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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.

 

 

Call every Oregon Senator today!

Alert date: 
2013-03-20
Alert body: 

Citizens likely have only today to stop passage of HB 2787 which would give in-state tuition benefits to illegal alien students.  The bill has passed the House and was heard by the Senate Education Committee yesterday. Recent reports tell us us they will send the bill to the Senate floor for a vote as early as Thursday.

CALL, email or visit your Senator.  Tell them you are a constituent and you VOTE.  Tell them you do not support, nor appreciate, that they would put the demands of people illegally in our country, ahead of the rights of US citizens.  Even our veterans are getting shafted in their zeal to get this bill passed ASAP.

If you don't know who your Senator is, find out here:  http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/
 

In-state tuition for immigrants heads to Senate vote

The Oregon Senate might vote as early as Thursday on a bill allowing in-state tuition for immigrant students.

The Senate Education Committee voted 3-2 along party lines Tuesday to advance House Bill 2787. The committee did not amend the bill, and a spokesman for Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, said the bill could be up for a final vote Thursday.

Courtney will be the bill’s floor manager when it comes up for a vote. He also sponsored the original bill a decade ago.

He said students should not be held responsible for what their parents did entering the United States illegally.

The bill would allow in-state tuition for students without immigration documents, if they graduated from high school or its equivalent in Oregon, attended Oregon schools three years before graduation and U.S. schools for five years. Students also would have to show intent to seek legal status or citizenship in the United States.

Out-of-state tuition typically is three or four times the rate for in-state residents.

Committee members heard from 28 witnesses split equally for and against the bill.

One of those in favor was Ayrton Nicolas, 17, a senior at North Salem High School, who said his ambition is to be a neurosurgeon. Nicolas, a member of the Junior ROTC drill team, said he has been accepted by several colleges.

“Unfortunately, because of my legal status in America, my tuition costs are twice or sometimes three times more than that of my fellow classmates who I studied with, played sports with and volunteered with,” he said. “This cost is the only thing keeping me from chasing my dream.”

But Mark Callahan of Salem, who has twice run for the Oregon House from Eugene, was among those who opposed the bill.

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.
 

HB 2787 - express yourself at the Capitol - March 19th @ 1:00pm

Alert date: 
2013-03-06
Alert body: 

If you traveled to the Capitol early in the morning for the opportunity to testify against HB 2787 last time and never got to speak, there is another chance.  The bill giving instate tuition benefits to illegal aliens has passed the House and moved to the Senate.  The Senate has announced that there will be a hearing on HB 2787 at 1:00pm on Tuesday, March 19 in Hearing Room C.  Bring quarters for the meter ($1.50 an hour).

This bill is misguided and unfair to US citizens from other states that would like the opportunity to attend an Oregon University.  Please, take the time to come to Salem, testify or lend support to those who do.  If you have questions about what to do, please call 503.435.0141.

Your Legislator is under constant pressure from illegal alien advocates to cave in to their demands.  Ask your Legislator to stop this bill in its tracks.  Oregon should not be usurping Federal law to grant benefits to a special group of illegal alien students.

Immigrant tuition equity bill is not an equitable solution

Passage of the so-called tuition equity bill was neither surprising nor equitable.

Tears flowed, children were paraded to the Oregon House floor and galleries to witness their “historic” moment and representatives employed hyperbole alleging that through no fault of their own, these students cannot afford college. Headlines the next day obliged this sensational spin on a complex issue.

I don’t feel sorry for these youngsters or guilty about their situation. I saw possibility in their faces and I feel pride for a country where the mistakes of parents cannot dim the hope of a child to follow the American dream.

The federal government has failed to protect our borders and enforce a sane immigration policy. Oregon hasn’t done much better. But can we ignore the sheer numbers of undocumented folks in our communities? The “round ’em up and send ’em back” mentality is not only ridiculous in the Willamette Valley, it smells of bigotry.

The reality is, despite shoddy immigration practices and the difficulty of raising a family under a dark cloud of illegal residency, we have an undeniable mass of undocumented citizens the majority of whom are hardworking, honest neighbors.

They’ve been here a long time and have provided much of the work force that sustains our region’s agricultural foundation. They’ve done back-breaking work and many now manage farms, nurseries or work in numerous vocations. Are we surprised that now their children and grandchildren want a higher education and to attend football games as bona fide Ducks or Beavers?

Republicans and Democrats are ready to offer in-state tuition to these children but the bill was rushed to the floor last week and is deeply flawed.

Addressing fairness for some while disallowing provisions for veterans currently ineligible for in-state tuition or ignoring American students now paying out-of-state tuition is not fair at all. The bill received one two-hour public hearing, thereby disallowing many to even testify. Some amendments were allowed but efforts for substantive improvement were largely ignored and I couldn’t support it as written.

The debate barely acknowledged impending federal immigration policy now boiling over in Washington, D.C. and the effect on Oregon. The fiscal analysis was pathetically vague and testimony about projected costs ranged from negligible to millions of dollars of lost revenue. Further, a prudent sunset clause to re-examine this noble experiment was rejected out of hand.

Perhaps the most troubling omission is the refusal to provide clarity for students to obtain citizenship and permission to work legally during their college studies and, most importantly, after graduation. This glaring error puts the graduates and Oregon businesses in an untenable lurch.

In the quest for “historic headlines,” I fear the House of Representatives has set up to fail the very children we want to assist. I’m not fond of the phrase: “Fix it on the Senate side,” but now that may be the only hope to find tuition equity for all Oregonians and students wishing to study here.


Vic Gilliam / Special to the Statesman Journal

Rep. Vic Gilliam, R-Silverton, is a member of the House Committee on Higher Education & Workforce Development and the Committee on Human Services & Housing. He can be reached at (503) 986-1418 or Rep.VicGilliam@state.or.us.

 

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