Oregon Legislature

OR Legislature puts the law before the horse

Rep. Michael Dembrow and his band of co-horts are attempting to usurp Federal law by not only allowing foreign nationals, most likely illegally in our country to remain here, but now they want to give them an instate tuition benefit so they can attend college here.

I have asked this question repeatedly and not gotten an answer:                                                                                                                                                      How will these students and their parents pay for college?  Several students testified that they or their parents are working 2 or 3 jobs already.             Is that not another law being broken?

Is it just me...am I the only one who thinks we have we become too 'tolerant' of these lawbreakers?  To think that we can sit in the State Capitol Building - the hub of lawmaking in Oregon - surrounded by kids that freely admit they are here illegally and so are their parents and siblings.  They admit they are working several jobs (and most likely driving to those jobs without a license or insurance). And nothing happens to them.  "Living in the shadows", haha...it wouldn't appear so.

Barely allowing testimony from the opposition at yesterdays hearing, these legislators hope to pass a bill that would allow these student lawbreakers to be awarded the opportunity to pay instate tuition at our colleges and universities. 

Then what?  We will have subsidized the college education of illegal aliens who will be competing for jobs with college graduates that are US citizens.                Sounds like people need to stop and think first.  This is a bad idea.

When does this stop?  When do we finally say enough is enough?

 


 

Action on tuition bill set Friday

In-state tuition for students without immigration documents is on a fast track in the Oregon House.

After hearing testimony for two hours Wednesday, mostly from supporters, the House Higher Education Committee plans to consider action Friday on House Bill 2787. Approval would advance it to a vote of the full House, which shelved similar bills in 2003 and 2011 after they passed the Senate.

Hugo Nicolas, who testified for similar legislation two years ago while a senior at McNary High School, spoke in favor of the current bill. He is attending Chemeketa Community College and working at two jobs, hoping to transfer to the University of Oregon and then return to Salem.

“I deserve a shot at the American dream,” he told the committee. “Let me enhance my talents. Today we may be undocumented, but tomorrow, we want to lead the way to be the next generation of entrepreneurs that will energize this state.”

Edith Gomez is a sophomore at the University of Oregon, but only because her visa status was changed and she was granted special permission for in-state rates that are a third of out-of-state rates.

“I can’t help but think of others who are not so lucky,” she said.

Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, is the chief Senate sponsor of the current bill and also sponsored Oregon’s first such bill in 2003 at the request of Woodburn High School’s principal.

“It would be a great disservice to our state and our people if we allow the next generation of brilliant minds to go uncultivated simply because we refuse to acknowledge they are as much a part of Oregon as much as we are and our kids are,” he said.

Courtney said that students without immigration documents are simply not attending state universities.

But Gabriela Morrongiello, a sophomore at Oregon State University and chairwoman of its Young Americans for Freedom chapter, argued that lawmakers should not defy a 1996 federal law.

“Should the Oregon Legislature ignore federal law and confer such privileges, it must also give the same benefits to out-of-state students” such as herself, who is from California. “Failure to do so may result in a class-action lawsuit.”

Twelve states, including California and Washington, have such laws.

Cynthia Kendoll of Salem, president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform, questioned some provisions of the bill relating to how students prove they are seeking legal status in the United States.

“Wouldn’t it make more sense to wait until the federal immigration issue is resolved before pushing to pass a state law that could easily contradict the federal law?” she asked. “Banking on a federal amnesty to make enforceable the provisions of this bill is reckless and shortsighted.”

Kendoll also complained afterward that aside from her group and three public opponents, most of the testimony was given by the bill’s supporters. Three hundred students, mostly in support, filled overflow rooms and part of the galleria.
 

Feb. 13 - Hearing on HB 2787 - instate tuition for illegal aliens

Alert date: 
February 10, 2013
Alert body: 

On Wednesday, February 13 at 8:00am, the Higher Education Committee will hear testimony regarding HB 2787 - giving instate tuition benefits to students illegally in the country.  Testimony will be accepted from both proponents and opponents.  If you would like to testify about this bill, get there early to sign in.

If you don't want to testify, but would like to show your support for those who are testifying against this misguided legislation, please join us in Hearing Room D at the Capitol Building before 8:00am.  Bring quarters for the meter.

Most likely, proponents of the bill will bus in hundreds of kids (taking them out of school), to overwhelm the hearing rooms and create the appearance of a majority.  In the past, I have asked several of the children why they were at the Capitol...they didn't even know...but they were excited to be able to skip school to be there.

 

 

Alert: Bills for instate tuition for illegal alien students introduced

A bill has been introduced in the Oregon House of Representatives that would give in-state tuition benefits to illegal aliens.  The bill number is House Bill 2787. When you contact members of the legislature please refer to the bill number.


HB 2787 will have a hearing next Wednesday, February 13 at 8:00 am in Hearing Room D, State Capitol, before the House Higher Education Committee. WE URGE YOU to attend the Hearing; it is vital to have a sizable presence by opponents to the bill. Please be prepared to make a SHORT statement, or just attend to support our side. If you are unable to attend, please do not fail to call, email, or visit members of the committee listed below, and express your opposition.  Giving in-state tuition to illegal aliens will give each a $20,000 per year benefit -- a benefit that would be denied to a U.S. citizen from another state.
 

HB 2787 is an attempt to diminish the value of American citizenship.

HB 2787 would reduce tuition revenue to the Oregon university system by millions of dollars a year and result in increased taxes to Oregonians.

HB 2787 would take places in our universities away from citizens as enrollment is necessarily limited by budgetary restraints.

A simple reading of HB 2787 mandates that only people who are illegally in country can qualify under this bill for in-state tuition rates.

Schools will be burdened with providing records for thousands of illegal alien students.

There is no ending date for benefits to illegal aliens in this bill. Would most voters support spending millions of tax dollars to give unlimited, unknown numbers of illegal aliens places in our colleges in competition with citizen students? We don’t think so.

At a time when higher education is facing severe cuts in programs, and tuition fees are being raised for U.S. citizens, HB 2787 makes no sense. Legislators should be looking for ways to discourage illegal immigration, not reward it.

------------------------

Oregon House Committee on Higher Education and Workforce Development – Members
Michael Dembrow, Chair - 503-986-1445; Rep.MichaelDembrow@state.or.us
Chris Harker, Vice-Chair - 503-986-1434; Rep.ChrisHarker@state.or.us
John Huffman, Vice-Chair - 503-986-1459; Rep.JohnHuffman@state.or.us
Mark Johnson - 503-986-1452; Rep.MarkJohnson@state.or.us
Joe Gallegos - 503-986-1430; Rep.JoeGallegos@state.or.us
Vic Gilliam - 503-986-1418; Rep.VicGilliam@state.or.us
Chris Gorsek - 503-986-1449; Rep.ChrisGorsek@state.or.us
Mitch Greenlick - 503-986-1433; Rep.MitchGreenlick@state.or.us
Gene Whisnant - 503-986-1453; Rep.GeneWhisnant@state.or.us
 

OFIR meeting Saturday, Feb. 9 at 2:00pm

Alert date: 
February 2, 2013
Alert body: 

The news media has painted a bleak picture for those of us that believe in secure borders, American sovereignty and the rule of law. But, as we had hoped, many of those that got caught up in the amnesty frenzy are beginning to feel uncomfortable with their decisions. People like us must continue to point out the errors in their thinking and the consequences of their actions on our country and our citizens.

Please join OFIR Saturday, February 9 at 2:00pm and learn how to channel that frustration into positive actions that just might make a difference. Remember, too...elections come every 2years...no one is permanent. Bring a friend to the meeting at the Best Western Mill Creek Inn just across from Costco in Salem, OR.

 

We the people have an opinion...are you listening?

While the following poll is not scientific and the question offered gives a limited number of choices, it seems clear what the public is thinking.

Enforce the law!  It's against the law to hire an illegal alien to work for you.  If illegal aliens could not find a job here, they would likely move on, or return to their native country.

It's quite telling that the Oregon Legislature, in the past, has refused to even hear a bill that was written requiring all state employers to use the FREE, 99.6% accurate and easy to use E-Verify matching program.  In other words, if the State of Oregon, using taxpayer money, needs to hire someone for a job, they are not required to be certain they are hiring a LEGAL worker.  How ridiculous is that? With over 160,000 unemployed Oregonians, wouldn't you think the State should hire one of those workers and not an illegal alien?

The bill has been posted again for the upcoming 2013 session of the Oregon Legislature.  House Bill 2358 is sponsored by Representative Thatcher, Representatives Weidner and Whisnant.

Please, contact your Legislator and ask them to support this bill.  It's a no cost solution to a problem that is only getting bigger everyday.

If they don't hear from you, they will succumb to the pressure of the pro-illegal alien advocacy groups that are pushing for even more rights and benefits for foreign nationals illegally present in our country.

StatesmanJournal.com

POLL RESULTS

YESTERDAY’S QUESTION

Which immigration reform proposed by the White House or Senate is most important to you?

- Providing those in the U.S. illegally a path to become citizens – 1.9%

- Strengthening border security — 31.1%

- Cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants – 52.4%

- Streamlining the legal immigration system – 1.2%

- All of the above – 12.2%

- None of the above – 1.3%

(Yesterdays online poll results appeared in the January 31, 2013 hardcopy Statesman Journal newspaper.)

DACA - just another form of amnesty

One of OFIR's original founders, Elizabeth VanStaaveren spells out the meaning behind the madness of the DACA -  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.  Read the full article here.

The one billion dollar elephant in the room

OFIR Vice President Rick LaMountain hit the nail on the head again in this just published article.

Poll results don't support Legislature's plans

These are the final results of the Statesman Journal’s online poll yesterday. Results were printed in the hardcopy edition of the newspaper today, January 28, 2013. The paper’s practice is to give results in the print edition the day after each poll closes, and results are not posted online after the poll has closed.

Statesman Journal, Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, p.5C (editorial page)

POLL RESULTS TO YESTERDAY’S QUESTION

Should immigrants in Oregon be allowed to pay in-state college tuition if they met these conditions?

- 3 years in Oregon high school

- Graduation from Oregon High school

- Admission to a state university

- Actively working toward U.S. citizenship

Yes 31.5%

No 66.6%

Don’t Know 1.4%

Don’t Care 0.5%

---------------------------------

Several OFIR members objected to the wording of the question, which omitted the word “illegal” in referring to immigrants. In the context of the paper’s recent coverage of immigration issues, it is reasonable to assume the question meant illegal immigrants, and most viewers read the question that way. Of course the question should have been made clear to all by specifically referring to illegal immigrants, not just “immigrants.”

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.

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