OFIR

Oregon driver-card opponents file referendum papers

Opponents, as expected, have started their effort to force a statewide election on four-year driver’s cards for Oregonians who do not qualify for standard eight-year licenses.

Republican Reps. Sal Esquivel of Medford and Kim Thatcher of Keizer, and Richard LaMountain of Portland, filed the referendum papers with the secretary of state.

They hope to overturn Senate Bill 833, which lawmakers approved and Gov. John Kitzhaber signed on May 1. The bill would allow four-year cards for those who cannot prove legal presence in the United States and do not qualify for licenses, which also can be used for federal identification purposes such as boarding commercial aircraft and entering federal buildings.

The referendum effort was announced last week by Oregonians for Immigration Reform, which opposed the bill, hours after Kitzhaber signed it. Esquivel and Thatcher both spoke against the bill during a House debate April 30.

Referendum sponsors will have to gather 58,142 valid signatures by 90 days after the end of the 2013 Legislature. That deadline would fall on Sept. 26 if lawmakers adjourn by their target of June 28.

If their measure qualifies for a statewide election, the attorney general will write a ballot title, which is an official summary. The measure would then appear on the November 2014 ballot, although lawmakers can provide for a different date. The law would be suspended pending the outcome of the election.

If their measure does not qualify for a statewide election, the law will take effect Jan. 1.

Oregon would join Washington, New Mexico, Utah and Illinois in providing alternatives to driver licenses. The 2005 federal law does allow alternatives to licenses as long as they are clearly marked invalid for federal identification purposes.

OFIR billboard campaign in full swing

OFIR strives to educate the public about the real story behind illegal immigration.  FAIR recently released an in depth study finding that Oregonians spend ONE BILLION DOLLARS every year on services to illegal aliens.

As well, the Oregon Legislature is rushing to pass an instate tuition bill with no limits on numbers, no sunset clause, and an open taxpayers checkbook.

If you aren't outraged...you aren't paying attention!

Visit OFIR's photo gallery for a look at our billboards.  If you have ideas for future signs, contact OFIR.  If you like what you see, let OFIR know and perhaps contribute to help fund the campaign.
 

Immigration issues back in spotlight at Oregon Legislature

Debates over in-state tuition and driver’s licenses for Oregon’s undocumented immigrants drew thousands to the Capitol two years ago.

The Senate passed the tuition bill, as it had in 2003, but it died in an evenly split House. A Senate committee heard but did not advance the other proposal for driver’s licenses.

Those issues are back on the agenda of the 2013 Legislature, and so are the main players.

Immigrant-rights groups say they will push for measures that are likely to resemble those from 2011. Immigration critics say they will continue to oppose them, although they plan to emphasize different arguments.

But there are differences this time — mostly in the political environment.

While Democrats maintain a 16-14 majority over Republicans in the Senate they gained four seats in the Nov. 6 election to secure a 34-26 majority in the House.

The other difference is Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber, who took no public stances on either bill two years ago.

But on Nov. 30, Kitzhaber said he will sign a bill granting in-state tuition rates to state university students regardless of immigration status. He even suggested they should have access to grants.

Seven months earlier, Kitzhaber also issued a message — read aloud at a rally in Salem — committing him to resolve the issue of driver’s licenses. It’s not yet clear what form that will take, although a handful of states offer a couple of ways to go.

Case for in-state tuition

While federal immigration legislation could resolve the issue nationally, advocates say they will press for action that would add Oregon to the states granting conditional approval of in-state tuition rates for college students, regardless of their immigration status.

A new bill is likely to be along the lines of 2011’s Senate Bill 742, said Erik Sorensen, a spokesman for CAUSA, Oregon’s immigrant-rights group that promoted the 2011 effort. That bill specified five conditions for eligibility, including residency in Oregon, graduation from high school and steps toward legal status.

Hundreds of students donned symbolic caps and gowns two years ago. One of them was Hugo Nicolas, then a senior at McNary High School who came to the Mid-Valley from Mexico at age 11. He was a senior class representative and a company leader for Junior ROTC at North Salem High School.

“I don’t feel right being here illegally, but Mexico is not my country, and it does not have the values I have come to know,” he told the House Rules Committee, which was hearing the Senate-passed bill.

Even at in-state tuition rates, which are roughly a third of out-of-state rates, Nicolas said his dream of attending the University of Oregon would be difficult because he still would not qualify for government financial aid. But he said the bill would have given him a chance.

The Senate bill failed to move from the House committee, and an effort to force a House vote on it came up short of the 31 signatures required. None of the 30 Republicans signed — not even its House sponsor.

The case against

Oregonians for Immigration Reform, which opposed the 2011 effort, acknowledged that the changed political balance in the House will make it tougher to prevail.

“They are pushing it again, and the makeup of the House and Senate is slanted toward those who want to pass it,” said Jim Ludwick of McMinnville, a spokesman for the group. “But we are going to fight it again.”

Ludwick said opponents will rely more on arguments that granting in-state status to such students will cost the state university system in terms of higher out-of-state rates they would pay otherwise.

“It means that at the University of Oregon, an illegal alien will get a $20,000-per-year benefit that would be denied to an American citizen who happened to graduate from high school in any other state,” he said.

State university officials, who supported the 2011 bill, said such students are unlikely to attend any state campus with the possible exception of Eastern Oregon University, which does not charge a differential for out-of-state students.

“Oregon cannot afford to miss the chance to provide as many students with an education that allows them to fully contribute to the future of our state,” John Minahan wrote in 2011, before he stepped down as president of Western Oregon University. Under his tenure, WOU recruited Hispanic and other students who were the first from the families to attend college.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 12 states — including Washington and California — have laws allowing in-state tuition rates for undocumented students. Four others specifically ban them, and two others ban enrollment of any student who cannot prove legal presence in the United States.

Licenses: A sequel

Like most states, Oregon requires proof of legal presence in the United States before issuance of a state driver’s license or identification card. Lawmakers added the requirement in 2008 to comply with the federal Real ID Act, which sets standards for state licenses that double as identification for federal purposes such as boarding commercial aircraft or entering federal buildings.

The 2005 federal law allows states to issue licenses if they are clearly marked as invalid for federal purposes.

Washington and New Mexico still issue driver’s licenses without proof of legal presence, although Washington also has an “enhanced” license that serves as identification for federal purposes and travel to and from Canada.

Utah issues a driving privilege card that must be renewed annually.

Ludwick, speaking for the opposition, said relaxing the requirement for U.S. legal presence would make easier for drug traffickers.

“The most valuable document they can possess is a valid driver’s license,” he said. “It just emboldens criminal activity if you give driver’s licenses to people who should not have them.”

'Needs to get done'

Both sides on the issue say that use of Mexican consular cards is not a permanent solution.

CAUSA’s Sorensen acknowledged Kitzhaber’s efforts, and said Oregon’s recent decision to approve temporary licenses for young participants in a federal delayed-deportation program was a step forward.

Still, the number of Oregon participants potentially eligible for the federal program, known as DACA, is estimated to be far less than the total of undocumented immigrants. Sorensen said the larger question is how all of them prove they can get safely to and from work, school and family errands.

“It’s likely that we will stick with a similar bill” to what was proposed as a residency-only requirement two years ago, Sorensen said. “It’s one of those things that needs to get done.”

Health care

Whether health professionals should undergo training about differences in providing medical treatment to cultural minorities is a topic likely to be revived in the 2013Legislature.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
The Oregon Health Equity Alliance consists of six groups: Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, CAUSA Oregon immigrant-rights group, Center for Intercultural Organizing, Oregon Action, Oregon Latino Health Coalition and the Urban League of Portland.
They will promote a version of 2011’s Senate Bill 97, which as passed by the Senate would have required the Oregon Health Authority and 18 regulatory boards to develop standards and shape how health-care providers should be educated about cultural differences.
Although the 2011 bill passed the Senate on a 22-7 vote, it died in the House on a 30-30 split along party lines. Its floor manager then was Rep. Tina Kotek, D-Portland, who this session is House speaker.

Take advantage of the Oregon Tax Credit before year's end

Alert date: 
2012-12-22
Alert body: 

Do you know you can make a contribution to fight illegal immigration today and 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.

We need your financial help. 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.

Please send your contribution today and early next year, see it refunded to you in the form of lower taxes.  Thank you!

Contribute online or send to:

OFIR PAC

PO Box 7354

Salem, OR 97303

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.

You won't want to miss OFIR's next meeting on Saturday, March 10

Alert date: 
2012-02-26
Alert body: 

Please plan to attend OFIR's upcoming meeting Saturday, March 10th at 2:00pm.

Guest speaker Oregon Senator Alan Olsen will discuss immigration issues and the Oregon Legislature.

OFIR's President Cynthia Kendoll will share Part 1 of her experiences on the US/Mexico border.  Cynthia just returned from an intensive, week long tour of the border from Yuma to Tucson, Arizona.  The trip was hosted by the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington DC.

Invite a friend or relative to join you as you learn about immigration issues in our state and on our border.  The meeting is at the Best Western Mill Creek Inn, across from Costco, in Salem, OR.

OFIR, immigration, and American sovereignty

Oregonians for Immigration Reform (OFIR) advocates to stop illegal immigration and reduce legal immigration to a more sustainable level keeping the environment, the economy and societal impact in mind.  Does OFIR think immigration is an attack on American sovereignty?  No! OFIR is concerned for the future of the United States if we allow mass illegal immigration and excessive legal immigration to continue. Current high immigration rates are incompatible with the long term  interests of sovereign American citizens.

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