illegal immigration

Senator Wyden to hold Town Halls

Alert date: 
March 31, 2013
Alert body: 

Here is the current list of Senator Wyden’s Town Halls. If possible, please attend one near you, and ask questions about immigration. Some suggested questions are listed after the schedule.  If you’re able to ask a question, please send OFIR (ofir@oregonir.org) a note about the response. Thank you.

Wyden Schedules Six Eastern Oregon Town Halls in Harney, Grant, Baker, Union, Wallowa and Malheur Counties

The public is Invited to Meetings in Burns on April 2,  John Day and Baker City on April 3,  La Grande and Joseph on April 4 and Ontario on April 5

PORTLAND, OR – Oregon Senator Ron Wyden will hold his annual town halls in Harney, Grant, Baker, Union, Wallowa and Malheur counties from April 2 to April 5. The meetings will be held in the cities of Burns on April 2, John Day and Baker City on April 3, La Grande and Joseph on April 4 and Ontario on April 5. Wyden has been holding town halls in every Oregon county every year beginning in 1996.

Harney County Town Hall Meeting
Date: Tuesday, April 2, 2013; Time: 5 p.m.
Location: Harney County Senior Center, 17 S. Alder, Burns

Grant County Town Hall Meeting
Date: Wednesday. April 3, 2013; Time: 9 a.m.
Location: Grant Union Junior-Senior High School, 911 S Canyon Blvd.. John Day

Baker County Town Hall Meeting
Date: Wednesday, April 3, 2013; Time: 1:30 p.m.
Location: Baker High School Auditorium, 2500 E Street, Baker City

Union County Town Hall Meeting
Date: Thursday, April 4, 2013; Time: 10 a.m.
Location: La Grande High School, Auditorium (Use Second Street entrance)
708 K Avenue, La Grande

Wallowa County Town Hall Meeting
Date: Thursday, April 4, 2013; Time: 2 p.m.
Location: Joseph Charter School, 400 E. Wm. E. Williams Ave., Joseph

Malheur County Town Hall Meeting
Date: Friday, April 5, 2013; Time: 10:30 a.m. (MDT)
Location: Ontario High School Gymnasium, 1115 Idaho Avenue, Ontario

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Some Questions for Sen. Wyden at Town Hall meetings, April 2013

1. There have been 7 major amnesties passed by Congress from 1986 to 2000, each resulting in ever-increasing numbers of illegal immigrants. Now another huge amnesty is being pushed. We need enforcement of the immigration laws, not another amnesty. We need E-Verify mandated, to ensure that all employed persons are here legally. E-Verify is accurate and ready for expansion. Will you work to make E-Verify mandatory?

2. Unemployment persists as a major problem in Oregon and the U.S. Businesses can and do hire illegal aliens at substandard wages in construction, agriculture, hotels, restaurants. Why don’t you do more to stop the hiring of illegal aliens?

3. States that have E-Verify laws have seen a decline in the illegal alien population. This shows that many illegal aliens will leave if they cannot find jobs. There’s no need for mass deportations and no one is advocating that. There is no need for another amnesty. Simply require implementation of E-Verify and honest enforcement of other immigration laws. This would bring decreases in numbers of illegal aliens and also discourage others from attempting to enter illegally.

4. Giving benefits to illegal aliens such as driver’s licenses, in-state tuition, etc. legitimizes their presence here and rewards illegal behavior. Citizenship and the rule of law must be cherished and respected, or our nation is on a slippery slope into the culture of corruption from which many immigrants claim to be escaping. What are you doing to strengthen U.S. immigration law enforcement?

5. Did you know that between the Censuses of 2000 and 2010, 80% of population growth resulted from immigration (immigrants plus the children of immigrants). The U.S. is already overcrowded. After more than 4 decades of unprecedentedly high immigration, we need a pause, a moratorium on immigration, or we face a steep decline in the quality of life for everyone. Are you willing to say No to the lobbies constantly pushing for amnesties and more immigration?

Who's REALLY in charge?

A recent letter sent to Causa supporters:

On behalf of all of us here at Causa Oregon, we want to thank you for all your work and support. While there are still some big fights to win this year, we have accomplished so much in the first three months of 2013.

With your help, we have forged new alliances with our sisters and brothers in the LGBT, labor, faith, business and education communities. Together, we've harnessed the political power to pass the ten-year-long struggle for tuition equity in Oregon and gained national recognition for our collaborative work in registering new Americans to vote. And, just this week it was announced that Causa, the Act Network and our allies were successful in forcing the Multnomah County Sheriff to end his policy of detaining undocumented immigrants for low-level crimes and non-violent misdemeanors.

It's only three months in to 2013 and together we're already making historyThank you for being a tireless ally in our mission to promote the rights of Latinos and immigrants in Oregon. Together, we are ensuring a healthy, vibrant American democracy.

In Solidarity,

Francisco Lopez
Executive Director

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I would like to take a moment to address the "successes" listed in the letter:

1.) Causa appears to be a group whose mission is to cause the ruling bodies of our state to CAVE IN to their demands.

2.) Causa appears to be a group that, by hooking up with legitimate minorities with issues, they hope that the public won't notice that they are advocating for the RIGHTS(?) of those in our country illegally. 

3.) Illegal aliens perpetrate crimes in far greater numbers than their 'legal' peers.  Yet, they seem to feel they shouldn't be in jail and that they deserve special treatment from the Multnomah County Sheriff....and he obliged their demand.

4.) The last line was the worst:  Thank you for being a tireless ally in our mission to promote the rights of Latinos and immigrants in Oregon. Together, we are ensuring a healthy, vibrant American democracy.

First of all, Latino's and legal immigrants have rights.  Do Latino's have special rights?  Causa simply chooses to drop the word ILLEGAL from their immigrant vocabulary and hopes that no one will notice.  After all, who doesn't want to help an 'immigrant'?  And, to make matters worse, claiming they are ensuring a healthy, vibrant American democracy is just a LIE!  Here in Oregon, the cost of services to illegal aliens tipped the BILLION dollar mark.

Since when do any of us get to pick and choose which laws we obey and which laws we ignore?  People who come here illegally are breaking immigration laws.   If they work, they are breaking labor laws. If they steal, buy, or borrow a social security number, they are committing identity theft. But, shhhh...don't say anything about that....that's not nice.  They are bringing the culture of corruption from their homeland, right to our front door.

But, all that aside, the thing that bothers me the most, are the lawmakers that are bending over backwards to work with groups like Causa.  That's the most disappointing of all!  Elections are a great opportunity to clear the decks!

Played like a fiddle

It's been a rough month for those of us working to stop the move to legitimize the presence of illegal aliens in our country. Sadly, we lost a 10 year battle against giving instate tuition benefits to students here illegally. We tried to negotiate with both the House and Senate Education Committees and nearly all the Legislators, either in person, by phone or email.

OFIR brought good, reasonable suggestions to the table. But, it was as if they could smell blood in the water and they didn't need to give an inch in any negotiations. Democrats sensed they could ram the bill through with lightening speed without any amendments that would protect Oregon students and Oregon taxpayers.

It was really quite sickening to hear the debate on the Senate floor as several Democrats and even a Republican gushed about giving every opportunity to students here illegally. They made no mention of the fact that these students and their families have likely "gamed the system" for years. They have stolen identities, have been working illegally, maybe even being paid under the table and are likely driving without licenses or insurance. But, aside from all that, the most important point is they are here illegally! When we have elected officials working so hard for the special benefits for illegal aliens, citizens have to wonder what's next!

I fear that we have taken the first step onto a very slippery slope. If our Legislators do not hear utter rage from their constituents now, the next move will be drivers licenses for all...legal, illegal...who cares!

Find out what happened in Tennessee and New Mexico when they started giving driver licenses to illegal aliens. It wasn't pretty!

 

OFIR founder challenges Congressman Schrader's facts

Congressman Kurt Schrader wrote a guest commentary that was almost nauseating in its inaccuracies and misplaced emotional rhetoric.

OFIR founder, Jim Ludwick challenged his 'facts' and schooled the Congressman in the reality of unchecked illegal immigration.  Read Jim's Guest Opinion.

 

 

OFIR founder challenges Congressman Schrader's facts

Kurt Schrader wrote a guest commentary that was almost nauseating.

OFIR founder, Jim Ludwick challenged his 'facts' and schooled the Congressman in the reality of unchecked illegal immigration.  Read Jim's Guest Opinion.

 

 

Man gets 25 years in child's death

A 24-year-old Keizer man will serve 25 years in prison in connection with the 2011 death of his girlfriend’s 4-year-old son.

Marion County Presiding Judge Jamese Rhoades handed down the sentence Tuesday to Gerardo Chavarria, who changed his plea to guilty to charges of manslaughter and two counts of criminal mistreatment of Sebastian Iturbe, waiving his right to a trial.

A jury trial had been scheduled for the first week of April. Chavarria’s convictions will result in his deportation from the United States after he finishes his sentence.

After a change to the indictment, which changed a murder charge to manslaughter, Rhoades asked Chavarria what he did the day of Nov. 5 that made him feel he was guilty of causing Sebastian’s death.

“The day this happened I had just gotten up. I was drinking beer, watching TV with Sebastian,” Chavarria said. “He did something, I don’t remember what, that knocked over the bottle of beer. For whatever reason I got angry, and I hit his head against the floor.”

The gasps of Sebastian’s mother, Erika Iturbe, and her parents rang out in an otherwise quiet courtroom as Chavarria said he pounded the boy’s head against the floor with his hands. Sebastian then became quiet, he said, and he put the boy to bed.

“I got nervous. I didn’t know what to do,” Chavarria said.

He said he took Sebastian to Salem Hospital two to three hours later. The boy was later transferred to Oregon Health and Science University where he died of blunt force trauma to the head Nov. 6, 2011.

According to documents written by Keizer police, Chavarria first told a detective that Sebastian fell and hit his head outside the family’s basement.

Medical staff said the boy’s injuries weren’t consistent with that kind of fall.

According to the statement, Chavarria later said he pushed the boy with a plastic child carrier and saw him fall down the stairs, hitting his head multiple times.

Chavarria recounted two other incidents in court in which he caused injury to Sebastian, including one when he hit the boy with a belt and another when he hit the boy on the shoulder with his sandal.

District Attorney Walt Beglau said that he wanted to bring the case back to Sebastian.

Through organ donations, Beglau said, Sebastian saved three separate lives.

“It’s hard to describe with words what Sebastian’s death has caused on his mother and family who are here today,” he said. “For his family, it’s been loneliness, anger that comes and goes and irrepressible grief.”

Erika Iturbe and her parents were each given an opportunity to speak in court.

“We miss his laugh, his smiles ... I will never get to hear him say ‘I love you Mommy,’ ” Erika Iturbe said to Chavarria, who looked away and hung his head. “I can’t say I forgive you because I don’t. I hate you with all my heart.”

Chavarria refused the opportunity to speak in court, but after the hearing, his attorney Stephen A. Lipton spoke on his behalf.

“He is genuinely remorseful,” Lipton said. “He’s getting a sentence better than what he had the right to expect.”

Before the hearing, Rhoades viewed a home video of Sebastian playing and singing to his sister.

“It’s difficult to talk to you knowing you killed this beautiful little boy,” Rhoades said to Chavarria. “He was a delightful little boy and a beautiful child and now he’s gone.”

As recommended by deputy district attorney Jodie Bureta, Rhoades imposed a 25-year sentence, one she felt was not hard enough.

“Twenty-five years may not be enough, but it is what the court will impose,” Rhoades said.

NOTE:  Gerardo Chavarria - ICE hold
 

Who represents us? Clearly, it's not these two gentlemen!

There comes a point in life when what one thinks just doesn't line up with what's actually happening. 

In all my years of striving to be a responsible citizen, a good, honest person and a strong parent, I thought that our elected officials were working for the best interests of, if not me and my family specifically, our country as a whole.

I thought that, even though I didn't always agree, ultimately our sovereignty as a nation would prevail and that our lawmakers would work to make our country even stronger.

I confess...I have been an idiot! 

It seems that if you were born and raised here in the U.S., or, if you emigrated here through the proper channels, work hard, pay your taxes, never break a rule...let alone a law, your entire life, then you are a chump! 

Elected officials want nothing to do with you and will dismiss your comments about impending legislation regarding illegal immigration as vehement opposition.

Apparently, a far better way to capture the attention of our lawmakers is to sneak into this country, steal an American citizen's identity, drive without a license or insurance, work without permission and perhaps even commit multiple other crimes like selling drugs, drunk driving, assault, rape and even murder.  Then, and only then, will you garner the full, positive attention and time of the people elected to protect the United States and her citizens.

What I see now are pathetic, gutless politicians being led around by their noses by illegal alien advocates and businesses that prey on an undocumented workforce.  It's actually quite shameful and I feel embarrassed for them. 

Other industrialized nations have already realized that excessive immigration (legal or illegal) does not work and results in high unemployment, depressed wages, flooded entitlement programs, poor working conditions and more.  I would hope that our elected officials would realize that they are encouraging a culture of corruption right here in Oregon and now, they are inviting it right into our Capitol.

OFIR has posted two recent letters in the Oregon section of our website.  One letter is from Oregon Senator Chuck Thomsen and the other letter is from Congressman Kurt Schrader.

If you have received correspondence from your elected officials, please share it with OFIR and we will post it on our website for everyone to see.

Rep. Kurt Schrader: Faith, politics and immigration reform

I just returned from Congressman John Lewis’ Faith and Politics Pilgrimage to Alabama and was deeply moved by the experience.

Fifty years ago, courageous Americans stepped out of their comfort zone and confronted an unjust segregation system that not only debased black America but white America as well.

I was struck by the intimate stories of complacency toward an immoral social norm by white businessmen and the church. I was amazed by the bravery of the black youth who saved a foundering downtown economic boycott in Birmingham, despite the water hoses and dogs of Bull Connor. I was entranced by the bravery of two black students willing to face a hate-filled Gov. George Wallace and a thousand others at the college doors in Tuscaloosa. I was overwhelmed with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s epiphany at the kitchen table in Montgomery late one night that he must conquer his fears and do what is morally right. I was in awe of the marchers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma who knew they faced violent opposition on the other side, but marched and suffered horribly anyway.

Much like then, America now faces another soul-searching moment surrounding an outdated, irrational and dehumanizing immigration system. One hundred years ago, America took all comers to its shores. Now our byzantine immigration system encourages would-be immigrants to put their livelihoods on the line in order to seek the American dream. It makes criminals out of business owners and farmers for hiring folks to do work that no one else will do; work that Americans benefit from and take for granted every day. And it generates an unconscionable trade in human beings and human rights violations that operate in dark shadows, often beyond our legal and law enforcement systems.

The discussion about immigration is not about documented and undocumented immigrants. It is about the very nature of who we are as Americans — our beliefs, our morals and our need to share the unalienable rights our immigrant forefathers bequeathed upon us 238 years ago. The loud lack of acceptance among a vitriolic few diminishes hope in aspiring Americans and undermines the progress we have strived for since our country’s inception. Is this our Christian theology? Are these the values of our Declaration and Constitution? Is this how we raise our children?

Merchants and farmers whisper to me that they need and value their employees as individuals and they are critical to the fabric of a recovering American economy. But these voices must be raised loudly and convincingly in your community, in the papers and with your state and federal representatives. As Dr. King often quoted, “Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.”

While individual churches and their charities have exhibited great acts of kindness toward many vulnerable families who have immigrated to our country, the leaders of organized religion must collectively demand an end to an unjust system — a system that separates husbands, wives and children for years; a system where getting to the “back of the line” means waiting 20 years; a system that allows a two-caste system for worker rights in this country.

I am pleased to see young people, particularly in Latino communities, begin to step up like the African-American youth did 50 years ago. Their bravery in stepping up without legislative guarantees and solely on the president’s executive order on the Dream Act is courageous. They captured America’s attention with their votes in this last election. Without Mano y Mano and thousands of youth-oriented groups like it across America, we would not be having the discussion of comprehensive immigration reform today in Congress.

What remains is for Congress to have our own epiphany. To do right no matter the political cost and march across that bridge despite some vehement opposition at home. As Dr. King said in his letter from his Birmingham jail cell, “Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere ... Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere in this country.”

Senators aim to reach bipartisan immigration deal next week

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Eight senators aim to cap months of talks next week with a comprehensive deal to overhaul the U.S. immigration system, a member of the bipartisan group said on Thursday.

Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, a longtime reform advocate, said once the agreement is done, aides will draw up legislation that could be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee in April.

"That's our goal," Menendez told Reuters. "We hope to agree on all of the major issues, hopefully, by the end of next week. But it could slip a bit," he said, perhaps by a couple of days or so.

"I'm not rigid about anything other than getting it right," Menendez said.

The timetable Menendez spelled out mirrored one that the group suggested earlier this year. It said it aimed to have a bill in March and a vote by the full Democratic-led Senate in June or July.

The eight senators - four Democrats and four Republicans - announced a "framework for comprehensive immigration reform" in January and have been working to flesh it out.

There are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, many of them living in the shadows while seeking work and trying to avoid detection.

The eight senators have tried to draft a plan that would include a pathway toward U.S. citizenship for undocumented immigrants while strengthening border security.

They also want to create a more effective system to guard against U.S. employers hiring undocumented immigrants, and develop a program to better forecast and meet future U.S. workforce needs in a bid to curb illegal immigration.

The eight senators came together shortly after the November 2012 election results reflected the growing power of Hispanic voters and their pleas for immigration reform.

"There have been hard and tough negotiations, but it has been done all in the spirit of achieving the goal, in which compromise has been made on both sides," Menendez said.

The senators have worked with the encouragement of the White House and reached out to members of the Republican-led House of Representatives.

This week Obama met separately with Republican and Democratic lawmakers, mainly to talk about budget deficit concerns. But immigration reform also was discussed.

On Wednesday, Obama told a closed-door meeting of Senate Democrats that immigration was "'something that we can get done,'" Democratic Senator Benjamin Cardin of Maryland said.

On Thursday, Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, a member of the group of eight, said he thanked Obama for "playing a role that's behind the scenes."

Flake said the issue of future immigration to the United States is a sticking point for Democrats, and that Obama could build support for that part of the pending immigration bill.
 

Gov't acknowledges thousands released from jails

The Obama administration reversed itself Thursday, acknowledging to Congress that it had, in fact, released more than 2,000 illegal immigrants from immigration jails due to budget constraints during three weeks in February.

The director of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, John Morton, said his agency had released 2,228 illegal immigrants during that period for what he called "solely budgetary reasons." The figure was significantly higher than the "few hundred" immigrants the Obama administration had publicly acknowledged were released under the budget-savings process. He testified during a hearing by a House appropriations subcommittee.

Morton told lawmakers Thursday that the decision to release the immigrants was not discussed in advance with political appointees, including those in the White House or Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. He said the pending automatic cuts known as sequestration was "driving in the background."

"We were trying to live within the budget that Congress had provided us," Morton told lawmakers. "This was not a White House call. I take full responsibility."

The Associated Press, citing internal budget documents, reported exclusively on March 1 that the administration had released more than 2,000 illegal immigrants since Feb. 15 and planned to release 3,000 more in March due to looming budget cuts, but Napolitano said days later that the AP's report was "not really accurate" and that the story had developed "its own mythology."

"Several hundred are related to sequester, but it wasn't thousands," Napolitano said March 4 at a Politico-sponsored event.

On March 5, the House Judiciary Committee publicly released an internal ICE document that it said described the agency's plans to release thousands of illegal immigrants before March 31. The document was among those reviewed by the AP for its story days earlier.

The immigrants who were released still eventually face deportation and are required to appear for upcoming court hearings. But they are no longer confined in immigration jails, where advocacy experts say they cost about $164 per day per person. Immigrants who are granted supervised release _ with conditions that can include mandatory check-ins, home visits and GPS devices _ cost the government from 30 cents to $14 a day, according to the National Immigration Forum, a group that advocates on behalf of immigrants.

Morton said Thursday that among the immigrants released were 10 people considered the highest level of offender. Morton said that although that category of offender can include people convicted of aggravated felonies, many of the people released were facing financial crimes. Four of the most serious offenders have been put back in detention. Other people released include immigrants who had faced multiple drunken driving offenses, misdemeanor crimes and traffic offenses, Morton said.

After the administration challenged the AP's reporting, ICE said it didn't know how many people had been released for budget reasons but would review its records.

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