Oregon

Immigration group gears up for referendum on driver's card bill

An immigration group looking to overturn a recently passed law that allows residents without proof of legal presence to get driver’s cards ramped up their efforts Tuesday to bring the issue before Oregon voters.

Beneath a canopy outside the state Capitol, Oregonians for Immigration Reform officials passed out manila envelopes that included signature sheets for a referendum on Senate Bill 833.

The driver’s cards under the bill, which Gov. John Kitzhaber signed in May, would last four years instead of the standard eight years. Driver card applicants must meet other requirements, including knowledge of traffic laws and driving skills.

Sponsors of the referendum efforts would have to gather 58,142 valid signatures and file them by Sept. 26, which is 90 days after the targeted adjournment of the 2013 Legislature. The law would be suspended instead of taking effect in January if enough signatures were gathered to force a statewide election on the bill.

“It’s a herculean task but I think that Oregonians are really angry that this (bill) was rammed through,” said Cynthia Kendoll, the president for Oregonians for Immigration Reform.

The group was also protesting a federal immigration bill that would provide undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship. Buttons that read “Stop Illegal Immigration” were scattered on a table.

Supporters of the short-term driver cards argue the bill is about increasing public safety on the state’s roads not about immigration. But opponents say the new law would just condone illegal behavior.

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

Esquivel told about two dozen people gathered on the Capitol steps in the rain that he doesn’t think the bill will help increase public safety and lawmakers who voted for the bill aren’t upholding the law.

“We are a country of laws. If you break the law to come here. Why would we allow that?,” Esquivel asked.

He unrolled a lengthy list of requirements residents have to meet to get a standard driver’s license, arguing that U.S. citizens were being treated as second rate.

Thatcher also announced the introduction of House Bill 3535, which would direct the Oregon Department of Transportation to report annually on the effects of implementing the driver’s card bill.

If the driver’s card bill is overturned, House Bill 3535 would not take effect.

By about 12:30 p.m., the group had distributed about 40 packets to those interested in gathering signatures for the referendum efforts.

If their measure qualifies for a statewide election, it would appear on the November 2014 ballot, although lawmakers can provide for a different date.

Luis Guerra, acting executive director of Causa, an immigration rights association that pushed for the passage of Senate Bill 833, said the group is keeping a close eye on the referendum efforts.

Guerra said that the driver’s card bill got bipartisan support in both legislative chambers and should be viewed as a public safety issue.

“We realize that they have a lot of signatures they need to collect so we’ll prepare as we need to based on how much work we see them accomplish,” he said.

An invitation to join us Tuesday, May 21 at the Capitol

Alert date: 
2013-05-17
Alert body: 

Please join OFIR this coming Tuesday, May 21st from 11:00am - 1:00pm on the front steps of the Capitol Building in Salem.

We will be participating in the National 1986 Remembrance Day, which is designed for us all to reflect on the impact of the mass amnesty bill passed in 1986.

Speakers will address the National Amnesty bill now circulating through Congress and highlight the most egregious aspects of the bill.

Legislators Rep. Kim Thatcher and Sal Esquivel will speak about the impact of illegal immigration on Oregonians.

Also, as many of you already know, a referendum to STOP SB833 (a law issuing driver privilege cards to illegal aliens) before it is enacted has been filed by  "Protect Oregon Driver Licenses" .

Your help is needed to collect signatures of Oregon's registered voters.  We need 58,142 signatures by mid September (90 days after the last day of this Legislative session).  Our goal is to get SB833 on the ballot and give Oregon's citizen's a voice on the issue...with their NO VOTE in November 2014.

On tuesday, at the Capitol, "Protect Oregon Driver Licenses" will have packets with all you need to collect signatures.  Please stop by and pick one up.  We need all hands on deck to get the signatures we need by the deadline.                                                                                                                                              

Caution:  Because the Legislature is still in session, signatures may NOT be collected on Capitol grounds. 

Your financial contribution would be greatly appreciated, too. The costs involved in operating such an undertaking are enormous.  We would appreciate your help with a contribution of any size to help offset these expenses.

Please plan to join us Tuesday, May 21 from 11:00am - 1pm on the steps of the Oregon Capitol.  You are welcome to bring appropriate signs, banners, flags to help spread the message...NO AMNESTY, NO PATH TO CITIZENSHIP, NO EXCEPTIONS.

See you there! 

Smoke jumpers plant landing in pot 'starter kits'

A team of smoke jumpers fighting fires in the Applegate unknowingly dropped into a 1,500-plant marijuana garden this week, sheriff's officials said.

The locally-based smoke jumpers parachuted into the garden as they were searching for lightning-sparked fires, Jackson County sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Carlson said.

The firefighters contacted law enforcement, who pulled the plants from the site on Tuesday, Carlson said.

"They had no idea they were dropping into a marijuana garden," Carlson said.

The sheriff's department said it is unusual to find a large marijuana garden this early in the year.

People usually stumble into the gardens in the late summer or early fall.

Most of the plants were small and growing inside plastic pots.

"They were in starter kits, so to speak," Carlson said.

The grow site was littered with hills of garbage, much of it harmful chemicals that can pollute soil and streams in the area, officials said.

At least two people were believed to be camping at the garden, keeping armed watch over the plants as they grew over the summer, Carlson said.

"These plants were going to be harvested in late summer or early fall," Carlson said.

The amount of garbage was disturbing, though not surprising considering what deputies have seen piled up at previous gardens found in the forest, she said.

"If you consider at least two people were eating two meals a day and then throwing the food containers away, and that it takes a lot of chemicals and fertilizers to start these grows, that's a lot of trash," Carlson said. "It's very bad for the environment of our forests."

The sheriff's department is putting together a group of volunteers who will hike into the garden to haul out the trash in the coming weeks, Carlson said.

"We won't just let it sit out there," Carlson said.

There were 1,509 plants at the site, along with hundreds of additional holes dug for future planting. Authorities also found two long guns and other evidence that suggested the garden was part of a Mexican cartel operation, Carlson said. She declined to elaborate, citing the ongoing investigation.

Those recreating on federal lands should be aware of the dangers of coming across possible grow sites, officials say. Telltale signs are PVC piping or black poly-pipe, bags of fertilizer, large quantities of trash and camp sites. Those who come across such sites should leave immediately the way they came in, police say. If possible, take note of the location on a GPS and make a waypoint but do not linger or investigate further. Upon returning home, call the local sheriff's department and provide accurate road descriptions and drainage or creek names.

"Anything that doesn't add up to the way the woods should look should give you a clue that you're in a marijuana grow," Carlson said. "Just head back the way you came and immediately call law enforcement."

Most of the marijuana plants at the grow site were small and inside plastic pots, said sheriff’s officials.

Klamath County raids lead to 38 arrests

GRANTS PASS — More than 300 local, state and federal officers, some in camouflage gear and helmets, fanned out across rural Klamath County in the pre-dawn darkness Wednesday and arrested 38 people accused of operating a methamphetamine and gun distribution network connected to Mexican drug cartels. Ten more were still sought.

Darin Tweedt, chief counsel of the criminal division of the Oregon Department of Justice, said the raids were the culmination of an eight-month investigation dubbed Operation Trojan Horse. It started last October when agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives came to the state criminal division with information about the ring. State authorities enlisted the help of local authorities and other federal agencies, and the investigation snowballed.

"We have evidence that shows they are linked to the cartels," Tweedt said of those arrested. "The goal of this particular operation was to send a pretty clear signal that we are not neglecting to enforce narcotics laws in rural Oregon counties. We cast a pretty wide net."

In the course of searching 23 homes and businesses in Klamath Falls and outlying rural communities, police also seized 4 pounds of methamphetamine and 50 guns.

The Herald and News newspaper reported officers used flash-bang grenades and forced their way in to some homes.

"This operation takes a big group of suspected meth dealers off our streets," Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said in a statement.

Nearly all of the methamphetamine and heroin available in Oregon comes through Mexico, said Chris Gibson, Oregon director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas. Mexican gangs also are responsible for most of the large marijuana being grown illegally on remote national forestlands in Oregon.

The agency's statistics showed that seizures of methamphetamine and guns in Oregon have been trending upward since 2008, along with drug arrests. Seizures of marijuana and cocaine are down. Seizures of heroin and prescription drugs are up.

Law enforcement task forces report they are investigating 47 drug gangs in Oregon, 24 of which are described as Mexican or Hispanic, Gibson said.

Tweedt refused to comment on whether the ring was connected to the killing last fall of two California men whose bodies were found buried on an abandoned ranch outside the rural community of Bonanza, where some of the arrests were carried out. The slain men were identified as Ricardo Jauregui, 38, of Oakley, Calif., and Everado Mendez-Ceja, 32, of Richmond, Calif. They had told their families they were going to Oregon to buy a horse and hay. Their truck was burned.

The arrests overwhelmed the local jail, which has closed whole sections because of budget cuts related to the loss of federal timber subsidies. Tweedt said the Klamath County sheriff opened unused sections to accommodate all the people being arrested. More arrests were expected as police continued serving warrants. Klamath County Circuit Court started arraigning the first of those arrested. A grand jury will start considering indictments next week.

Tweedt said the drugs were manufactured somewhere else then distributed around Klamath County and neighboring rural areas. Very little methamphetamine has been made in Oregon since laws went into effect regulating the sale of cold medicines, which can be used in making the chemical.

Among the 19 people arraigned was Jose Buenaventura Vinals, 50, of Klamath Falls, District Attorney Rob Patridge said. He was charged with two counts of racketeering and two counts of selling methamphetamine. The district attorney's information alleged that Vinals was involved with at least six other people in a criminal enterprise dating back to Oct. 1, 2012. Others arrested included men and women ranging in age from 22 to 49 from Bonanza, Chiloquin, Klamath Falls and Beatty.
 

Please send your personal thanks

Alert date: 
2013-04-30
Alert body: 

For years OFIR has worked tirelessly to secure Oregon driver licenses by insisting they be issued only to those whom could prove their legal presence in the US.  In 2008 the Oregon Legislature, which, at that time, was dominated by Democrats on both sides of the aisle, passed the current driver license bill with overwhelming support from both sides.  Then Governor Kulongowski had the wisdom to protect Oregonians and the bill was signed into law.

Fast forward five years and witness great legislation passed by a Democrat majority then, unwound by a Democrat majority now, in the name of "public safety".

There were 20 Republicans that stood strong under immense pressure from the bills proponents.  They didn't buy into the line that illegal aliens needed drivers licenses so they could buy car insurance.  They had the insight to see what this bill was really all about and had the courage and the strength to vote NO today.

Please call or email them and thank them for being true Representatives of the people of Oregon.  The Legislators that voted for the bill need to hear from you, as well.

SB833 bill was carried by Jenson and Harker.

Passed.Ayes, 38

Nays (voted no), 20--Bentz, Berger, Cameron, Conger, Esquivel, Freeman, Hicks, Huffman, Kennemer, Krieger, McLane, Olson, Parrish, Richardson, Sprenger, Thatcher, Thompson, Weidner, Whisnant, Whitsett;

Excused, 2--Hanna, Lively.

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.

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