Oregon

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.

 

What happens on the border...

A recent trip to "Border School and Tour" in El Paso, Texas by two sheriff's from Oregon has created quite a stir in the media.
Groups that support the illegal alien population in our state are attempting to divert attention from the real issues and danger of the cartel presence and the related crimes, drug use, murder and violence. Does that mean that these groups, such as CAUSA, support the drug cartels foothold in Oregon?

Pro-illegal alien groups are attempting to put the focus on the cost of sending two sheriffs to Border School but avoid talking about the incredible cost to our state caused by the presence of Mexican drug cartel traffickers. Where is their outrage about that?

Oregon citizens should be proud that two sheriff's from Oregon attended, learned and can share what they learned with other law enforcement agents.

Read the Oregonians report here.

Read the Willamette Week's report here.

 


 

Oregon Considering Special Drivers License for Illegal Aliens

Oregon officials are considering a new form of identification (ID) for illegal aliens to serve as an alternative to a state-issued driver's license. The ID, which would grant driving privileges, would not require proof of legal presence in the United States. (Statesman Journal, Aug. 1, 2012)

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is leading the debate in the State on issuing driving privileges to illegal aliens. On May 1, Gov. Kitzhaber released a letter disclosing plans to convene a "diverse workgroup." This group, he hoped, would "come together around changes to our driver's license laws" that would allow "[illegal aliens] to come out of the shadows." (See Gov. Kitzhaber Letter, May 1, 2012) Since then, the workgroup has held its meetings behind closed doors and will not disclose its list of members. (Statesman Journal, Aug. 1, 2012)

Gov. Kitzhaber's desire to grant illegal aliens a form of driver's license poses great risks. More than just an official form of identification, driver's licenses provide a gateway to public benefits for illegal aliens. (FAIR Legislative Update, May 7, 2012; see also FAIR Matricula Consular ID Summary, 2003) In fact, the ease under which certain states grant driver's licenses to illegal aliens was instrumental in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The multiple licenses the hijackers obtained from states with lax driver's license requirements permitted the terrorists to secure accommodations, flight training, and travel tickets. (FAIR Legislative Update, May 7, 2012; see also FAIR Matricula Consular ID Summary, 2003)

Despite this demonstrated threat, the push by Gov. Kitzhaber and other Oregon officials for licenses for illegal aliens is not slowing. In fact, the working group's recent discussions comes a mere three months after Gov. Kitzhaber announced that the State of Oregon would be accepting Matricula Consular ID cards issued by the Mexican government as a valid form of identity. (FAIR Legislative Update, May 7, 2012; see also Associated Press, May 2, 2012).
 

You just have to wonder...

Almost every day we could report on the arrest of another illegal alien drug dealer in Oregon. It has gotten to the point that the arrest of one or two is no longer newsworthy. However the arrest of 15 in one drug bust - that is newsworthy. As you would expect, many had ICE holds placed on them.

Hundreds of people in Oregon die each year because of drug overdoses. The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area team reports that the cost to Oregon of illicit drug use is estimated at over $3 billion a year. Yet elected state officials seem unable to connect the dots.

You just have to wonder how many of the 15 had the highly coveted Matricular Consular cards? You know, the faux Oregon driver license that Governor Kitzhaber is allowing illegal aliens to use for identification so they can drive to their illegally held jobs.

Read the full article.

We have a winner!

Alert date: 
2012-05-12
Alert body: 

Oregonians for Immigration Reform announces our $1,000 scholarship winner. Victoria Hittner of Salem, was chosen as the winner.

For those of you that missed the April 15th deadline, please apply again next year.

Five charged with heroin dealing in death of former West Salem High School student

Five Mexican citizens today face heroin distribution charges that resulted in the April 16 death of a Keizer woman, federal prosecutors announced late this morning.

The five: Sergio Quezada Lopez, 33, Braulio Acosta Mendoza, 34, Jose Romo Gonzalez, 22, Jose Aldan Soto, 30, and Julian Hernandez Castillo, 31.

All five defendants are citizens of Mexico and are currently the subjects of Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers on their custody status.

Lopez is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Acosta today at 1:30 p.m. in federal court in Portland, Amanda Marshall, U. S. Attorney for the District of Oregon said in a prepared news release.

The federal arraignments of the remaining defendants are likely to be scheduled in the near future, Marshall said.

Laurin Putnam, 21, was found dead at her residence in Keizer from an apparent heroin overdose. In four days following her death, investigators made numerous arrests and conducted searches in Washington County, Multnomah County, Marion County, and Vancouver, Wash. Authorities seized more than four pounds of heroin and methamphetamine and cocaine, two guns, and more than $20,000 in cash, authorities said.

In addition to heroin distribution, the five face conspiracy to distribute heroin resulting in death, Marshall said.

Those who have a previous felony drug conviction and are convicted of conspiracy to distribute heroin resulting in death face a minimum prison term of life with no possibility of release, and up to a $20 million fine. For those who have no prior felony drug conviction the minimum term is 20 years and up to a $10 million fine.

Keizer Police Chief Marc Adams said in the prepared statement that Putnam’s was the fourth heroin overdose death in Keizer this year.

DEA Special Agent in Charge Matthew G. Barnes said the investigation followed the heroin supply chain from the victim’s arm to the doorstep of an out of state source of supply.

Also involved in the investigation were Keizer and Salem, police, the Marion County Sheriff’s, Oregon State Police; the Washington County Interagency Narcotics Team (WIN); the Portland Police Bureau; the Clark-Skamania Drug Task Force; the Oregon Department of Justice; and, the Portland based Highway Interdiction Team.

 

Welcome to Heroin City

"Jimmy," a drug dealer in his mid twenties, injects himself with heroin in the bathroom of a West Burnside Street tavern.
On my first attempt at buying heroin in Portland I was told to come back in an hour.
I'm a reasonably clean cut, 34-year-old white man with one wrist tattoo, no drug contacts; a photographer, not an addict.

Within five minutes at O'Bryant Square downtown, I had sidled up to a gaunt middle-aged man, and asked if he knew where I could find some "black" -- a street name for black tar heroin.  "The natives might be back in an hour," he said.  I'd come back in an hour.

Ten minutes later, I approached a young man on the sidewalk across the street from Pioneer Courthouse Square who told me he had just been ripped off to the tune of $15. I asked him for black. He said I should follow him around the corner. But then his girlfriend came up behind me, asking to see my track marks, accusing me of being a cop.


• Editor’s note: First-person narration by Christopher Onstott, story by Peter Korn
 

I had the impression that if she hadn't come by I would have had my black tar heroin, or at least a number.

That's the goal. Little pieces of paper with suppliers' phone numbers are treated like currency on the street. A dedicated addict will pay up to $100 to secure one, and always keeps two or three on hand.

Back to O'Bryant Square, where casually standing around with a group of street kids brought in offers of meth, crack cocaine and pot, but no heroin. Odd, since heroin use in Portland has skyrocketed in the last year.

There were 84 heroin overdose deaths in Multnomah County last year, up from 57 in 2009. A growing body of federal data show that in the span of a few years, Portland has become one of the nation's top cities for heroin use.

Portland is awash in heroin, and it's killing us. That's what the numbers say.

Criminal justice officials and addiction treatment providers say that the numbers only tell half the story. Heroin, they say, has moved from a drug used mainly by the poor to one increasingly used by the middle class.

More specifically, it is being used by young men and women younger than 35 who are looking to move beyond the highs they've experienced from prescription painkillers, such as OxyContin.  All this is made possible, experts say, because heroin is incredibly cheap and easy to obtain here.

Still, I'd been out on the street for close to two hours and I hadn't scored.

Weary of role-playing with street kids, I headed home, stopping first for a drink at the Plaid Pantry on Southeast Burnside Street. Sipping my Gatorade in the parking lot, I hardly noticed the young white man who walked up and asked, "How's it going?"

"Not bad," I answered with a shrug.  He countered with, "Wanna buy some bud, bro?"  "No thanks," I answered. Then I asked, "Got any black?"

That's how easy it was to buy heroin on a Wednesday afternoon in Portland. My new friend told me he lived downtown, but his dealer on 82nd Avenue "gets the best (stuff)."

I explained to him that I was on my way to a tattoo appointment, which was true, and couldn't come with him now. I offered $20 for his dealer's number. The number would lead to a call, a meeting place -- often a MAX station -- and the buy.

Cell phone numbers were exchanged, with the promise of an extra $5 for the contact number. After my tattoo appointment, an exchange of text messages, then a series of very fast phone calls setting up a meeting at a quick market on Southeast Foster Road, where I met my new friend and a scruffy companion, maybe in his late 30s, who I took to be his supplier.

My friend tried to hand me a small bag of black tar heroin. I say I need to use the cash machine inside. Somehow, I've got to tell this guy I'm not a heroin user.

He follows me, basically breathing down my neck, no personal space. The machine spits out $20 and I hand him the money. He starts to hand me the bag, but I deflect him.

He gives me a look somewhere between confused and surprised. But thankfully, he doesn't give me a look that says I'm a cop who has tricked him.

He heads back outside to talk to his companion. I explain that I'm a journalist, not a user. Would he talk to me?

He looks at me and says, "Oh my God, that's so f....ing cool."

Ten minutes later, we're in my car, as Jimmy (not his real name) explains how he went from being a University of Oregon athlete so afraid of needles that he had to turn away from movie screens whenever a scene showed a needle going into someone's arm, to a daily heroin user who gets by dealing and occasionally panhandling.

I agree to drop Jimmy at his home in Northwest Portland. But first, a stop at a pub on Northwest 21st Avenue where he uses the bathroom to inject $10 worth of heroin into his arm.

Along the I-5 corridor

People who deal with the local drug scene --from law enforcement officers to drug counselors -- continually use the phrase "perfect storm" to explain Portland's skyrocketing rates of heroin use and overdose.

According to reports from the U.S. Department of Justice National Drug Intelligence Center and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officials interviewed by the Tribune, meth became harder to produce in Mexico, so the cartels and their gangs turned to producing heroin. Needing a distribution route into the western U.S., the Mexican gangs chose the Interstate 5 corridor.

Meanwhile, according to local addiction treatment providers, a different set of circumstances has been creating a growing demand for heroin in Portland. Oregon has always been an easy place to legally obtain prescriptions for painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin, many of which ended up on the black market.

In recent years, studies ranked Oregon somewhere in the top half dozen or so states for abuse of prescription drugs. One 2007 federal study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that Oregon had more youth painkiller abusers than any other state.

In the past year, state and county health officials, hoping to reduce the number of people becoming addicted to prescription painkillers, changed their guidelines, making it harder for physicians to prescribe painkillers. In addition, drug companies in 2010 changed the composition of OxyContin, making it almost impossible for addicts to crush and inhale it for their preferred jolt.

With prescription painkillers harder to get through local doctors and a favorite painkiller almost worthless to hard-core addicts, the supply of black market prescription painkillers became scarcer, and the price headed up.

Pain sufferers who had been dependent on legal drugs to get through the day, as well as recreational users, needed a new supply. And there was heroin, cheaper than the prescription drugs, plentiful and potent.

As outlined in documents from the U.S. Department of Justice National Drug Intelligence Center, the Mexican cartels were producing an excess supply of heroin and could sell it cheap, so cheap that local distributors didn't need to cut it in order to make a profit. Instead, they could afford to sell it more pure, and potent, potentially hooking more addicts. But some users, not knowing they might have to scale down how much they injected, died of overdoses.

Dr. Gary Oxman, Multnomah County's public health officer, says he's been expecting the current surge in heroin overdoses. In his view, heroin and prescription painkiller use in Portland are inextricably intertwined.

"I think we probably have these two epidemics fueling each other," Oxman says.

The new wave

Portland has been "a heroin city" for decades, according to Oxman, but until recently the cost of the drug has been high. The new set of circumstances -- cheap Mexican heroin available at the same time county physicians have begun cutting patients off from prescription painkillers -- has changed the fundamental dynamic of heroin in Portland, he believes.

"The heroin got cheaper," Oxman says. "I assume that's not an accidental move on the part of the cartels. I think basically they went from a low-volume, high-price distribution model, to a high-volume, low-price distribution model."

Typically, $10 or $15 will buy enough heroin for an injection that will last all day, according to heroin users interviewed by the Tribune. Prescription pills that will get an addict through the day run about $1 a milligram on the street, so a serious user might have to spend $50 or more to stay high all day, the users say.

Oxman's staff has been studying the overdose problem, even interviewing heroin addicts to get a better handle on what is happening on the street. In an annual survey of people using the county's needle exchange service, 43 percent of heroin users said they became hooked on prescription drugs first. And most of those people were younger, rather than middle-aged or older addicts.

Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Ryan Lufkin says many in the "new wave" of heroin addicts started out stealing painkillers from family medicine cabinets or trading for them in schoolyards, made possible because physicians and dentists for years have been prescribing more than individuals needed.

"There's this huge class of people who probably wouldn't have used heroin in their entire lives if they had not become addicted to prescription pills," says Lufkin, who adds that virtually every heroin addict he's interviewed -- a number in the hundreds -- started on pills.

The county overdose statistics back up what nationwide studies have indicated -- heroin has exploded in Portland during the past two years, while its use has remained stable or risen slightly in most large cities outside Oregon.

But physicians across the country have been over-prescribing pain pills, Oxman and Lufkin acknowledge. And while West Coast heroin arrives almost exclusively from Mexico along the Interstate 5 corridor, Portland is not the only city on I-5. Yet there are more heroin deaths each year in Multnomah County than in Seattle's much more populous King County.

One of the most eye-opening studies in recent years comes out of the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy, which tallied drug use data for inmates entering county jails in 10 cities across the country, including Portland. More than one in five people entering the Multnomah County jail in 2010 tested positive for opiates -- far and away greater than any of the other nine cities, which included New York, Chicago and Atlanta.

In Portland, 18 percent of county jail inmates reported having used heroin within the prior 30 days. Chicago was second, with 12 percent reported use.

But what is most alarming about the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program data is how different cities appear to be trending. In all the other cities surveyed, heroin use remained fairly consistent in recent years or grew slightly. In Portland, it has jumped.

As recently as 2009, Chicago's reported per capita heroin user rate almost doubled that of Portland. Four years ago, Portland trailed both Chicago and Washington, D.C. Now, at least as far as testing of people entering the jail, Portland is No. 1 and trending higher.

Low risk, high reward

The National Drug Intelligence Center 2011 Drug Threat Assessment Report says that heroin production in Mexico has risen from nine metric tons a year to more than 50 metric tons. Eric Martin, policy and legislative liaison for the Addiction Counselor Certification Board of Oregon, is convinced that Oregon is getting more than its share.

Martin points to a 2007 map produced by the Intelligence Center which shows Portland/Salem as having the Pacific Northwest's largest Mexican cartel presence.

"Portland/Salem is basically the distribution hub for the entire Northwest region," Martin says.

Deputy DA Lufkin says he's not aware of Portland serving as a hub for the cartels, but logic dictates we might be.

"Everything in this world is connected," he says.

As Lufkin sees it, "Certain things are never going to change about Portland that makes it an attractive city for heroin addicts."

That starts with Oregon's drugs laws, which Lufkin says would make Oregon a logical place to set up a drug distribution network.

Most users or dealers caught selling less than five grams of heroin, according to Lufkin, receive a sentence of probation until their fifth conviction, which can net up to 12 months in jail, but rarely does.

That means prosecutors have little leverage to force most small-time dealers to provide names of people further up the distribution system.

"The cartels have found the place that affords them the least risk in drug seizures and the highest reward in distributing to local users," Lufkin say.

In addition, Lufkin says, Oregon law provides prosecutors little leeway in going after black market dealers of prescription painkillers.

"Even if you were trafficking in thousands of pills of OxyContin, it would still be a probationary sentence," he says.

Heroin addicts regularly tell Lufkin that they moved to Portland because of the availability of cheap heroin.

Part Two of Portland's Heroin Epidemic.

Prosecutor: Treat, don't jail heroin users

As far as Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Ryan Lufkin is concerned, an addict who has been arrested multiple times for heroin possession is sick.

During February's legislative session, Lufkin unsuccessfully supported a bill that would have allowed prosecutors to treat repeat heroin offenders as they would people who attempt suicide, and civilly commit them to treatment, even against their will.

Lufkin says he's going to return for a second attempt next year.

The 2012 session's House Bill 4022 would have classified people arrested at least three times for heroin possession as mentally ill, and set it up so they could be committed for up to 90 days of inpatient treatment and a year of outpatient treatment.

The county prosecutes about 1,100 heroin users a year, according to Lufkin, and about half have prior convictions for possessing the drug. Between court and jail, prosecuting a heroin addict runs between $3,200 and $28,000, Lufkin says. And the jail time, when they get it, rarely does addicts much good.

"We can spend all the money that's necessary to bring someone to a jury trial on a heroin charge with no results, or we can adopt a system that actually is the right tool to hit this problem," Lufkin says. "This person has a disease. They're an addict. It's a recognized mental health disease, and we can get them access to treatment and the thing saves money."

But that would be targeting the wrong people, says Alex Bassos, training director at Metropolitan Public Defender.

The problem, Bassos says, isn't the users getting arrested for possessing heroin. The problem is those who are overdosing. And those two categories, he says, aren't nearly as overlapping as people might think.

Bassos says the DA needs to make it a policy to use current civil commitment laws for heroin offenders who have repeatedly overdosed. Those laws, he says, which allow prosecutors to civilly commit people who attempt suicide, should work.

"That is exactly what civil commitment is for," Bassos says. "They have a (medically defined) mental disorder, and that's compelling them to do something which is dangerous to themselves and others."

Bassos, who says the D.A.'s plan "should terrify civil libertarians," thinks it also isn't practical because there are already long waiting lists for the best treatment for addicts -- inpatient beds in treatment facilities.

Lufkin says heroin offenders already require addiction treatment as part of their probation, and that with civil commitment it would happen more immediately and with a huge cost savings.

"The savings in time will help addicts stay alive and get faster access to treatment," Lufkin says. "The savings in money can go back into treatment resources to pay for essential treatment services, such as cutting down the waiting time for inpatient beds."

— Peter Korn

 

Call the Governor today!

Alert date: 
2012-05-04
Alert body: 

OFIR has had many e-mails asking us how to contact the Governor's office about proposal to accept Matricula Consular cards as legitimate ID and his push to give driver licenses to illegal aliens.

You can see text of the Governor's letter at: http://media.oregonlive.com/politics_impact/other/mayletter.pdf.

Let him know how disappointed you are that he is rewarding illegal behavior, which invites even more of the same. If illegal aliens without licenses are driving to work, they are already breaking several laws. Rewarding illegal aliens with driver licenses demeans the Rule of Law and brings dishonor to the Governor's office.

Oregon's governor should be working for Oregon families, Oregon jobs and Oregon citizens...not working to make life easier for those here illegally.

A hand written letter is also encouraged!

Be firm, but polite and respectful. Please let OFIR know how the Governor's office responded.

Governor John Kitzhaber

Webform for e-mail is at: http://governor.oregon.gov/Gov/contact.shtml

Phone number: (503) 378-4582 Fax: 503-378-6827

Mailing address:

160 State Capitol, 900 Court St., Salem OR 97301-4047

 

 

Move Over California, Oregon is Now Goofier than You

by Ira Mehlman

If you thought that no one could top California when it comes to pandering to illegal aliens, you are wrong. That honor now belongs to Oregon.

In a letter to May Day demonstrators (you know, those nice folks who dress in black and smash shop windows), Gov. John Kitzhaber announced that Oregon law enforcement officers will soon accept the Mexican Matricula Consular card as proof of identity during traffic stops. In other words, people who don’t have driver’s licenses, or, in just two words, illegal aliens.

Illegal aliens will still not be eligible for Oregon driver’s licenses, but as long as they have their Matricula cards there won’t be any actual penalty for driving without a license. They will be issued citations and released. It is unlikely that the state will be able to collect any fines from them because, unlike people who have driver’s licenses, Oregon has no authority to suspend, revoke or refuse to renew a Matricula card. So, under the new policy, Oregon doesn’t really care if you know what you’re doing while driving on their roads, they just want to know who you are.

Of course, Gov. Kitzhaber has a really good reason for the new policy. “Right now, too many Oregonians are travelling from home to work, or school, or church, in risk of violating the law,” Kitzhaber stated in his letter. Hence, the torch is passed from California to Oregon. The Governor of Oregon is doing his part to make sure that people who are in violation of laws against being in the country illegally, working here illegally, and driving illegally, are in no “risk of violating the law.” Top that one Jerry Brown!

http://immigrationreform.com/2012/05/03/move-over-california-oregon-is-now-goofier-than-you/

Oregon, Multnomah County, Beaverton, Tualatin and Portland versus Arizona SB 1070

When the State of Oregon, Multnomah County, Cities of Beaverton, Tualatin and Portland filed amicus briefs in support of the United States federal government’s lawsuit against the State of Arizona over an Arizona law SB 1070, a case that will be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court, most Oregonians with any common sense would naturally ask the following question: What do the internal affairs of Arizona have to do with the state, a county and three cites?

Answering the question, the Attorney General of Oregon, the Multnomah County commissioners, the mayors and city councils/commissioners of Beaverton, Tualatin and Portland believe Arizona SB 1070 is civil rights issue.

A statement of fact to send to the pre-mentioned Oregon state, county and city elected officials: Arizona SB 1070 only allows the State of Arizona law enforcement officials to enforce federal immigration law not create Arizona immigration law. Moreover, within Arizona SB 1070 are provisos that prohibit any form of profiling of individuals based on their race, ethnicity, religion, or country of origin.

What should be particularly troubling to Oregonians about the misguided actions of the attorney general, county commissioners, mayors and city councils/commissioners in their collective action against Arizona SB 1070 is their inability to differentiate, call it a cognitive dissonance, between what is an actual civil rights issue and what is a public safety issue.

Some background history, the State of Arizona, a border state, passed SB 1070 in 2010 simply to mitigate the negative cause and effect, the collateral damage, of having hundreds of thousands undocumented foreign nationals (illegal aliens) present or entering the state primarily from Mexico.

Let us look at Arizona SB 1070 simply as a public safety issue concerning both the residents of Oregon and Arizona using some crime numbers and statistics from a comparable time frame.

The Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) prison system in February of 2012 had 1,176 of the DOC’s 13,999 prisoners who where foreign nationals (criminal aliens); 8.40 percent of the prison population.

(At the same time, the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) prison system in February of 2012 had 5,291 of the ADC’s 39,835 prisoners who were criminal aliens; 13.28 percent of the prison population.

Comparing the preceding numbers reveals the ADC had 4,115 criminal alien prisoners more than were incarcerated in DOC prisons — 449.91 percent more.

Incarceration cost for a DOC prisoner is $82.48 per day. Therefore, DOC’s incarceration cost for 1,176 criminal aliens is approximately $35,403,715.20 per year.

Whereas, incarceration cost for an ADC prisoner is $59.85 per day. Thus, ADC’s incarceration cost for 5,291 criminal aliens is approximately $115,583,217.80 per year.

Comparing the difference in incarceration costs between the DOC and ADC prison systems, if the criminal alien incarceration numbers were to remain a constant, they won’t, the ADC will spend $80,179,502.55 more this year than the DOC — 326.47 percent more.

Oregonians certainly have a legitimate right to question whether or not the attorney general, county commissioners, mayors and city councils/commissioners took into consideration in their collective action against Arizona SB 1070 the uncounted crime victims and their families, no matter what their immigration status, all victims of the thousands of criminal aliens incarcerated in the DOC and ADC prison systems.

A review of the 1,176 criminal aliens in DOC prisons by numbers per crime equated to the following: 4-arsons; 121-assaults; 33-burglaries; 34-driving offenses; 178-drugs; 5-forgeries; 142-homicides; 49-kidnappings; 68-others; 75-robberies; 452-sex crimes; 11-thefts; and 4-vehicle thefts.

Whereas, the 5,291 criminal aliens in ADC prisons by numbers per crime equated to the following: 10-arsons; 532-assaults; 153-burglaries; 319-driving offenses; 1,721-drugs; 58-forgeries; 497-homicides; 607-kidnappings; 290-others; 373-robberies; 577-sex crimes; 31-thefts; and 123-vehicle thefts.

As dramatic as all the preceding crime numbers are from both prison systems, the numbers of criminal aliens incarcerated for drug crimes particularly stands out. While the DOC had 178 criminal aliens (15.13 percent) incarcerated for drug crimes; the ADC had 1,729 criminal aliens (32.68 percent) incarcerated for drug crimes.

These numbers are significant, the ADC had 1,551 criminal aliens more incarcerated for drug crimes than the DOC — 971.34 percent more.

With so many crimes being committed on a regular basis locally and nationwide by illegal aliens, just read your local newspaper, these Oregon state, county and city elected officials, seemed to have engaged in a feigned ignorance as to the source of the preceding crimes, the country of origin of the majority of criminal aliens in both the DOC and ADC prison systems.

The country of origin of 992 of the 1,176 criminal aliens in DOC prisons was from Mexico — 84.35 percent.

Likewise, the country of origin of 4,820 of the 5,291 criminal aliens in ADC prisons was from Mexico — 91.10 percent.

Leaving the February 2012 time frame of comparison and contrast of the DOC and ADC prison systems, let us just focus on the most recent criminal alien numbers available from the DOC from the last four years.

In a four year time period, the number of criminal aliens incarcerated in the DOC prison system went from 1,061 alien prisoners on March 1, 2008 to a record number of 1,285 alien prisoners on March 1, 2012; an increase of 224 criminal aliens — a 21.11 percent increase.

Over the same four year time period, criminal aliens incarcerated in DOC prisons for drug crimes increased from 117 alien prisoners on March 1, 2008 to 190 alien prisoners on March 1, 2012; an increase of 73 criminal aliens — a 62.39 percent increase.

In a period of one month, from February 1st to March 1st of 2012, the number of criminal aliens in the DOC prison system increased by 109 alien prisoners — 9.27 percent more.

Over the same preceding time period, criminal aliens incarcerated in DOC prisons who declare their country of origin as being Mexico increased from 992 prisoners to 1,066 prisoners; an increase of 74 Mexican national prisoners — a 7.46 percent increase in one month.

Back to the U.S. federal government’s lawsuit against the State of Arizona over an Arizona SB 1070, the Attorney General of Oregon, the Multnomah County commissioners, the mayors and city councils/commissioners of Beaverton, Tualatin and Portland must withdraw their amicus briefs they presented to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the U.S. federal government’s lawsuit against Arizona SB 1070 so the case before the nation’s highest court can be settled quickly.

The State of Arizona’s ability to fully implement SB 1070 empowering Arizona law enforcement officials to enforce federal immigration law will enabling them to more effectively protect the residents of both Arizona and Oregon from the invasion of criminal aliens primarily from Mexico.

David Olen Cross of Salem (docfnc@yahoo.com) writes on the subjects of immigration and foreign national crime.

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