illegal immigration

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.

California prosecutor wants his county to change policy on illegal immigrants

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Martin Moreno roughed up his ex-girlfriend like an “animal" until police arrested him at gunpoint, according to a witness. Juan Flores bashed a man in the head with a beer bottle, producing a wound that required 25 stitches. And Francisco Gomez twice punched a 2-year-old with his closed fist — hard enough to trigger a brain hemorrhage.

All three were in this country illegally and could have been deported under federal law if Santa Clara County had been willing to hold them for immigration agents. Instead, they were treated like U.S. citizens and released either on probation or on bail under a county policy that effectively bars all immigration “holds." Since then, they’ve thumbed their noses at the criminal justice system and gone on the lam.

Armed with disturbing examples like these, District Attorney Jeff Rosen is urging the county board of supervisors to rescind one of the nation’s most lenient immigration policies. Rosen contends the year-old county policy unnecessarily endangers the community by allowing illegal immigrants with a history of violent or serious crimes to be released rather than held for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE.

The county’s policy must change, Rosen argues, “to protect public safety, protect taxpayer’s dollars and protect victims’ rights."

Tinkering with immigration policy is a touchy matter in a county where one in four residents was born in a foreign country. Staunch advocates of the county policy, including ambitious local politicians and some defense attorneys, argue that engaging local authorities in immigration enforcement undermines immigrant communities’ trust in the police, making people afraid to report crimes as a witness or even a victim. They also point to abuses of authority by ICE and note that many defendants were brought to the U.S. when they were young children and have deep roots here.

But the prospects for at least tweaking the policy are greater now that its main proponent, Supervisor George Shirakawa, is under heavy fire for charging thousands of dollars of questionable expenses on his taxpayer- funded credit card.

The board of supervisors is expected to vote whether to change the policy early next year, after a group of law enforcement officials, including Rosen, Acting Public Defender Molly O’Neal and Sheriff Laurie Smith, recommends a course of action. Smith supports honoring ICE detention requests for illegal immigrants with a history of violent or serious crimes; O’Neal is open to discussing the issue but has concerns.

The issue exploded last year when Santa Clara County became only the second jurisdiction in the nation after Chicago’s Cook County to release illegal immigrants with a history of committing serious or violent crimes onto the streets.

Marion County Corrections Facility Inmate Roster INS Holds

What follows is information taken from the Marion County Sheriff / Marion County Correctional Facility (MCCF) website for Inmate / Offender Information, Full Jail Inmate Roster, relating to the number of MCCF prisoners the United States (U.S.) Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has identified as possibly being in the county illegally, U.S. DHS–ICE prisoners charged with drug crimes, and the approximate incarceration cost to Marion County to house its U.S. DHS–ICE jail population.

Total MCCF Inmates: 407

   Total MCCF Inmates with ICE Hold: 36

   Percent MCCF Inmates with ICE Hold: 8.84%

Total MCCF Inmates with ICE Hold POS/DEL METH: 3

Percent MCCF Inmates with ICE Hold POS/DEL METH: 8.33%

Total MCCF Inmates with ICE Hold POS/DEL HERION: 4

Percent MCCF Inmates with ICE Hold POS/DEL HERION: 11.11%

Total MCCF Inmates with ICE Hold POS/DEL COCAINE: 1

Percent MCCF Inmates with ICE Hold POS/DEL COCAINE: 2.78%

Total MCCF Inmates with ICE Hold POS/DEL MARIJUANA: 0

Percent MCCF Inmates with ICE Hold POS/DEL MARIJUANA: 0.00%

MCCF Incarceration Cost Per Inmate Per Day: $107.74

MCCF Incarceration Cost Per Day of 36 Inmates with ICE Holds: $3,878.64

MCCF Incarceration Cost Per Week of 36 Inmates with ICE Holds: $27,150.48

   MCCF Incarceration Cost Per Year of 36 Inmates with ICE Holds: $1,415,703.60

For the eleven months of 2012, the MCCF has averaged 42.09 criminal aliens per day at the jail.
 

Dropping out is not an alternative

Dropping out is an appealing escape route, and many good men and women have already taken that path. But true patriots will resist and overcome that temptation.

I'm certain you have all noticed how the media handles the stories of the day.  But it's our job to point out to them that we see it and don't like it.  We must insist on honest, fair and complete reporting without the media bias we have become so accustomed to.  It's shameful!

Read Tom Tancredo's excellent article and you decide if it's time to speak up.


 

Why Hispanics Don’t Vote for Republicans

The call for Republicans to discard their opposition to immigration amnesty will grow deafening in the wake of President Obama’s victory. Hispanics supported Obama by a margin of nearly 75 percent to 25 percent, and may have provided important margins in some swing states. If only Republicans relented on their Neanderthal views regarding the immigration rule of law, the message will run, they would release the inner Republican waiting to emerge in the Hispanic population.

If Republicans want to change their stance on immigration, they should do so on the merits, not out of a belief that only immigration policy stands between them and a Republican Hispanic majority. It is not immigration policy that creates the strong bond between Hispanics and the Democratic party, but the core Democratic principles of a more generous safety net, strong government intervention in the economy, and progressive taxation. Hispanics will prove to be even more decisive in the victory of Governor Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30, which raised upper-income taxes and the sales tax, than in the Obama election.

And California is the wave of the future. A March 2011 poll by Moore Information found that Republican economic policies were a stronger turn-off for Hispanic voters in California than Republican positions on illegal immigration. Twenty-nine percent of Hispanic voters were suspicious of the Republican party on class-warfare grounds — “it favors only the rich”; “Republicans are selfish and out for themselves”; “Republicans don’t represent the average person”– compared with 7 percent who objected to Republican immigration stances.

I spoke last year with John Echeveste, founder of the oldest Latino marketing firm in southern California, about Hispanic politics. “What Republicans mean by ‘family values’ and what Hispanics mean are two completely different things,” he said. “We are a very compassionate people, we care about other people and understand that government has a role to play in helping people.”

And a strong reason for that support for big government is that so many Hispanics use government programs. U.S.-born Hispanic households in California use welfare programs at twice the rate of native-born non-Hispanic households. And that is because nearly one-quarter of all Hispanics are poor in California, compared to a little over one-tenth of non-Hispanics. Nearly seven in ten poor children in the state are Hispanic, and one in three Hispanic children is poor, compared to less than one in six non-Hispanic children. One can see that disparity in classrooms across the state, which are chock full of social workers and teachers’ aides trying to boost Hispanic educational performance.

The idea of the “social issues” Hispanic voter is also a mirage. A majority of Hispanics now support gay marriage, a Pew Research Center poll from last month found. The Hispanic out-of-wedlock birth rate is 53 percent, about twice that of whites.

The demographic changes set into motion by official and de facto immigration policy favoring low-skilled over high-skilled immigrants mean that a Republican party that purports to stand for small government and free markets faces an uncertain future.

Guest speaker Mark Krikorian - December 8, 2:00pm

Alert date: 
2012-11-13
Alert body: 

Join OFR Members and Friends, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, 2 pm

Quarterly OFIR meeting will be held in Salem; Best Western Mill Creek Inn, 3125 Ryan Dr SE, Just west of I-5 Exit 253, across from Costco

OFIR welcomes a very special Guest Speaker to our Saturday, December 8th meeting --

Mark Krikorian, Director of Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) in Washington DC.

OFIR President Cynthia Kendoll became acquainted with Mark and two other CIS staff members on her recent tour of the Arizona border.

While most of us are very disappointed in the election turnout regarding immigration issues, Mark will decipher the results for us and give us his forecast for the year to come.

You don't want to miss this meeting. Invite a friend and find out where we go from here.

To add to the holiday festivities, we will have a "goody" party.

Please bring one of your favorite holiday finger foods ... any kind of appetizers, snacks or sweets are welcome.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS: From I-5, take exit 253, which is the intersection of I-5 and State roads 22 and Business 99E. Go West on 22 (Mission St.) a short distance to Hawthorne Ave. Turn R on Hawthorne Ave. to the first left, which is Ryan Drive. Turn left on Ryan Drive, by Denny’s Restaurant, and proceed to Mill Creek Inn just beyond.

Krastev shipped to Bulgaria

The former Oregon Liquor Control Commission agent who spent nearly 20 years residing illegally in the United States under a false identity has been deported.

Doitchin Krastev, known as Jason Evers during his time in Bend with the OLCC, was sent back to his native Bulgaria on July 31, according to Andrew Munoz of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Munoz said Krastev traveled on a commercial flight, and was escorted by Enforcement and Removal Operations officers.

According to federal court records, Krastev began using the name Jason Evers in 1996, when he applied for and received a Social Security number using the name and birth date of an Ohio boy who had been kidnapped and murdered years earlier. As Evers, Krastev earned a GED from Arapahoe Community College in Littleton, Colo., then came to Oregon, passed a background check and began working for the OLCC.

Krastev arrived in the United States as a teenager in the early 1990s, the guest of former Reagan administration official Michael Horowitz.

Horowitz was touring post-Communist Eastern Europe when he met Krastev's parents, both prominent Bulgarian academics. Impressed by the boy's intelligence, Horowitz invited Krastev to return to the U.S. with him to complete his education away from the turmoil created by the fall of the Soviet Union.

Krastev graduated from a prestigious Washington, D.C., private high school and was admitted to equally prestigious Davidson College in North Carolina, but in 1994, near the end of his sophomore year at Davidson, he dropped out and disappeared.

After living in Colorado for a few years under the name Danny Kaiser, Krastev arrived in Oregon and became OLCC agent Jason Evers.

As Evers, Krastev made a number of enemies in Central Oregon. In a few instances, bar and restaurant owners who had been cited by Evers successfully fought their tickets, providing video evidence to contradict the agent's claims.

In 2009, the Oregon Department of Justice launched an investigation into enforcement practices at the OLCC office run by Evers and transferred him to Eastern Oregon.

In 2010, federal authorities caught up with Krastev. A State Department investigation comparing passport applications against death records revealed someone had applied for a passport in 2002 using the identity of the Jason Evers who had been murdered in Ohio 20 years earlier.

Federal marshals located Krastev in Idaho and arrested him on suspicion of falsifying information on a passport application and identity theft.

After pleading guilty to federal charges against him, Krastev served just shy of two years in a federal prison for identity theft and passport fraud.

In January, he was turned over to ICE and transferred to Florence Correctional Center in Florence, Ariz., to face deportation proceedings.

During his stay at the Arizona prison, Krastev filed a civil rights complaint against the warden and food director, contending their failure to provide him with adequate vegan meals violated his right to practice his Buddhist faith.

A judge ruled against Krastev, dismissing his complaint in early July.

As a consequence of his deportation, Krastev is barred from legally re-entering the U.S. for 10 years, Munoz said.

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