oregon law enforcement officers – it is binding only upon federal agencies.

If a person is illegally in the country, and commits another violation of law, Oregon police officers are specifically allowed by Oregon law to cooperate by exchanging information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Oregon jails do so routinely. We believe Oregon jails are fully compliant with federal law requiring local cooperation in accordance with 8 USC 1373.

Oregon jails do not honor requests by ICE to detain persons past their local release date, because doing so is a violation of the person’s rights and subjects the jail to serious civil liability. See link to court case below.

Oregon jails will hold a person for ICE if presented with a warrant signed by a federal magistrate.

In light of ORS 181A.820, and the fact that the federal court has made it clear that Oregon jails do not honor ICE detainer requests in keeping with the binding federal district court decision, Oregon could be considered a “sanctuary state” under the policies of the Trump administration, and the state may be threatened with loss of federal grant funding.

 At this time, the “sanctuary” definition is unclear. Cities or counties that have declared themselves “sanctuary cities” may also face threats of loss of federal grant funds. There will undoubtedly be legal challenges if the federal government actually does take away federal grant funds for sanctuary states, counties or cities, but there is some legal authority for them to do so.

There are still many unknowns in terms of future federal immigration enforcement policy. Congress could make changes in the federal law, the Oregon legislature could modify state statute, and a city or county could reconsider their level of cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Federal courts will almost certainly weigh in on these issues at some point. Oregon Sheriffs will continue to keep the lines of communication open with federal officials and state partners as this issue unfolds.

For the time being, Oregon Sheriffs are bound to follow state law, which currently only allows exchange of information with ICE when a foreign-born person is arrested. Oregon Sheriffs are also required to follow local ordinances enacted by their county governing bodies. Each Sheriff in Oregon is elected by the people and stands ready to answer law enforcement questions you may have about your county.

Executive Order on Immigration

ORS 181A.820

Oregon court case finding 4th Amendment Violation for honoring ICE detainer request

8 U.S. Code 1373


Pat Garrett

Sheriff, Washington County

President, Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association
  Read more about Oregon sheriffs: Quick change in immigration actions 'unlikely'

Support Oregon Businesses that use E-Verify

OFIR encourages your support of Oregon businesses that use E-Verify, a federal matching program FREE to employers to help ensure that any newly created jobs go only to citizens and legal residents.  Please tell the business why you have chosen to do business with them.

Please, do your homework about the business - OFIR does not endorse any business.

Please find your favorite business on this newly released list of businesses that "choose to use" E-Verify!

  Read more about Support Oregon Businesses that use E-Verify

Oregon measure calls for proof of citizenship to vote

SALEM — With concerns that are based on fear, rather than proof, that voter fraud exists in Oregon, a conservative duo is proposing a solution: put a clause in the state constitution that requires all voters to prove they’re U.S. citizens before they can vote.

Two Republicans have already filed a proposed constitutional amendment well ahead of the 2018 election that would require each of the state’s 2.5 million voters to register again within two years, this time proving to the state they are eligible U.S. citizens using approved government documents.

That way, says Mike Nearman, a Republican representative from Polk County, there’s proof that only eligible citizens are voting.

“I’ve heard rumors of what went on in House District 22, which is Woodburn and north Salem, that there was heavy recruiting and voter registration drives among populations of Latinos that are likely to have a lot of illegal aliens,” Nearman said last week in a phone interview. “I don’t have my doubts that it is going on at least at some level.”

Woodburn, in the Willamette Valley, is majority Hispanic or Latino, according to 2010 data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“We have online registration that has the little check box that says I am a U.S. citizen. That’s all there is,” Nearman said. “If I’m a citizen of Germany or Switzerland I can just go check that box and do that.”

The policy, which hasn’t gained popularity in Oregon politics, is picking up some steam nationally following the presidential election, despite being viewed as voter suppression by civil liberties groups.

After Republican Donald Trump upset Hillary Clinton in the election, there have been unfounded accusations of large-scale voter fraud. Trump fueled the fire by alleging on Twitter he didn’t actually lose the popular vote by over 2.4 million votes. Instead, he said, without citing any evidence, he won the popular vote “if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”

Kris Kobach, a Republican and Kansas secretary of state, is considered a prominent supporter of the concept Nearman is pitching for Oregon. Kobach has been an ardent defender of a law that seeks to require Kansans to prove their citizenship before registering to vote.

A federal court this year struck down the Kansas proof of citizenship law. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2013 against a similar law in Arizona, saying the National Voter Registration Act, also called Motor Voter, which allows voters to register without proving citizenship, pre-empted the state laws.

“We know this kind of requirement stopped tens of thousands of people from registering in Kansas,” said Dale Ho, director of the Voting Rights Project from the American Civil Liberties Union. “People aren’t interested in having an intellectually honest debate about it because there’s no evidence to back up their assertions about widespread registration of noncitizens.”

Kobach may have plans to address the court ruling, and as a member of Trump’s transition team, he has the ear of the incoming president.

A photo taken by an Associated Press photographer as Kobach met with Trump on Nov. 21 showed a document Kobach was holding that included plans for Trump’s first year as president. Much of the document was obscured by Kobach’s hand and arm but includes a reference to voting:

“Draft Amendments to National Voter—” the rest of the sentence is covered by Kobach’s arm, but elections experts believe it refers to the National Voter Registration Act, the federal law that allows voters to register by attesting to their citizenship.

Kobach didn’t respond to a request for comment.

“Here’s the bottom line: courts have ruled that the current version of the (Motor Voter Act) pre-empts a proof-of-citizenship requirement and that trying to have a separate registration system for state elections is unlawful,” said Josh Douglas, associate professor of law at the University of Kentucky College of Law.

If Kobach wanted proof-of-citizenship laws to be implemented on a wider scale, he could suggest amending the Motor Voter Act to put in place a national requirement for prospective voters to prove citizenship before voting, or allow states to enact their own laws with that requirement, Ho said.

Under Nearman’s proposal for Oregon, everyone seeking to participate in elections would have to register using a U.S. passport, certificate of naturalization from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, original or certified birth certificate or other government document.

Some Republicans have sought that level of proof for registering to vote in Oregon long before Nearman became chief petitioner of the proposed amendment.

Some Republicans in the state House and Senate have pitched the idea every session since at least 2005. The closest it’s come to the governor’s desk is when it passed the Republican-controlled House in 2005 before dying in the Senate.

Nearman didn’t say there was proof that voters in House District 22 illegally registered to vote — a felony in Oregon. The Bulletin also spoke with Jaime Arredondo, director of Accion Politica PCUNista, a group that organizes Latino voters, who helped run a voter registration drive in the district.

“Our groups have been doing voter registration in this area for over 20 years,” Arredondo said. “We cover every step of the way, checking on citizenship, on age and so-forth. Our folks know when they go out there what their requirements are to do that.”

Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins, a Democrat tapped in 2015 to replace Kate Brown when she became governor, said in an interview Friday there hadn’t been accusations of voter fraud in Oregon this year. She said she heard of one ineligible voter who registered but later contacted the county clerk and unregistered.

“It’s not that we couldn’t investigate a complaint. We could, if people actually had evidence of voter registration drives where people were being encouraged to ignore the legal responsibility involved or downplay it or anything like that,” Atkins said. “Evidence of that happening would be something that we would probably in partnership with the Department of Justice go after pretty severely.”

Still, without a law requiring voters to take the step to show the state or county clerks that they’re in the country legally, of age and not a felon serving an ongoing sentence, those pushing for a law that would require that level of proof maintain that Oregon’s elections are vulnerable to fraud.

“I think it’s not just 2016; I think it’s been happening for a long time,” said James Buchal, a Portland attorney and co-chief petitioner of the 2018 initiative who also ran for attorney general in 2012.

Rather than require the secretary of state’s office or county clerks to take steps to verify that residents on the voter rolls weren’t registered illegally, Buchal and Nearman’s measure would require each of the 2.5 million — and rapidly climbing — voters in Oregon to register again, this time proving citizenship with an approved government ID.

Buchal thinks that may hurt their case if the two collect the 117,578 needed signatures and move forward with a campaign in the 2018 election.

“People are lazy,” Buchal said. “If they find out they would have to re-register, they might not like that.” Read more about Oregon measure calls for proof of citizenship to vote

Opinion: How employers could stop illegal immigration in seconds

Published by:  MarketWatch Nov. 4, 2016

Written by:  Mark Krikorian - Center for Immigration Studies

Government’s free E-Verify takes just seconds to determine if a worker is here illegally, so why isn’t it mandatory?

Whatever you think of Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall on the Mexican border, there’s another wall we can complete right now: E-Verify.

That’s the name of the free online system that enables employers to check whether the people they hire are telling the truth about who they are. By entering the name, Social Security number, and date of birth of the new hire — something employers already have to collect — they get an answer in seconds about whether the person is an illegal immigrant or not.

This matters because jobs are the main reason foreigners sneak into the United States (or overstay visitor visas). And the large majority of the estimated 11 million illegals work on the books. So the harder it is for an illegal immigrant to get a job, especially an on-the-books job, the less appealing it will be to sneak in or overstay.

Read the complete article.

  Read more about Opinion: How employers could stop illegal immigration in seconds

Oregon Department of Corrections: Criminal Alien Report for the Americas September 2016

Data obtained from the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) indicated that on September 1, 2016 there were 955 foreign nationals (criminal aliens) incarcerated in the state's prison system.

Breaking the DOC criminal alien prison population down by a specific geographic region of the world, 844 of the prisoners self-declared countries of origin were located in the Americas: North, Central and South America and the West Indies (Excluding the United States of America and its territories):

- North America had 771 criminal aliens, 91.35 percent of the DOC prisoners from the Americas;

- Central America had 52 criminal aliens, 6.16 percent of the DOC prisoners from the Americas;

- South America had six criminal aliens, 0.71 percent of the DOC prisoners from the Americas;

- The West Indies had 16 criminal aliens, 1.89 percent of the DOC prisoners from the Americas.

The 844 prisoners in the DOC prison system from the Americas were 88.38 percent of the total criminal alien prison population.

Some background information, all criminal aliens incarcerated in the DOC prison system were identified by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a federal law enforcement agency that is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Once identified by ICE these criminal aliens had immigration detainers placed on them by immigration officials monitoring the state's prisons. After these criminal alien inmates have completed their state sanctions, prison officials will transfer custody of these inmates to ICE.

Using DOC ICE detainer numbers, the following table reveals the self-declared countries of origin of the 844 criminal alien prisoners from the Americas by number and percentage incarcerated on September 1st in the state's prisons.

Country DOC Total Inmates W/ ICE Detainers from the Americas DOC % Inmates W/ICE Detainers from the Americas
Mexico 766 90.76%
Guatemala 21 2.49%
Cuba 14 1.66%
El Salvador 14 1.66%
Honduras 10 1.18%
Canada 5 0.59%
Costa Rica 3 0.36%
Ecuador 3 0.36%
Peru 3 0.36%
Nicaragua 2 0.24%
Belize 1 0.12%
Jamaica 1 0.12%
Panama 1 0.12%
Total 844 100.00%
Source: Research and Evaluation DOC Report ICE inmates list 01 September 16.

The preceding table reveals that criminal aliens from thirteen countries located in the Americas were incarcerated in the DOC prison system. Mexico with 766 prisoners equated to 90.76 percent of the criminal aliens from the Americas incarcerated in the state's prisons.

Here are the ways Oregon residents were victimized by the 844 criminal aliens from the Americas.

Using DOC ICE detainer numbers, the following table reveals the number and percentage of criminal alien prisoners from the Americas incarcerated on September 1st by type of crime.

Crime DOC Total Inmates W/ ICE Detainers from the Americas DOC % Inmates W/ICE Detainers from the Americas
Sex Abuse 170 20.14%
Rape 156 18.48%
Homicide 120 14.22%
Drugs 99 11.73%
Sodomy 84 9.95%
Assault 71 8.41%
Robbery 40 4.74%
Kidnapping 24 2.84%
Theft 14 1.66%
Burglary 12 1.42%
Driving Offense 6 0.71%
Vehicle Theft 3 0.36%
Arson 0 0.00%
Forgery 0 0.00%
Escape 0 0.00%
Other / Combination 45 5.33%
Total 844 100.00%
Source: Research and Evaluation DOC Report ICE inmates list 01 September 16.

The preceding table reveals that 410 criminal aliens (48.58 percent) of those DOC prisoners from the Americas were incarcerated for three types of sex crimes: sex abuse, rape and sodomy.

Using DOC ICE detainer numbers, the following table reveals the number and percentage of criminal alien prisoners from the Americas incarcerated on September 1st that were sent to prison from the state's 36 counties.

County DOC Total Inmates W/ ICE Detainers from the Americas DOC % Inmates W/ICE Detainers from the Americas
Marion 216 25.59%
Multnomah 163 19.31%
Washington 160 18.96%
Clackamas 66 7.82%
Lane 43 5.09%
Jackson 32 3.79%
Yamhill 22 2.61%
Umatilla 20 2.37%
Linn 16 1.90%
Benton 12 1.42%
Klamath 12 1.42%
Polk 12 1.42%
Malheur 12 1.42%
Lincoln 9 1.07%
Deschutes 8 0.95%
Jefferson 6 0.71%
Coos 5 0.59%
Josephine 5 0.59%
Douglas 4 0.47%
Morrow 4 0.47%
Clatsop 3 0.36%
Crook 3 0.36%
Tillamook 3 0.36%
Wasco 3 0.36%
Hood River 2 0.24%
Gilliam 1 0.12%
Lake 1 0.12%
Union 1 0.12%
Baker 0 0.00%
Columbia 0 0.00%
Curry 0 0.00%
Grant 0 0.00%
Harney 0 0.00%
Sherman 0 0.00%
Wallowa 0 0.00%
Wheeler 0 0.00%
Total 844 100.00%
Source: Research and Evaluation DOC Report ICE inmates list 01 September 16.

Twenty- eight Oregon counties had at least one criminal alien from the Americas incarcerated in DOC prisons. Five of the state's counties, Marion, Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas and Lane, had 648 prisoners (76.78 percent) of the criminal aliens from the Americas incarcerated in the state's prisons.

Beyond the DOC criminal alien incarceration numbers and percentages by countries of origin, by crime types or by the state's counties, criminal aliens from the Americas pose high economic cost on Oregon tax payers.

An individual prisoner incarcerated in the DOC prison system costs the state approximately ($94.55) per day.

The DOC's incarceration cost for its 844 criminal alien prison population from the Americas is approximately ($79,800.20) per day, ($558,601.40) per week, and ($29,127,073.00) per year.

Even taking into account fiscal year 2015 U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice, State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) award of $1,602,510.00, if the State of Oregon receives the same amount of SCAAP funding for fiscal year 2016, the cost to incarcerate 844 criminal aliens to the DOC will be at least ($27,524,563.00).

None of preceding cost estimates for the DOC to incarcerate the 844 criminal aliens includes the dollar amount for legal services (indigent defense), language interpreters, court costs, or victim assistance.


Oregon Department of Corrections Population Profile (unpublished MS Excel workbook) titled Incarcerated Criminal Aliens Report dated September 1, 2016.

Oregon Department of Corrections Issue Brief Quick Facts 53-DOC/GECO: 3/23/16:

U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance, State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), 2015 SCAAP award:

David Olen Cross of Salem writes on immigration issues and foreign national crime. He is a weekly guest on the Lars Larson Northwest Show. He can be reached at or at Read more about Oregon Department of Corrections: Criminal Alien Report for the Americas September 2016

Taxpayer Cash Indirectly Funds Lawyers for Illegals

Although Congress explicitly has prohibited the use of federal legal aid funds for the poor from being used to represent illegal immigrants, a loophole allows the money to be used indirectly for that purpose.

Critics contend that the loophole is made possible by a combination of regulations that undermine of intent of the law, approving courts and political appointees who seem to care little about preventing illegal immigrants from benefiting from funds intended to help low-income citizens and legal residents.

The Legal Services Corporation, created by Congress in 1974 to help poor people get access to attorneys, distributes $400 million a year to 137 legal aid firms across the country. Those firms represent low-income folks involved in a range of civil cases, from landlord disputes to employment matters. They also provide legal advice and help poor people apply for government benefits.

“You have two buckets, but one bucket frees up the other bucket … It become a joke, really."

Under federal law, those firms cannot represent illegal immigrants, except in limited circumstances. But rules written by federal bureaucrats and approved by court rulings allow those firms to set up “mirror corporations” that are free to represent illegal immigrants. Technically, federal funds from the Legal Services Corp. cannot be transferred from the grant-receiving firm to its sister organization. But the firms can accept the federal grants and then transfer money from other sources.

“You have two buckets, but one bucket frees up the other bucket,” said Ian Smith, an attorney who recently discovered the loophole when he did legal battle against one of these sister firms. “It become a joke, really.”

James J. Sandman, president of the Legal Services Corp., denied that the organization allows taxpayer money — even indirectly — to make its way to lawyers representing illegal immigrants.

“To ensure strict compliance with these rules, LSC vigorously monitors its grantees and conducts numerous on-site visits to their offices each year,” Sandman wrote in an email in response to questions from LifeZette.

Lax Enforcement Alleged
But Smith, investigative associate for the Immigration Law Reform Institute, said information he has gathered from Freedom of Information Act requests suggests that the federal organization has been less than vigorous in ensuring that federal funds are not used to pay for attorneys for prohibited immigrants.

The federal inspector general with jurisdiction over the Legal Services Corp. told the Immigration Law Reform Institute in response to its FOIA request that it could find no records that a taxpayer-funded legal aid firm had ever turned away a client for failing to prove citizenship or eligibility status. In the last six years, the Legal Services Corp. has conducted just one investigation into a federally funded law firm improperly funding legal representation for illegal immigrants. In that case, an employee of the firm tipped off federal authorities to improprieties, Smith said.

Unlike other federal programs that bar illegal immigrants, Smith said, legal aid organizations are not required to use federal databases to verify the citizenship status of potential clients. Clients merely need to check a box indicating they are a citizen or eligible resident. There is no background check. It is essentially an honor system, he said.

In the legal battle the Immigration Reform Law Institute was involved in, the Washington-based legal group represented a citizens’ organization that led the drive to block a law that would have issued driver cards to illegal immigrants in Oregon. The legislature passed the law in 2013, but Oregonians for Immigration Reform successfully petitioned to put the issue before voters, who rejected the proposal in a landslide in 2014.

A group of illegal immigrants sued last year in an attempt to overturn the referendum. A judge tossed the suit, which now is on appeal. The legal group representing the plaintiffs was the Oregon Law Center, a mirror firm of the taxpayer-supported Legal Aid Services of Oregon. Under the law, Legal Aid Services of Oregon cannot represent illegal immigrants — but Oregon Law Center can.

Documents indicate that ostensibly separate legal aid organizations in Oregon are “nearly one and the same.”

The law ostensibly requires the firms to be legally separate entities. But Smith said his research indicates that they are “nearly one and the same,” with the same board of directors, adjoining offices, and shared litigation support functions. They often share cases and coordinate fundraising efforts, training, and administration.

Documents filed to the Legal Services Corp. show that Legal Aid Services of Oregon uses non-taxpayer funds to pay a pro bono manager who provides technical assistance, support, and coordination of legal services with Oregon Law Center. A joint staff planning committee includes managers of both firms. They also share a mission statement of “achieving justice for the low-income communities of Oregon by providing a full range of the highest quality civil legal services.”

Representatives from Legal Aid Services of Oregon and the Oregon Law Center could not be reached for comment last week.

Lawyers ‘Know a Loophole When They See One’
Under regulations governing grants from the Legal Services Corp., elements used to determine if law firms and mirror organizations are genuinely separate include whether they have separate facilities, personnel, and accounting records; and whether funds are transferred. But the presence or absence of any of the those factors is not determinative — the corporation decides on a case-by-case basis.

“It’s hard to enforce because the enforcement agent … is the Legal Services Corporation, itself,” said Ken Boehm, a former general counsel of the corporation.

Boehm was a congressional staffer who helped draft legislation that passed Congress in 1996 strengthening the ban on giving funds to organizations that represent illegal immigrants. Prior to that, the prohibition was murky. Ambiguities were removed in exchange for allowing federally funded legal aid organizations to represent illegal immigrants in cases of domestic violence, abuse, or trafficking. Boehm said the restrictions now are "crystal clear," but he said legal aid firms have devised ways around them. In one case, he said, a mirror organization was paying rent for office space from the grant-receiving firm — but was months behind on that rent.

"Lawyers out there who know a loophole when they see one have been getting away with all sorts of things," he said.

Now chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, which promotes ethics in government, Boehm said enforcement ultimately falls to the 11-member board that runs of the Legal Services Corp. Each is an appointee of President Obama — and Boehm said they have not been aggressive about pursuing violations that involve illegal immigrants.

The Legal Services Corp. also generally flies under the radar of Congress, Boehm said.

"Oversight hearings are sort of scarce," he said. "In the Senate, it's been a couple of years."

Jim Ludwick, who serves on the board of directors of Oregonians for Immigration Reform, said it is frustrating to be opposed in court by lawyers who appear to be indirectly subsidized by taxpayer funds meant to help poor Americans and legal residents.

"We just see where the law is violated — and they get away with it," he said. "They get away with it because they can get away with it."
  Read more about Taxpayer Cash Indirectly Funds Lawyers for Illegals

Military bases to refuse some New Mexico IDs

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Military installations in New Mexico, including Kirtland Air Force Base, will stop accepting some driver’s licenses for base access as early as Sept. 15 as implementation of the federal Real ID Act approaches, military officials said Tuesday.

While New Mexico-issued licenses and IDs are valid under Real ID criteria in some aspects until October 2020, at this point they won’t be accepted for Kirtland access after Oct. 10 of this year absent another extension – which is considered likely.

Meanwhile, state officials said Tuesday they hope to begin issuing new Real ID compliant licenses later this year. Under the new system, undocumented immigrants would be eligible only for driving authorization cards that are not valid for purposes of federal identification.

“We’re still on track and moving forward” on the implementation of the new two-tier system, said Benjamin Cloutier, a spokesman for the Department of Taxation and Revenue.

Beginning Sept. 15, identification cards or driver’s licenses issued by Minnesota, Missouri, Washington or American Samoa – which are not currently compliant with Real ID – cannot be used to access Kirtland, according to a base news release.

“New Mexico has received an extension for their state-issued ID cards through Oct. 10 of this year,” said Maj. Brent Pickrell, commander of Kirtland’s 377th Security Forces Squadron.

“New Mexico plans to file for another extension, and while we believe this request will likely be approved, we must plan for the contingency where it does not,” said Pickrell, who commands the unit at Kirtland that controls installation access.

Base officials expect resolutions for New Mexico and 28 other states and territories to be reached prior to Oct. 10, but they are preparing for the possibility that these IDs will become invalid, he said.

Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Range are implementing similar restrictions. Kirtland officials said the new rules are being implemented Air Force-wide. Officials at Cannon Air Force Base near Clovis did not immediately respond to a request about its access policies.

NM on track

New Mexico is awaiting approval from the federal Department of Homeland Security for its Real ID implementation plan and expects to begin issuing Real ID compliant licenses later this year.

Taxation and Revenue Secretary Demesia Padilla has told legislators the state got the go-ahead to order the fingerprint machines needed for background checks. The agency also has been working with a vendor that is designing the new licenses. Training for Motor Vehicle Division employees in the new system was to occur throughout August.

The new license system was approved by the Legislature and the governor this year, ending a contentious five-year debate over whether the state should continue issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.

Under the state’s plan, undocumented immigrants – along with any citizens who want them – will be able to get driving authorization cards that are not good for official, federal identification purposes. Citizens and others with a lawful presence will be able to get Real ID compliant licenses, as long as they provide the required documents, including certified copies of birth certificates and documents with Social Security numbers.

Fingerprinting will be required only of undocumented immigrants who are new applicants – that is, those without current New Mexico licenses.

Still, beginning Oct. 10, people with licenses or IDs from states or territories currently under an extension will need approved alternate forms of ID for unescorted base access, unless further extensions are approved.

Those states and territories are New Mexico, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Guam, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, the Northern Mariana Islands, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Valid forms of identification for Kirtland

Kirtland officials said valid alternate forms of ID include:

■ U.S. passport.

■ U.S passport card.

■ Permanent resident card/alien registration receipt card (Form I-551).

■ A foreign passport with a temporary (I-551) stamp or temporary (I-551) printed notation on a machine readable immigrant visa.

■ An employment authorization document that contains a photograph (Form I- 766).

■ Identification card issued by federal, state or local government agencies, provided it contains a photograph and biographical information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address.

■ U.S. Coast Guard merchant mariner cards/credentials.

■ PIV or federally-issued PIV-1 Cards (personal identification verification) issued by the federal government.

■ PIV-I card (personal identification verification-interoperable issued by non-federal government entities).

■ DHS “Trusted Traveler Cards” (Global entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST).

■ Merchant mariner card issued by DHS/ United States Coast Guard (USCG).

■ Border crossing card (Form DSP-150).

■ U.S. certificate of naturalization or certificate of citizenship (Form N-550) and U.S. permanent resident card (Form I-551).

Kirtland officials also said that current holders of distinguished visitor’s passes would be granted access with the passes until they expire, and new passes would be issued according to the REAL ID requirements.

For a full list of REAL ID Act and compliant and non-complaint states, visit []. Read more about Military bases to refuse some New Mexico IDs


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