illegal immigration

Changes loom for illegal migrants

Alamo, Texas -- President Barack Obama‘s health care overhaul threatens to roll back some services for the country’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants if clinics and hospitals are overwhelmed with newly insured patients and can’t afford to care for as many poor families.

The law envisions that 32 million uninsured Americans will get access to coverage by 2019. Because that should mean fewer uninsured patients showing up at hospitals, the program slashed the federal reimbursement for uncompensated care.

This hurts the people who have found care through the country’s expansion of community health clinics, which offered free or low-cost care with help from the federal government.

For years, Sonia Limas would drag her daughters to the emergency room whenever they fell sick. As an illegal immigrant, she had no health insurance, and the only place she knew to seek treatment was the hospital or community health clinics.

When the reform has been fully implemented, illegal immigrants will make up the nation’s second-largest population of uninsured, or about 25 percent. The only larger group will be people who qualify for insurance but fail to enroll, according to a 2012 study by the Washington-based Urban Institute.

And since about two-thirds of illegal immigrants live in just eight states, those areas will have a disproportionate share of the uninsured to care for.

In communities “where the number of undocumented immigrants is greatest, the strain has reached the breaking point,” Rich Umbdenstock, president of the American Hospital Association, wrote last year in a letter to Obama, asking him to keep in mind the uncompensated care hospitals gave to that group. “In response, many hospitals have had to curtail services, delay implementing services, or close beds.”

The federal government has offered to expand Medicaid, the joint state-federal health program for the poor and disabled, but states must decide whether to take the deal. And in some of those eight states — including Texas, Florida and New Jersey — hospitals are scrambling to determine whether they will still have enough money to treat the remaining uninsured.

Realistically, taxpayers are already paying for some of the treatment provided to illegal immigrants because hospitals are required by law to stabilize and treat any patients that arrive in an emergency room, regardless of their ability to pay. The money to cover the costs typically comes from federal, state and local taxes.

A solid accounting of money spent treating illegal immigrants is elusive because most hospitals do not ask for immigration status. But some states have tried. California, home to the nation’s largest population of illegal immigrants, spent an estimated $1.2 billion last year through Medicaid to care for 822,500 illegal immigrants.

The New Jersey Hospital Association in 2010 estimated that it cost between $600 million and $650 million annually to treat 550,000 illegal immigrants.

And in Texas, a 2010 analysis by the Health and Human Services Commission found that the agency had provided $96 million in benefits to illegal immigrants, up from $81 million two years earlier. The state’s public hospital districts spent an additional $717 million in uncompensated care to treat that population.

 

A slightly longer and different version of this article is available.

You can help stop this: Oregon Taxpayers Foot $1 Billion Annual Bill for Illegal Immigration

The Oregon State government spends over one billion dollars providing services to illegal aliens each year.

Please, help OFIR defeat drastic moves by the 2013 Legislature to further the foothold of illegal aliens in our state.  How you ask?

Did you know you can make a contribution to fight illegal immigration today? Then, next year, via the Oregon political contribution credit, your state government will refund your contribution to you? I hope you'll take advantage of this opportunity by sending a contribution to the Oregonians for Immigration Reform Political Action Committee -- OFIR PAC.

The Oregon political contribution credit is easy and convenient. Here's how it works. If, by 12/31/2012, you contribute up to $50 as an individual or $100 as a couple to OFIR PAC, you can write off your contribution on your 2013 Oregon income tax return. What this means: your contribution will reduce your state income taxes by $50 to $100 -- in effect, cost you nothing.

It's your choice...you can give it to the government or you could contribute to the OFIR PAC.

You can contribute online or mail to:

OFIR PAC

PO Box 7354

Salem, OR 97303

Thank you for your support!

 


 

Senate Intern Arrested as Undocumented Immigrant, Registered Sex Offender

An unpaid intern to Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., was a registered sex offender and undocumented immigrant and is now facing deportation, a DHS official confirmed Wednesday to ABC News.

The intern, 18 year-old Luis Abrahan Sanchez Zavaleta from Peru, who worked in a New Jersey office for Menendez, was arrested on December 6th. News of the arrest was first reported by the Associated Press.

The senator’s office was informed Monday of the arrest and the senator was informed today, Menendez said. The Senator defended his office’s action today, emphasizing that the intern applied, was recommended and vetted by his school for the internship, not the Senators office.

“We asked status of all of those college interns, nothing didn’t indicate anything about his status and we certainly wouldn’t have known through any background checks since he is a minor about any sex offender status,” Menendez said on MSNBC this afternoon.

Once Menendez’s office was informed of the arrest, the Senator’s New Jersey staff director let the intern go from the program.

“He’s an unpaid college intern so it’s not like he’s a staff paid person,” Menendez said, “There is no way we could know about his status. We ask about status…there is no way we could know about any allegation as a juvenile about what his background would be in terms of any criminality.”

Menendez is a advocate for immigration reform and noted today that this does underscore the urgency of such reform.

“I can’t know who is here to pursue the America dream versus who is here to do it damage if I can’t get people to come forth out of the shadows, go through a criminal background check and determine who is here to pursue the dream and make sure those who are here and who have criminal backgrounds ultimately get deported,” he told MSNBC today.
 

Is support for an illegal-alien amnesty the key to GOP salvation?

OFIR Vice President Rick LaMountain explains the folly of the GOP chasing the Hispanic vote by way of an amnesty.  Read Rick's article in Wednesday's Investor's Business Daily.


 

Cost of illegal aliens in Oregon has passed the BILLION dollar mark

Alert date: 
2012-12-11
Alert body: 

In a new report just released by FAIR, the true cost to Oregon taxpayers is spelled out in a clear, concise and difficult to contradict report showing that illegal aliens in Oregon now cost taxpayers over a billion dollars every year.  That is after deducting what they do contribute in the form of any paid taxes.

The average Oregon household headed by a U.S. citizen pays about $728 annually to cover the costs of the state’s illegal alien population.  Read the full report.

Tuition equity on Kitzhaber 2013 list

SALEM — In a speech to civic leaders and lawmakers last week, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber signaled his support for legislation that would make attendance at state universities more affordable for students living in the country without legal permission.

In the 2011 session, proposed “tuition-equity" legislation would have allowed illegal immigrants attending high school in Oregon for at least three years to qualify for in-state tuition at state universities. Similar bills were introduced in previous sessions and all have failed.

But for the coming 2013 session, the governor is outspoken about his support, and Democrats control both chambers of the Legislature.

“It is time to get it done," said Tim Raphael, the governor’s spokesman.

Retired Sen. Frank Morse, R-Albany, voted against a tuition-equity bill in 2003. In 2011, he sponsored a similar bill, in part because he now believes it’s an education issue rather than an immigration issue.

What sparked his change of heart was a letter from a teacher who described a student who came to the country at a young age with her family — an outstanding student, the letter said, but one who could not afford college tuition.

“What’s really in the best interest of our state?" Morse asked. “To help students improve themselves and, in turn, actually improve the welfare of our state by providing people an opportunity. It didn’t make any sense to deny opportunity."

At the time, the idea met with pushback from lawmakers who said it represents the state encouraging illegal immigration. Others said it was anything but equal: charging students from outside Oregon out-of-state tuition while someone in the country illegally pays the lower, in-state tuition.

Rep. Jason Conger, R-Bend, said tuition equity fails to address the larger problem. He cautioned he had not seen any specific legislation, but said he believes the federal government should address immigration reform.

“The problem is, the young person didn’t make the decision to come here legally and may not have a realistic option under current law to become legal. It’s not just (the issue) of college tuition," he said.

Even if the students were to graduate, he said, they could not be legally hired.

“Sounds like a great policy, saddle them with whatever (it) costs to go to college and then say, ‘Sorry, your dream is limited to higher education and no career,’ strikes me as shallow," he said.

Federal law mandates that children in the U.S. be educated from kindergarten through 12th grade. Students may not legally be asked their immigration status, so estimating how many illegal-immigrant students are in the school system is difficult.

Morse said he’s encouraged that the governor is taking an outspoken position early on. “I think it has a wonderful chance of passing this time," he said.

Students who live in Oregon illegally are considered out-of-state residents, which means they pay about $20,000 more per year at the University of Oregon than in-state students pay. Specifics on what 2013 legislation could look like are not yet known. The 2011 bill would have required that students intend to become citizens. Whether proposed legislation would clear a path to citizenship is unclear.

Alberto Dorantes graduated from Summit High School in Bend. He’s selling fruit around town with his family, but the 20-year-old would love to study psychology and music.

“There are a lot of young people, I think, that if this passes would be encouraged to go to college," Dorantes said.

Francisco Lopez, executive director of CAUSA Oregon, a human rights organization, said he’s not surprised to hear the governor’s public support.

“I think it reflects the current climate of the country. Latinos and people of color were very influential politically last election," Lopez said. He said that his organization has already been in talks with the governor and lawmakers on the issue.

Speaker of the House-designee Rep. Tina Kotek, D-Portland, the granddaughter of immigrants from Eastern Europe, is on record in support.

House Republican Leader-elect Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte, was more cautious, in part because specific legislation has yet to be unveiled.

“Our high school graduates deserve opportunities for employment and higher education," he said in an email. But, he warned, the state should move cautiously to not “cause unintended consequences."

Undocumented youth in Hillsboro weigh in on deportation deferral program

Born in Mexico but raised here, Johan Chavez of Hillsboro says returning to his native country would be like entering a different world.

Now 17 and a student at Hillsboro High School, he remembers traveling at age 7 by bus then car across the U.S. border with his family. Since then, he has lost fluency in his native tongue and identification with a culture that now seems foreign.

As an undocumented immigrant, however, it is he who has remained foreign -- something he struggles with.

"Honestly, in my opinion, I am 100 percent American," he said.

Chavez's status and outlook could merge, though, if he is approved for a renewable work permit through a federal program that would defer his deportation. With a Social Security number, he could get a bank account and a job. With a job, he could pay for college, a necessary step toward his dream of becoming a music teacher.

"I know everything I want to do in life," he said, "but basically I can't do anything without some type of legal status."

Chavez is one of an estimated 16,600 young illegal workers and students in Oregon who qualify for President Barack Obama's executive order program. To apply, they must prove they arrived in the United States before turning 16, are 30 or younger, have been living here for at least five years and are in school, graduated from high school or served in the military. They also cannot be convicted of certain crimes.

There is no data specific to Oregon about how many people have applied in the last three months. But of the 900,000 young immigrants believed to be eligible nationwide, only about 300,000 have so far applied, according to data released earlier this month by the Department of Homeland Security.

Luis Guerra, legal coordinator and development associate for the immigrant rights group Causa, said the low number of filed applications can be explained by several factors.

One bottleneck effect, he said, is that many undocumented immigrants are relying on nonprofits for financial and legal assistance with the application process. Many of those organizations are struggling to keep up with demand, resulting in long waiting lists, he said.

"I would estimate the average cost per applicant, including government fees and receiving service from a nonprofit, to be somewhere in the $800 to $1,000 range," Guerra said. "That is not including transportation costs and time off work for many, especially when they have to travel from far places to Portland to either find the large concentration of services or go to a USCIS appointment."

Guerra said applicants may also have trouble submitting proof of identification. He said that for those who don't have passports or licenses, the only proof may come in the form of a consular identification from their country of origin's consulate in Oregon, which adds an extra step to the process.

The last main barrier was removed after the presidential election, Guerra said. Many were concerned that a government headed by Republican candidate Mitt Romney would have resulted in mass deportation, so they are just now coming forward to apply, he said.

For those who have applied, the process can be as short as two months, said Causa's executive director, Francisco Lopez. Many applications received in August have been approved. Some immigrants from around the state have already gotten their work permits and begun to apply for driver's licenses. Most, however, are still waiting for the news that could dramatically change their lives.

Maria Gonzalez, 20, of Aloha is anxious but hopeful that her application will be approved. With her paperwork and fingerprints completed, all that's left is to wait for a response.

"I'm just nervous because basically I'm juggling," she said. "I could have made a stupid mistake on the application and ruined it. It's scary to think that I may not get it."

The Mexico native remembers cautiously walking through the desert border at age 10. Now she is a student at Portland Community College, hoping to attain a career as a nurse or physician's assistant.

For Gonzalez, deferred action is a means to fulfill her potential. Graduating from Aloha High School in 2010 was terrifying, she said, because illegal status kept her from getting any of the scholarships she had applied for.

"Since I live in a single-parent home, once I graduated I was on my own," she said. "All my life, I thought I was pretty smart, but it brought me down to reality knowing that I didn't have the money to go to school, even though I had the head."

Ulises Olvera's status as a gay, undocumented Latino student has afforded him more luck in financing his education.

Olvera, 21, never thought he would get to go to college. Now he attends Portland Community College Rock Creek in Hillsboro, which he has been able to fund through his job as equity ambassador at the multicultural student center. The Pride Foundation, an organization that supports equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community, also awarded Olvera a $4,500 scholarship, he said.

"I didn't think I would be able to get into school in the first place," he said. "But anything is possible. I'm pretty successful -- getting my higher education, making a difference at a college setting -- and that's very empowering."

Even so, he said, acceptance into the deferred action program would open up a whole new set of doors for scholarships and work opportunities.

But first things first. If his application is approved, Olvera said, he will break in the new work permit by using it to get a license.

"I depend on public transportation," he said. "I want to drive because right now I live in Beaverton and my parents live in Jewell. I barely get to see them."

Friday, December 14 - Salem City Club - Sound Off! Winners and Losers, Beefs and Bouquets: A Look Back at 2012 ...Friday, December 14, 2012

Alert date: 
2012-12-04
Alert body: 

For our last program of 2012, a panel of notable Oregon journalists will look back on the past year. They will have an open microphone and free reign to speak their minds on a variety of topics, from local culture to national politics to the state of journalism today. This is the Fourth Estate’s chance to praise and blame, declare winners and losers, to sound off about annoyances, inconveniences, scandals, outrages, contradictions, and seemingly unsolvable problems. Join us for a fun-filled assessment of 2012.

Bill Church, our guest moderator, has been Executive Editor of Statesman Journal Media / Gannett Co., Inc., since June, 2006. Prior to coming to Salem, he served as editor at the Elmira, NY. Star Gazette, the Richmond, IN Palladium-
Item, the Battle Creek, MI Enquirer, and the Wausau, WI Daily Herald.

Emily Grosvenor is a McMinnville, Oregon-based writer and reporter specializing in profiles of people, food and place. She also creates strategic public relations campaigns and writes copy for corporate clients. Her magazine work and commentary has been published frequently in Publishers Weekly, on Salon.com, in Sunset, Portland Monthly, Edible Portland, AAA's Via, The Statesman-Journal, Salem Weekly, Oregon Quarterly, Oregon Humanities Magazine, and Northwest Palate. She is the books editor for Eugene Magazine
 

Dick Hughes joined the Salem Statesman
Journal in 1981. He has worked as a regional reporter, city hall reporter, state government /higher education reporter,as a loaner at USA Today, a night city editor, city editor,and newsroom trainer. He is currently Editorial Editor of the Statesman Journal and is a member of the National Conference of Editorial
Writers.

April Baer reports on government, politics, crime and courts, military affairs and other subjects for Oregon Public Broadcasting. From 2004 to 2009, she was host of OPB’s Morning Edition. In 2007 she was a finalist in the Public Radio Talent Quest. Before coming to OPB in 2004, she'd worked as a studio engineer, host, reporter, and occasional music host at several stations in Ohio.

Hasso Hering served as Editor of the Albany Democrat Herald from 1978 to 2012. In 1964, he enrolled at San Fernando Valley State College (now California State University, Northridge) and graduated in 1967. Hering took a job as a reporter at the Ashland Daily Tidings. In late 1968, he was named Tidings editor, a position he held until August 1977. In 1978, he was named editor of the Democrat Herald. During his prolific career, Mr. Hering is estimated to have written more than 15,000 editorials and columns. He continues to write and speak about issues of the day.

Join us for what promises to be a delightful and entertaining program on Friday, December 14, 2012, at Willamette Heritage Center at the Mill in the Dye House. For lunch reservations email rsvp@salemcityclub.com before noon Wednesday, December 12, 2012. Parking is free. Doors open at 11:30 AM. For more information on this program please go to www.salemcityclub.com.

Join Us!

Friday, December 14
Noon
Willamette Heritage Center
at The Mill
1313 Mill Street, SE
Salem, OR 97301-6351

For luncheon reservations, call 503.370.2808 or email rsvp@salemcityclub.com
by noon, the Wednesday before each program

Register online at www.SalemCityClub.com

Member Lunch, $12
Member No Lunch, No Cost
Nonmember Lunch, $15
Nonmember No Lunch: $5

Vegetarian or vegan entrees are available and must be requested at time of RSVP

Free parking
Doors open at 11:30 a.m.

 

Oh, and there's that, too...

The elephant in the room is eating away at our budget.  Why is it the only discussion our Governor has about the state budget revolves around cutting benefits to PERS employees (who earned them) and letting dangerous criminals out of jail to prey on Oregon citizens. 

Worse yet, his plans often include ideas about what our state can do for those who are in our country illegally...how can we make their life better, easier and more convenient for them.

As a lifelong Oregonian I would like to hear some ideas about how our governor intends to make life better (and safer) for the citizens and legal residents of Oregon.  What is most often left out of budget discussions, is the honest conversation about the real cost of illegal aliens in our state.  With over 8% unemployment in Oregon, there is never a discussion about the estimated 100,000 working illegal aliens and 200,000 unemployed citizens.  The Oregon Legislature won't even hear any bills requiring employers to use free and easy to use employment verification called E-Verify.

Our elected officials owe us that courtesy because reports show that families illegally in our state cost the tax-payers over $700 million just in services every year.

Do you ever see that kind of information printed in budget reports, newspapers or do you ever hear it on the news?  Not likely.

The Governor's next move is to cut services to citizens to offset the cost of spending our tax dollars on sending illegal alien students to state universities and only charging them in-state tuition rates, instead of out of state tuition....which, by the way, legal citizens have to pay if they want to attend an Oregon school.

Read this article about how the governor justifies cutting programs to citizens, but just "slips in" the reason why.

Kitzhaber pushes pension cuts in proposed budget

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Gov. John Kitzhaber will propose an increase in funding for Oregon schools, but the money wouldn't be enough to reduce class sizes unless the Legislature cuts pension benefits for retired teachers and other public employees, his staff said Thursday.

The governor's budget proposal, scheduled for release on Friday, will include $6.15 billion in K-12 school funding over the next two years, according to a summary released by his office. That's an 8-percent increase over current funding, but not enough to cover the $6.3 billion it would cost to maintain the current level of service in schools.

Kitzhaber hopes his budget proposal will nudge lawmakers to cut back on public pension benefits for retirees in order to avoid forcing school districts to lay off more teachers or shorten school years.

Kitzhaber spokesman Tim Raphael said the governor built his budget on an assumption that the Legislature will approve two changes to the Public Employee Retirement System: The elimination of a supplemental pension payment intended to cover out-of-state retirees' income tax in Oregon. Out-of-state retirees pay income taxes in their home state, not in Oregon, so critics say they shouldn't get the supplemental tax payment. The other change would limit retirees' annual cost-of-living increase to $480 per year.

The governor's office says the pension changes would save school districts $253 million in the upcoming two-year budget period. Across all levels of government, the savings would be $865 million per biennium.

The governor's funding proposal is far too low to improve the quality of education, said Gail Rasmussen, president of the Oregon Education Association, the state's largest teachers union.

His proposed pension cuts are unconstitutional and shouldn't be counted on to deliver savings to school districts, she said.

"Our districts are still dealing with really bad, bad budget crises," Rasmussen said.

In an email sent Thursday to state workers, Kitzhaber said his budget would not require them to take more unpaid days off work to save money, as they've had to do for several years.

His budget also will assume that the Legislature changes criminal sentencing laws so the prison population grows by just 300 inmates over the next 10 years — 2,000 fewer than experts project under current laws.

Kitzhaber's pension and sentencing changes will be a heavy lift in the Legislature, where both initiatives are likely to present political risks for lawmakers.

Public-employee unions, which were instrumental in helping Democrats build their majorities in the Legislature, have a history of fighting pension cuts that hurt their members' pocketbooks.

"Gov. Kitzhaber has provided a good starting point for the budget negotiations ahead of us," Sen. Peter Devlin, a Tualatin Democrat who will be co-chairman of the budget committee, said in a statement.

Lawmakers risk being labeled soft on crime if they approve legislation that reduces prison time for criminals. The governor has long argued that spending on prisons is rising too quickly and diverting scarce tax dollars away from education and police. A commission he appointed is expected to recommend sentencing changes next month.

The $16.3 billion proposed budget for the general fund and lottery is a 10 percent increase over the current spending plan. It would leave $130 million unbudgeted to guard against unexpected costs or a weakening economic recovery.

The governor is required to submit a budget proposal to the Legislature, but the final spending plan must be approved by lawmakers. Kitzhaber and the Legislature have to contend with a $700 million gap between anticipated revenue and the cost of continuing government services at their current levels for two more years.

Kitzhaber will also recommend:

— $1 billion in infrastructure projects, including $450 million for a new Interstate 5 bridge spanning the Columbia River.

— More money to pay for daycare for low-income workers, boosting the program by 500 children.

— Additional funding for high school students to earn community college credits and  to allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at public universities.

— $55 million for child safety, including more money for Child Protective Services and for community-based mental health services.

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