Oregon

Council postpones sanctuary city vote

A long line of public speakers gave testimonials for why the designation is needed

The Hillsboro City Council has decided to stall a decision on whether to declare itself a sanctuary city until after the new mayor and councilors get sworn in.

In a standing-room-only Civic Center auditorium Tuesday night, council members could not reach a decision whether to designate the city a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants.

The decision would have been the last of outgoing City Councilor Olga Acuna, who requested the vote after advocates begged the city to strengthen its stand with the Latino community last month.

In what was likely the council's most difficult decision in eight years, the council voted to table a final decision until after a new councilor is appointed to fill the seat of new Mayor Steve Callaway, who served as council president.

The city is expected to appoint a replacement on the council within the next month.

Tuesday's vote was 4-2, with councilors Acuna and Kyle Allen in favor of going forward with the sanctuary city designation.

"I'm as concerned about the future as anyone," explained Councilor Rick Van Beveren, who noted his personal regret at how the recent presidential campaign rhetoric has engendered the national Latino population. "(But) I personally align with what sanctuary city portends … (and) once we're labeled, that's it."

Callaway, who was sworn in as mayor during Tuesday's meeting, said that the postponement will allow the new council — which will oversee and adhere to the decision — time to understand what a sanctuary designation will mean for Hillsboro going forward.

The decision to wait will also gives the city time to see how the federal government responds to the many cities who have made similar declarations, Callaway said. President-Elect Donald Trump has said that he would cut off federal funding for cities that declare themselves to be sanctuaries.

"Sanctuary city" is a legally non-binding term used by cities to indicate they will protect undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Oregon has had sanctuary laws in place since the 1980s, which forbid police from arresting people solely on their immigration status.

The topic of making Hillsboro a sanctuary city first arose in December, when members from community action groups WashCo Solidarity and Voz Hispana Cambio Comunitario demanded the council declare the city a sanctuary in order to send a message to Latino residents that they will be protected, specifically from immigration officials.

Instead, that night the council read a statement affirming its commitment to keeping Hillsboro "a safe city for all" — without formally declaring itself a sanctuary.

That decision didn't sit well with sanctuary proponents. On Tuesday, more than 20 people spoke out, offering testimonials to the council as to why the designation is needed.

"The community wouldn't be asking for sanctuary if the city was safe already," Unite Oregon member Carmen Madrid told the council.

That sentiment was echoed by many in the crowd. One woman said she had lived in the city for 15 years, but no longer felt safe.

"You're either for us or against us," another speaker said.

Resident Jose Jaime told the council that stalling the decision was sending a message of its own to Hillsboro's Latino population, which make up about a quarter of the city's population, according to the U.S. Census.

"You threw the Latino community under the bus (with the vote to table)," he said.

Not everyone in the audience was in favor of the proposal, however. Some spoke out against accepting illegal immigration as standard practice.

One speaker said he was against the sanctuary designation because "the people who are afraid are breaking the law."

"If the council vindicates (the law breakers), you'll be breaking the oath you just took," he told the council.

The council is expected to vote on the issue in February. The city is currently accepting applications to fill the council's open seat.

Deputy Kelly Fredinburg's alleged killer still on the loose

Oregonians are approaching the 9th anniversary of the tragic death of Deputy Kelly Fredinburg in a fiery head-on crash north of Gervais June 16, 2007.  The driver of the car crossed the center line, killed Fredninburg and a passenger in his own car, who died a day after the crash.

Before he was indicted for his crimes, the driver fled to Mexico and to this day remains a fugitive.  Below is a story from The Oregonian from 2014.

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Suspect in 2007 crash that killed Marion County deputy remains at large, police say

The driver who police believe killed a Marion County deputy and another man in a late-night crash in 2007 remains a fugitive, authorities said.

Tips leading to the arrest of Alfredo De Jesus Ascensio are eligible for a reward of up to $21,000, according to a press release from Marion County Sheriff's Office.

Deputy Kelly Fredinburg, 33, was killed when Ascensio's vehicle crossed the center line on Oregon 99E north of Gervais, according to police at the time. Fredinburg's car caught fire and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

De Jesus Ascensio is wanted on two counts of criminally negligent homicide in connection with Fredinburg's death and Ascensio's 19-year old passenger Oscar Ascensio Amaya, who died the day after the crash.

De Jesus Ascensio was also hospitalized. Authorities believe he fled to Mexico around the time he was indicted.

The Fredinburg family helped create an Oregon Officer Reward Fund for arrests in criminal investigations of injury or death to police in the line of duty, the sheriff's office said. A reward of $20,000, along with another $1,000 offered by Crime Stoppers, is available for information that leads to an arrest in the case.

"I think about Kelly and his family quite often and reflect upon the sacrifice they have made," Sheriff Jason Myers said in a press release. "While nothing will replace the loss of Kelly, finding Alfredo DeJesus Ascencio and holding him accountable for his actions will bring some closure to this tragedy."

De Jesus Ascensio was 20 years of age at the time of the crash, was last believed to be in the area of Puacuaro, Michoacan, Mexico.

Anyone with information related to this investigation to find the suspect can report tips by calling 800-452-7888 in Oregon; or 1-503-823-HELP (4357) from anywhere in the United States. Callers from Mexico can call the Crime Stoppers Tip line, +011-503-823-4357. Tipsters should refer to case number is 07-28 and provide as much detail as possible, authorities said.

Did you miss Saturday's OFIR meeting?

OFIR hosted their quarterly meeting Saturday afternoon, May 7th.  If you were unable to attend, you missed a packed house and a great meeting!

Dr. Bud Pierce, GOP candidate for Governor was the featured speaker.  Several other candidates also dropped in to introduce themselves to our members and guests.

Oregon's new representative for the Remembrance Project gave a presentation about the national organization.

Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project was there to explain the questionnaire they send to all candidates.

David Olen Cross explained how important your words are - in print!  He encouraged members to write letters to the editor and guest opinions for publication in newspapers across the state.

There was ample time for questions and candidates stayed well after the meeting to distribute campaign materials and meet with OFIR members.

 

 

Court Rules Oregon Attorney General Must Not Distort Language In Immigration Control Initiative

Advocates for immigration restriction in Oregon have stopped the state’s attorney general from distorting the language in a citizen initiative that seeks to stem the tide of local businesses hiring illegals.

In a ruling issued in early March, Justice Rives Kistler ruled in Kendoll v. Rosenblum that the modified language inserted by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum into Initiative Petition 52 would mislead voters and moreover did not even properly communicate the effect of the initiative, were it become to law.

“[The measure] would require, as a matter of state law, that employers use a federal website to verify the authenticity of the documents that federal law requires only that they review,” the ruling stated. “That additional requirement is one major effect of the measure. The caption, however, does not highlight that effect.”

Rosenblum must now go back to the drawing board and change the ballot language to communicate its actual effect.

The measure states that business with five or more employees must confirm employees through E-verify, a federal website which checks out employment information, like social security numbers.

Oregonians for Immigration Reform (OFIR) forwarded the ballot-measure in response to data indicating that illegals comprise about 5 percent of the workforce in Oregon. Meanwhile, unemployment rates among black youth rest at about 55 percent.

If the measure is successful, Oregon would join the ranks of several other states with similar verification programs. Arizona’s implementation of a verification program proved to be the most controversial. Pro-immigration groups challenged Arizona’s law, a challenge which the Supreme Court picked up. Ultimately, the coalition comprised of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic nationalist groups, the Department of Justice and others failed to strike down the law.

Immediately after it came into play, illegal aliens started to pour out of the state, prompting outbursts of anger from Mexican officials, as the Mexican labor market was clearly struggling to accommodate the new surge of workers. For illegals, employment in the United States is attractive because average wages are 10 times higher than in Mexico. E-verify, then, is seen as an important step by immigration-control advocates to protect American wages from plummeting.

Dale Wilcox of the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), who served as OFIR’s co-counsel, said in a statement, “The ballot language written and certified by the attorney general hid the true purpose and effect of the initiative and would have only served to confuse voters.”

IRLI is also working to battle an attempt by illegals in Oregon to eliminate Measure 88, which prevents them from gaining driver’s licenses. This measure, five illegals are arguing, is unconstitutional.

Follow Jonah Bennett on Twitter

Send tips to jonah@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.
 

1,019 refugees received in Oregon in 2014

The Federation for Immigration Reform has issued a new 2-part report on distribution of refugees in each state in the U.S. from Oct. 1, 2013 through Sept. 30, 2014.

The report is based on statistics from federal sources. FAIR prepared charts showing the distribution in each state 

Below is FAIR’s chart of the 1,019 refugees admitted to Oregon, showing the country of originClick here to see the chart.

The page about Oregon is shown on page 29 of the 50 pages in FAIR’s summary. Because Delaware, Montana, and Wyoming have not yet received any refugees, they are not included in the list.

According to this chart, the percentage distribution of refugees by country of origin that were received in Oregon from Oct. 1 2013 to Sept. 30, 2014 are as follows:

Iraq - 28%

Somalia - 21%

Burma – 19%

Bhutan - 10%

Dem Rep Congo - 7%

Iran - 4%

Ukraine - 2%

Afghanistan - 2%

Other - 7%  (includes Cuba, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Moldova, Sudan, Russia, Vietnam, Belarus, China, and Kazakhstan)

For more detailed information about issues related to refugee resettlement in the United States and our national security,  please visit the CAIRCO website

Former state Rep. Jim Thompson files to run as an Independent

SALEM — Jim Thompson, a former Republican state representative, has filed to run for his old seat as an Independent Party of Oregon candidate.

Thompson served three terms in the house before losing to incumbent Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Dallas, in the 2014 primary....

Nearman positioned himself to the right of Thompson in the 2014 race. This year, he's sponsoring ballot measures to stop illegal immigration by requiring employers to use the federal E-Verify program and making people provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote.

Nearman is facing a Republican primary challenge...

$10,000 grant awarded to PCUN Farmworker Service Center

Money will help establish center's first-ever formal training program for staff and volunteers

PCUN’s Farmworker Service Center received a $10,000 grant from the Oregon Community Foundation last year, which the Woodburn-based nonprofit and farmworkers union plans to use to strengthen services and develop a formal orientation and training program.

Jaime Arredondo, secretary-treasurer for PCUN (Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United), said that though the Farmworker Service Center has been providing accredited immigration law services to its clients for over 30 years, it has never had a formal training program for its employees, volunteers or interns.

“They have some pieces, but not something comprehensive,” he said.

The center provides a variety of services to PCUN members, including legal representation for a number of different immigration matters, referral services, verbal and written translations, public notary services and a death benefit.

“These services are vital because they provide an entry point to better economic and health stability for Oregon’s most vulnerable workforce,” Arredondo said.

Arredondo said the center already serves well over 1,000 people each year, and the demand is expected to keep growing, especially if there is an extension of immigration relief or reform in the future.

“(That) would put the FSC in a challenging place to meet the demand,” he said. “We need to be able to scale up quicker. The training program would allow the FSC to do this.”

The Willamette Valley Law Project was the center’s fiscal sponsor for the grant, since PCUN is a 501(c)(5) nonprofit, and a 501(c)(3) was needed to apply for these particular grants.

The award was part of 22 grants the OCF handed out in November 2015, totalling more than $443,000, to northern Willamette Valley nonprofits. The foundation awarded a total of over $8.4 million state-wide.

For more information about PCUN and the Farmworker Service Center, visit www.pcun.org/pcun-service-center. For full lists of grants awarded around the state and more information about OCF initiatives, visit www.oregoncf.org.
 

E-Verify would help assure Oregonians, not illegal immigrants, hold Oregon jobs

This election season, Oregon has seen a textbook example of how leaders of "progressive" organizations take political positions that harm the people they purport to represent.

CAUSA, Oregon's self-proclaimed "immigrant rights organization," and a number of other groups have issued an open letter decrying "anti-immigrant forces . . . proposing statewide ballot measures targeting immigrant families."  I serve on the board of one of those allegedly "anti-immigrant forces" -- Oregonians for Immigration Reform.  And the way the letter says OFIR is "targeting immigrant families" is by spearheading a 2016 initiative to mandate that Oregon employers, via the federal E-Verify system, assure their new hires are U.S. citizens or legal residents.
 
We'll discuss that initiative shortly.  First, let's look at CAUSA and friends' letter.
 
CAUSA believes foreigners here in deliberate violation of U.S. law should enjoy the rights and benefits of legal residents and even U.S. citizens.  In recent years, the group has lobbied for illegal-immigrant "driver cards," taxpayer-funded college aid for illegal-immigrant students, and an end to federal-local partnerships that enforce immigration law -- positions diametrically opposite OFIR's.
 
That CAUSA would attack OFIR and its initiative, then, is no surprise.  The irony is this: Its letter was co-signed by leaders of organizations whose constituents are disproportionately harmed by the presence of illegal immigrants.
 
One signer, for example, is Nikki Fisher of The Bus Project.  This group provides political-engagement opportunities to (among other youths) high-school students.  But does its concern for youths' political opportunities extend as well to their economic opportunities?  
 
Teenagers, experts agree, benefit mightily from early work experience.  But opportunity for that experience is disappearing.  Between 2003 and 2013, Reese Lord of Portland's WorkSystems teen-placement program told the Portland Tribune, summer youth employment fell dramatically -- from 46 percent to 7 percent.  A large part of the reason?  Over that same period, the Federation for American Immigration Reform and other sources estimate, Oregon's illegal-immigrant population roughly doubled -- and, writes the Center for Immigration Studies' Dr. Steven Camarota, "immigrants and teenagers often do the same kind of work."  Indeed, Camarota notes, between 1994 and 2007, "a ten-percentage-point increase in the immigrant share of a state's workforce reduced the labor-force participation rate of U.S.-born teenagers by 7.9 percentage points."
 
Another signer is Julia Meier of the Coalition of Communities of Color.  The Coalition claims to represent, among others, black Americans -- who, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, currently suffer an unemployment rate of 9.4 percent, almost double the national rate of 5.0 percent.  One critical reason for this: Illegal immigrants now take millions of jobs in occupational fields which historically have employed large numbers of blacks.     

In 2014, for instance, blacks (as per the BLS) comprised 12.1 percent of construction-trades helpers, 14.6 percent of building-maintenance/groundskeeping workers, 13.4 percent of food-preparation workers, 15.3 percent of chefs and head cooks, and 23.5 percent of non-restaurant food servers.  But competing with blacks for employment in these fields are illegal immigrants who, the Pew Research Center has reported, in one recent year comprised 14 percent of workers in construction and extraction, 17 percent in building maintenance/groundskeeping, and 11 percent in food preparation and serving.
 
How does the Coalition of Communities of Color help black Americans by aligning itself with CAUSA, which champions illegal immigrants' "right" to compete with those Americans for the jobs many of them so desperately need?
 
Another signer is Meg Niemi of Service Employees International Union Local 49.  SEIU's members include lower-skilled Americans -- among them housekeepers, custodians and food-service workers -- who for decades have been harmed by the presence of illegal immigrants.
 
In a 2004 study, Harvard professor George Borjas estimated that "between 1980 and 2000, immigration reduced the average annual earnings of . . . natives without a high-school education . . . by 7.4 percent" -- and that half or more of that reduction was due to competition with illegal immigrants.  More recently, Eric A. Ruark and Matthew Graham reported in a FAIR study, even the liberal Center for American Progress has admitted that "reducing the illegal-alien population in the United States by one-third would raise the income of unskilled workers by $400 a year."
 
Now, back to OFIR's E-Verify initiative, which was lambasted by CAUSA et al.  What would that initiative do for young, black and unionized Oregonians?
 
Simple.  At a time when more than 110,000 Oregonians -- among them our most economically vulnerable -- still are unemployed, the initiative, if passed, would help assure the state's businesses employ U.S. citizens and legal residents and not illegal immigrants.  And far from "targeting immigrant families," it would help assure that immigrants who come here legally are not kept from jobs by those who don't.
 
On the issue of jobs and illegal immigration, young, black and unionized Oregonians are better served by OFIR than by their self-proclaimed champions.  In 2016, those Oregonians should support the E-Verify initiative that will advance their interests as jobholders, providers, and Americans.
 _________________________
 
Richard F. LaMountain, a former assistant editor of Conservative Digest magazine, serves on the board of directors of Oregonians for Immigration Reform.        

CAUSA gets it wrong - again

CAUSA, in a continuous effort to obscure the facts about their true intentions issued an open letter

Please take a moment to read the letter and be certain to scroll to the bottom of the letter to read the names of all the elected officials that have apparently decided that violating their oath of office in order to serve at the will of illegal aliens instead of their American citizen constituents is just fine.

As President of OFIR, I have written a response  to the letter which was published in the Medford Mail Tribune.

 

 

On Driver's Licenses for Illegal Aliens, States' Rights, and Discrimination

Fox News is reporting that a group of aliens living illegally in the United States, Oregon specifically, is suing to overturn a ballot initiative in that state in which voters resoundingly rebuffed attempts to legislatively permit illegal aliens to obtain Oregon driver's licenses.

The basis? Discrimination. The plaintiffs allege that the ballot initiative, Measure 88, is unconstitutional "because it 'arbitrarily' denies driving privileges based on membership in a 'disfavored minority group.' It [the lawsuit] alleges Oregon voters were motivated by "animus toward persons from Mexico and Central America."

Fox quotes Norman Williams, associate dean for academic affairs at the Willamette University College of Law in Salem, as saying "that the plaintiffs' best argument is under the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection Clause — and to claim Oregon has no rational basis for depriving undocumented Latin Americans of the ability to drive on Oregon's roads."

Mr. Williams goes on to say, "The U.S. Supreme Court has been clear that neither legislators nor voters may target a minority group because of their race or ethnicity."

He seems to be missing the point that it is immigration status, not race or ethnicity, that is key to the license denial. It is beyond argument that the state has a legitimate interest in deciding to whom it will issue driver's licenses; certainly Oregonian voters think so. So does the Federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which recently sustained a restraining order against the Obama administration issued by a U.S. District Court in Texas after that state (and 25 others) filed suit. Perhaps the good dean should read that opinion.

It is hard to imagine how a claim of unconstitutional discrimination could possibly be sustained. First, the ballot measure is facially neutral. It denies a license to anyone who is illegally in the country, without regard to race, ethnicity, or national origins. An overstayed Canadian of Northern European origins would be denied a license as surely as a mestizo from Mexico.

Second, individuals lawfully residing in the United States — including, obviously, people of Mexican or Central American origin — are all entitled to licenses without other qualifiers or caveats, so they are clearly unaffected. Surely if there were state-sanctioned "animus toward persons from Mexico and Central America" it would leak over into other provisions of the motor vehicle laws. But it clearly has not.

While it is true that Mexicans make up a large (but shrinking) portion of the population of aliens illegally in the United States — the Pew Research Center estimates 5.6 million in 2014, down from 6.4 million in 2009 — it is equally true that Mexicans represent the highest proportion of lawful resident aliens living in the United States as of 2013, according to the Department of Homeland Security. (See Table 4, here.)

The only thing one can reliably conclude from available statistics is that, by geographical circumstance (Mexico being the neighbor to our immediate south and the Central American countries just a bit further south), a large proportion of both our legal and our illegal populations will almost inevitably emanate from those countries. How this translates into a claim of discrimination is beyond me.

Let us watch and see how this mini-drama plays out. One suspects that the legal organizations representing the plaintiffs know full well that they are attempting to tilt the tables in the ongoing struggle between the states and the administration in the Fifth Circuit case, which the Justice Department has asked the Supreme Court to hear, by playing off of the same issues under the guise of discrimination.
 

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