national legislation

House blocks trade deal from moving forward but may try again

After votes earlier today, the House has at least for now set aside the threat of giving Presidents the authority to use trade deals to guarantee other countries the ability to send their workers to take jobs in the U.S.

When the Senate passed the "fast-track" Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill, it set things up so that it could go to the President to be signed only if the House passed BOTH the TPA and a companion Senate trade assistance bill.

The House today was able to pass only one of those must-pass bills, narrowly approving the TPA bill (219-211). But the trade assistance bill garnered only 126 votes, with 302 voting against it. That effectively killed TPA for the present moment.

Republican House Leaders, however, could decide to bring the trade assistance bill back to the floor early next week in hopes of persuading around 90 Members (mostly Democrats) to switch their vote to pass what Pres. Obama and House Majority Leader Boehner consider to be a top priority.

"We are not done with this," House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said.

Moments before the first vote, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who had been silent on the issue, urged Democrats to vote against the two bills, hoping to keep TPA from reaching the President's desk. Pelosi pleaded with Republican House Leadership to focus on legislation that puts American workers first instead of free trade; something she failed to do during the amnesty debates of the past two years.

Pelosi led 144 Democrats in joining 158 Republicans to defeat the trade assistance bill. That was all that was needed today to keep TPA from going to Pres. Obama, who had made a rare personal visit to the Capitol to meet with Democrats in an emotional appeal for them to help him pass TPA as an important part of his legacy.

 

Greg Walden endorses trade bill, calls it a 'win for jobs and exports in Oregon'

As a House vote nears on the "fast track" trade bill, Oregon Rep. Greg Walden says he will support the legislation clearing the way for approval of the massive Pacific Rim trade pact now in final negotiations..

In a statement released late Tuesday night, Walden said:

"The U.S. House will soon vote on a bill that would allow us to establish fair and strong trade rules.  The bill lays out our trade priorities of fairness and competition—to whomever is in the White House. It requires any final agreement be made public for at least 60 days. And it requires an up or down vote in the Congress before any trade agreement is final. It's a win for jobs and exports in Oregon, and a win for transparency and accountability. I intend to support this bill to ensure that we can tear down barriers and open up new markets for Oregon's farmers, ranchers, and small businesses."

Walden's statement appeared to be aimed at part at influencing wavering Republicans in anticipation of what is expected to be a close vote....

Under the fast track bill, known as Trade Promotion Authority, the president can submit a trade pact to Congress for an up or down vote with no amendments allowed.

Walden is chairman of the House Republican campaign committee and thus has strong political ties...

On the Senate side, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., opposed the bill while Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., helped shape the wording of the measure and was a strong proponent.
 

ATTN: Yamhill, Clatsop and Columbia counties - Senator Jeff Merkley and Representative Suzanne Bonamici will hold joint town halls soon.

According to a press release from Rep. Bonamici’s office, “They will update constituents on their work in Washington, DC and answer questions and invite suggestions about how to tackle the challenges facing Oregon and America.”

OFIR members, please attend if you can, and ask questions or make comments.  Below the schedule, we include suggestions for subjects to be discussed.

What: Joint town hall in Yamhill County

When: Wednesday, April 1, 2015, 3:30 pm

Where: PCC Newberg Center, Room 115 and 116, 135 Werth Blvd., Newberg, OR 97132

 _______________________________________________________________

What: Joint town hall in Clatsop County

When:  Friday, April 3, 2015, 10:00 am

Where:  Cannon Beach Chamber Community Hall, 207 N Spruce, Cannon Beach, OR 97110

 _______________________________________________________________

What:  Joint town hall in Columbia County

When: Friday, April 3, 2015, 2:00 pm

Where: Vernonia High School Commons, 1000 Missouri Avenue, Vernonia, OR 97064


1.  Talking point suggested by NumbersUSA:

Rep. Bonamici and Sen. Merkley, I am disappointed that you voted to fund the President's executive amnesties. These programs are not only unconstitutional, but will directly harm American workers by providing work permits and social security cards to over 5 million illegal aliens.

2.  Talking point suggested by NumbersUSA:

Rep. Bonamici, Please co-sponsor the following:

The Mulvaney Resolution declaring Obama’s amnesties illegal (H.Con.Res.28)

Rep. Gowdy’s interior enforcement bill (H.R. 1148)

The Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 1147)

Rep. Chaffetz’s asylum reform bill (H.R. 1153)

Protection of Children Act (H.R. 1149)

The Birthright Citizenship Act (H.R. 140)

3.  Other suggestions:

for Sen. Merkley:  Your voting record on reduction of unnecessary worker visas for foreign nationals is F- over your time in the Senate, from 2009-2015.  Citizens are being passed over for jobs in favor of lower-paid foreign workers, in STEM occupations and elsewhere, by companies that exploit weaknesses in the visa programs.  (See herehere and here.)

for Rep. Bonamici:  Your voting record on reduction of unnecessary worker visas for foreign nationals is F- over your time in Congress, from 2012-2015.  Citizens are being passed over for jobs in favor of lower-paid foreign workers, in STEM occupations and elsewhere, by companies that exploit weaknesses in the visa programs.  (See herehere and here.)

for both Sen. Merkley and Rep. Bonamici: 

4.  There have been 7 major amnesties passed by Congress from 1986 to 2000, each resulting in ever-increasing numbers of illegal immigrants. Now more, even larger amnesties are being pushed. We need enforcement of the immigration laws, not more amnesties. 

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. If you are truly concerned about our environment, you should work for major reductions in immigration.

Some Senators don't want to protect American workers

 
 
The displacement of citizen workers by foreign nationals brought here under flawed visa programs is a serious problem for this country, but falls very low on the scale of importance to many U.S. Senators.
  
This was clearly shown at the recent Senate hearing described by John Miano in a blog on the Center for Immigration Studies website.  Here he names the names of organizations that appear to control certain Senators’ positions on the issue of jobs for Americans first.
 
Neither of Oregon’s 2 Senators is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but Senators Wyden and Merkley both have very poor records on importation of foreign workers.  Sen. Wyden’s voting record on reducing unnecessary worker visas is F over his whole US Senate career from 1989-2015.  Senator Merkley’s is F- over his Senate career, 2009-2015, on the same subject: unnecessary worker visas

 
By John Miano, Center for Immigration Studies, March 22, 2015 
[abridged version]
 
I testified last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Reforms Needed to Protect Skilled American Workers. It was a great honor to be invited. However, participating in an event like this highlights the growing isolation between Washington and the rest of America.
 
At one time there was a consensus that American citizens should come first under our immigration laws. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that preserving jobs for American workers is a primary purpose of our immigration laws; see, for instance Reno v. Flores, 507 U.S. 292, 334 (1993).
 
No such consensus exists in today's Washington.
 
The impetus for the hearing was the recent replacement of Americans by H-1B workers at Southern California Edison, Northeast Utilities, Cargill, and Walt Disney World.
 
You would think that members of Congress, upon learning that Americans workers are being replaced by foreign workers, would response in unison, "This is outrageous. That needs to stop now!"
 
I sensed such outrage from Sens. Durbin, Grassley, Sessions, and Vitter—but none of the rest present.
 
In fact, the impression I came away with is that most of the senators did not think it is even a problem when Americans are being replaced by foreign workers.
 
(Senators, that was just my impression. I know that some people put on a restrained face hiding rage behind that. If I left out any senator at the hearing who was outraged, I will be happy to amend this post and link to any statement you have made that Congress should act immediately to stop the replacement of Americans by foreign workers.)
 
 
While at the hearing, I saw that a number of organizations had put out a statement that included the following claim:
 
MYTH: Foreign workers displace American workers in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. 
 
The liars who signed this statement are:
• American Immigration Lawyers Association
• BSA | The Software Alliance
• Compete America Coalition
• Computer & Communications Industry Association
• Consumer Electronics Association
• Council for Global Immigration
• FWD.us
• HR Policy Association
• Information Technology Industry Council
• National Association of Home Builders
• National Association of Manufacturers
• National Venture Capital Association
• Partnership for a New American Economy
• Society for Human Resource Management
• Semiconductor Industry Association
• Silicon Valley Leadership Group
• Tech CEO Council
• TechNet
• U.S. Chamber of Commerce
 
While I was in the hotel room the night before, I watched a Rachel Maddow segment on MSNBC in which they went over a poll that asked Americans what the biggest problem in the country was. The number one problem, by far, was government.
 
It would behoove some senators to read Aesop's fable of The Ass and His Purchaser. The moral is "You are known by the company you keep."
 
Senators, when you hang out with liars, like those listed above; when you put their statements in the record; and when you repeat their statements without question you look like an ass too. You are measured by the company you keep.
--------------------------------
 
 
 

 

Enforcement Comes First

There are many issues plaguing our nation’s immigration system, but the biggest problem is that immigration laws are not enforced. While presidents of both parties have not fully enforced our immigration laws, President Obama has made several moves to unilaterally gutthem altogether. In order to protect against this, it is essential that any immigration reform start with enforcement.

Over the last several weeks, the House Judiciary Committee, which I chair, has approved four bills focused on enforcement of the law. These bills would strengthen the interior enforcement of our immigration laws, remove the ability of the President to unilaterally shut down immigration enforcement, ensure jobs are preserved for American citizens and legal workers, reform the United States’ asylum laws, and make sure unaccompanied alien minors who make the dangerous trek to the U.S. are safely returned home.

The Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 1147) requires all U.S. employers to use E-Verify, a web-based system that checks the Social Security numbers of newly hired employees to help ensure that they are genuinely eligible to work in the United States. Expanding E-Verify nationwide is a critical component to the interior enforcement of our immigration laws and brings the employment eligibility system into the 21st century.The Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act (H.R. 1153) closes loopholes in current law that encourage illegal immigration, such as weak standards for asylum claims that enable the Obama Administration’s rubberstamping of fraudulent applications and policies, and effectively ends the current “catch and release” policies of the Administration that result in apprehended illegal immigrants being admitted into the interior of the country rather than being returned to their home country. In doing so, the bill restores the integrity of our immigration system so that it works better for our country and those truly persecuted in their home countries.

Another bill approved, H.R. 1148, introduced by Congressman Trey Gowdy, strengthens the interior enforcement of our immigration laws by granting states and localities the authority to enforce federal immigration laws and defunds President Obama’s unilateral executive actions on immigration.

Additionally, the bill makes our country safer by making it more difficult for foreign nationals who pose a national security risk to enter and remain in the U.S. The Protection of Children Act (H.R. 1149) ensures that unaccompanied alien minors who make the dangerous journey to the United States are safely returned home. For those who stay here with a sponsor while awaiting their immigration hearing, the bill provides for greater transparency and safety of these minors to ensure they are not inadvertently delivered into the hands of criminals or abusers.

By refusing to enforce the law, the President’s immigration policies collectively undermine our immigration system and send the message to the world that our laws can be violated without consequence.These four bills end many of the Obama Administration’s disastrous polices that wreak havoc on our immigration system and strengthen the interior enforcement of our immigration laws. I hope that the full House of Representatives will take up these bills soon. We must ensure enforcement of our immigration laws before we can address other broken aspects of the system.

Bob Goodlatte is the representative for Virginia’s 6th District in the U.S. House.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to address Lane County Lincoln Day dinner

Alert date: 
April 5, 2015
Alert body: 

One of the true heroes in the fight against illegal immigration on our southern border is former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. We are so fortunate to have her traveling to Oregon to speak at the Lane County Lincoln Day dinner (more info. below).  OFIR President Cynthia Kendoll has been invited as a special guest. 

OFIR encourages you to attend this very special event!  Read more about Governor Brewer.

Lane County Republican Party is honored to host keynote speaker, former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer during our 2015 Lincoln Day Dinner, Thursday, April 9th.  It will be held at Valley River Inn, 1000 Valley River Way, Eugene

For decades, the federal government has failed to fulfill its constitutional and statutory duties to secure the border and restore integrity to our immigration system.  In response, Governor Brewer crafted state-level solutions, such as SB1070, aimed at protecting the people of Arizona from illegal activities.  When the Obama Administration challenged SB 1070 in court, the Governor stood up for their state's rights and Arizona's responsibility to keep its people safe.  Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Arizona's hotly disputed part of SB 1070 and Governor Brewer.  Additionally, she repeatedly urged President Obama and Congress to utilize the National Guard, Border Patrol and technology to secure the U.S. southern border.

We are privileged to welcome Governor Brewer's political courage and strength of character to Eugene. 

As we have discovered, elections have consequences.  This event will help us prepare for the 2016 election to provide Republican candidates with the best tools, volunteers and resources for success in 2016. Help us help them, and see Governor Jan Brewer in person.

Democrats hold DHS hostage; Demand Ransom of Work Permits for Illegal Aliens

 
Thus far, every single Democrat in the Senate and nearly all in the House are taking the position that they will not allow funding for the Department of Homeland Security unless their Republican colleagues pay a ransom in the form of millions of work permits for illegal aliens.
 
The headlines should read: "Democrats hold DHS hostage and demand ransom of work permits for illegal aliens."
 
But you are unlikely to read that characterization in any of the mainstream news media which have substantially described the funding standoff as being about deportations. Reading most news media, one would guess that the Republicans are demanding that millions of illegal aliens be deported sometime this year, and that the Democrats are refusing to allow that to happen.
 
But Pres. Obama made it clear in his town hall in Miami this week that deportations are not at stake at all.
 
Any characterization of Pres. Obama's executive immigration action as being about shielding illegal aliens from deportation is a straw man.
 
The Obama administration years ago halted nearly all deportations from the interior of illegal aliens who weren't convicted criminals.
 
And this week, the President repeated what he has said for months that, regardless of any court ruling or action by Congress, he will not allow his immigration enforcement officials to deport most illegal immigrants they encounter. In fact, he said he would punish any federal officials who initiated a deportation process. 
 
Nothing has been proposed in the DHS funding legislation that would force Pres. Obama to resume deportations from the interior.
 
The legislative language that offends the unanimous Democrats is not about deportations but about denying work permits to huge classes of illegal aliens.
 
The united congressional Democratic front is about ensuring that some 5 million unlawfully present foreign workers get an equal shot with struggling Americans at every new job that opens up.
 
To this moment on Friday evening, the Democrats are all taking a stand that there will be no funding for DHS unless the new jobs are opened up for illegal aliens.
 
That is the impasse.
 
The Senate Republican leadership and about a third of the Republican Senators today decided to pay the ransom to illegal aliens. But it is unclear whether House Republicans will go along with it or continue to insist that new U.S. job openings be reserved for U.S. citizens and for legal immigrants already here.
 
The fate of millions of American workers hangs in the balance.
 
-- ROY BECK is President & Founder of NumbersUSA
 
NumbersUSA's blogs are copyrighted and may be republished or reposted only if they are copied in their entirety, including this paragraph, and provide proper credit to NumbersUSA. NumbersUSA bears no responsibility for where our blogs may be republished or reposted. 
 

Judge orders halt to Obama immigration plan

 
A federal judge in Texas has blocked President Obama's policy deferring the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants.
 
In a 123-page opinion handed down late Monday, Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that the Department of Homeland Security did not allow public comment on its rules implementing Obama's executive action. He issued a preliminary injunction blocking the administration from implementing the deferred deportment program.
 
The White House immediately said that the Justice Department would appeal the decision. …
 
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, filed suit in December on behalf of Texas and 26 other states opposed executive action proposed by Obama in November.
 
The temporary injunction will halt the administration's actions on immigration — moves that could protect up to 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation — as the states' lawsuit moves forward.
 
"President Obama abdicated his responsibility to uphold the United States Constitution when he attempted to circumvent the laws passed by Congress via executive fiat, and Judge Hanen's decision rightly stops the president's overreach in its tracks," Abbott said in a statement. "We live in a nation governed by a system of checks and balances, and the President's attempt to by-pass the will of the American people was successfully checked today." …
 
Click here to see entire article.

Call your US Senators TODAY!

Alert date: 
February 2, 2015
Alert body: 
First Senate Vote on De-funding Amnesty TUESDAY
 

The Senate will cast its first vote TUESDAY on the House-passed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill that de-funds President Obama's executive amnesties. Tuesday's vote at 2:30 pm is a procedural vote - called a motion to proceed to debate the bill - and it simply determines whether the Senate moves forward to debating and amending the bill.
 

However, pro-amnesty Democrats are planning on obstructing the legislative process by filibustering the motion. If successful, they will be able to prevent the Senate from even discussing the common sense House bill that defunds the executive amnesty. Instead, Senate Democrats are demanding that the Senate pass a "clean" Homeland Security funding bill, one that does not limit the President's ability to exercise "prosecutorial discretion" in immigration matters. In reality, that means a bill that fully funds President Obama's amnesty programs!
 
Call your Senators today and tomorrow and tell them there is no such thing as a "clean" funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security.
 

Tomorrow's vote is critical because it takes 60 votes to defeat a filibuster. Importantly, there are at least seven Democratic Senators who voiced opposition to the executive amnesty after voters overwhelmingly rejected President Obama's immigration policies in the November elections. If they uphold their word by voting YES, the DHS funding bill will advance to floor debate.

There is no time to waste! Call your Senators NOW!

FAIR is calling on our members, activists, and supporters to take action NOW to ensure the Senate de-funds President Obama's executive amnesty. There is no time to waste!!! President Obama is already taking steps to implement his new amnesty programs. The Senate must approve the House-passed bill and send it to the President's desk. Then, President Obama will have to decide what is more important to him: funding the Department of Homeland Security or protecting illegal aliens.

Supporting President Obama's executive amnesty is unacceptable; hard-working, taxpaying Americans deserve better than another amnesty and the dismantling of immigration enforcement!

Call your Senators NOW!

Senator Ron Wyden - Phone: (202) 224-5244

Senator Jeff Merkley - Phone: (202) 224-3753
 

Tell them:
 

  • You oppose President Obama's executive amnesty
  • You expect them to vote YES on the motion to proceed
  • You want Congress to stop the President's abuse of power, now and in the future
  • You demand that Congress act NOW to rein in President Obama's abuse of power and restore respect for our immigration laws.

House Border Bill Advances Without Improvement

On Wednesday, the House Homeland Security committee rubber-stamped Rep. Michael McCaul's flawed border security bill (HR399) without meaningful improvements. The barely-tweaked bill reportedly is scheduled to be considered by the full House next Wednesday, January 28. In its current form, the bill will preserve the current catch-and-release policies, which were expanded even further by the executive actions announced in late November, rendering pointless much of the new spending and metrics-crunching mandated in this bill.

The main change to the bill made in the committee mark-up process was to increase the number of miles of new double fencing from 27 to 48, adding an additional ten miles in the Del Rio sector and another mile in the Tucson sector. This would bring the total length of double fencing up to 84 miles (over 600 miles less than the 700 miles mandated by the Secure Fence Act of 2006).

The amended product is still obsessed with attaining full Situational Awareness and Operational Control in five years, and oblivious to the fact that the current catch-and-release policies and newly expanded "prosecutorial discretion" policies that spare most illegal aliens from deportation would remain in place. Not only that, it gives oversight authority to an appointed commission that has little accountability to anyone.

To address catch-and-release, the bill should have heeded the recommendations of career Border Patrol and ICE personnel to specify and toughen the penalties that should generally ensue for illegal border crossers and authorize the tools, such as detention space, to enable this to be implemented. But the bill is silent on what kinds of consequences illegal crossers should face.

At a minimum, it would have been easy for the committee to tack on language from the Carter-Aderholt bill passed by the House last summer to address the border surge (analyzed by my colleague Dan Cadman here). GOP leaders seem to have completely forgotten this successful exercise in sound policymaking and party unification in response to a crisis. That was good governing that was well received by the public, and should have been a no-brainer to resurrect, along with the Goodlatte-Chaffetz bill on asylum reform.

In addition, the bill should have included among the dozens of metrics that DHS agencies will be required to collect at least one or two metrics that would reveal to the public how it is handling new illegal arrivals such as information on case disposition, whether the alien is detained or released, whether the new illegal arrival appears for court hearings, and whether the new arrival is granted a work permit.

In fact, the bill should prohibit the issuance of a work permit to new illegal arrivals, or anyone in deportation proceedings.

The bill should restore and expand Operation Streamline, a highly effective program that significantly reduced illegal crossings in certain sectors by efficiently detaining and prosecuting new illegal arrivals for the criminal offense of entry without inspection.

The Homeland Security Committee accepted this weakening of the mandate that DHS establish a biometric entry-exit system, which has been on the laundry list of must-do national security improvements since the first World Trade Center attacks in 1993. For example, the bill's loose language calls for biometrics to be collected at land ports of entry, but fails to specify that biometrics should be collected from all foreign visitors who enter at the land ports of entry.

And, it fails to synchronize the deportation process for legal entry overstays with the way illegal border crossers are treated both are recent illegal arrivals, and there is no good reason that overstays should be harder to deport than those who came over the land border.

Finally, in the section that supposedly intends to give the Border Patrol access to federal land within 100 miles of the border, from which it is currently blocked, the language of the bill appears to actually reverse a critical provision in current law that provides agents with the authority to access and patrol on public and private lands within 25 miles of the border (Section 13(e)(2). This could be a drafting error, but it urgently needs to be examined.

The pace at which this bill is being rammed through the House suggests that the leadership is eager to pass a token bill and then inform the public that the border problem has been solved, while leaving the president's executive amnesty intact and his abuse of authority unchallenged. If the rest of Congress goes along, they will have squandered the political momentum gained from their response to the border surge crisis not to mention wasting an opportunity to restore some integrity to our immigration laws and their sole authority to craft them. Not only would this fulfill a key campaign promise, it would begin to ameliorate the fiscal and security burden that the current policies have imposed on American communities. But it doesn't look like that's going to happen.

Contact: Marguerite Telford
202-466-8185, mrt@cis.org

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