taxes

Join conservatives March 8 - 10 at the Dorchester Conference

Alert date: 
2013-03-01
Alert body: 

The Dorchester Conference is your opportunity to speak to dozens of conservative lawmakers from here in Oregon and from Washington DC.

The conference will be held in Seaside, OR at the Seaside Convention Center March 8 - 10...Friday evening, all day Saturday and Sunday morning.  If you don't want to pay to attend the conference, just visit the exhibit hall and and see all the booths packed with information.  Legislators, Congressman, past Governors, and many political candidates will be there, too.

They are anxious to talk with you and share their ideas and hear yours.

Plan to come for the day...or the whole weekend. 
 

OSU student spells out the flawed thinking of the instate tuition benefit - HB 2787

Gabriella Morrongiello, a sophomore at Oregon State University, and chairman of the OSU Young Americans for Freedom testified before the House Committee of Higher Education at the hearing for HB 2787.  She was poised and eloquent.  Following her testimony she submitted an article about the proceedings to the Barometer (the OSU campus paper), who felt it was too controversial to publish. 

So, she submitted the article to the New Guard which is the national blog sponsored by the Young America's Foundation.  Read Gabriella's article here.

 

OFIR member Cliff Girod explains the "inequity" of tuition equity

OFIR member Cliff Girod wrote and outstanding op ed which was recently published in the Statesman Journal.
 

Tuition equity bill goes to Senate

In-state tuition for immigrant students without documents, which made it through the Oregon House by a big vote Friday, drew differing reactions from participants in the long-running debate.

“I can finally go home, look my parents in the eye and say, ‘Mom and Dad, I can go to a four-year college,’” said Hugo Nicolas, a Chemeketa Community College student who was one of many students present in the House gallery for the vote.

“It means more freedom for me — and more responsibility,” said Nicolas, who testified last week for passage of House Bill 2787. “So I’m going to have to work harder to shoulder my investment.”

A 2011 graduate of McNary High School, Nicolas hopes to transfer to the University of Oregon, where he plans to study economics and Chinese.

Victor Mena was able to transfer from Portland Community College to Portland State University, where he is studying criminal justice and hopes to join the Navy.

“I grew up here ever since I was 3,” said Mena, whose change of visa allowed him to attend Portland State. “Maybe tuition equity does not affect me anymore, but it will definitely affect a lot of other potential students.”

The 38-18 vote moved the bill to the Senate, where Jim Ludwick of McMinnville, a spokesman for Oregonians for Immigration Reform, said, “it’s likely to pass — they’ve got the numbers.”

The Senate passed similar bills in 2003 and 2011, but the House let them die without a vote. Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, is the chief Senate sponsor of the current bill.

They are cowards using children as their shields to get something like this through,” Ludwick said after the vote. “This is just a denigration of the value of citizenship.”

Ludwick said immigrant students without legal presence can attend state universities now at out-of-state rates, which are three or four times higher than in-state rates that are partly subsidized by the state.

Although the bill does not make them eligible for state grants, Ludwick said, “Does anyone doubt that is the next step?”

The bill would allow state universities to charge in-state tuition if students meet specified conditions, including five years in U.S. schools and three in Oregon, graduation from high school or its equivalent in Oregon, and proof of intent to seek citizenship or legal status in the United States.

“They did not choose to come here; they were brought here,” said Rep. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, the bill’s floor manager. “They have no other country to go to, but they have plenty to offer this state. Unfortunately, they have become collateral damage of this country’s immigration debate.”

The bill was backed by the Oregon University System, student and immigrant-rights groups, and the state’s major business associations.

“It brings hope to current and former students in my hometown,” said Rep. Betty Komp,D-Woodburn, whose House district is the only one in the 2010 Census to have a majority of racial and ethnic minorities.

Rep. John Huffman, R-The Dalles, said critics’ arguments that the university system would lose income from out-of-state tuition rates are wrong: these immigrant students are not attending and paying now. “You can’t lose something you don’t already have,” he said.

The House, on a party-line vote, defeated a Republican-backed substitute that would have set an expiration date, limited in-state tuition to those already here on the date it takes effect, and required students to be enrolled in a federal program for delayed deportations.

“It holds the university system to the same standard that all of our employers must comply with,” said Rep. Gene Whisnant,R-Sunriver.

The state bill would not by itself confer the authority for students to seek work permits in the United States.

But under a program of delayed deportations approved by President Barack Obama last year for those who arrived illegally in the United States as children, known by its acronym DACA, some participants are eligible for work permits. The state bill would recognize participation in the federal program as their proof of intent to seek legal status.

Five Republicans, including Rep. Vicki Berger of Salem, joined 33 Democrats to pass the bill.

Among those voting for it were Democratic Reps. Joe Gallegos of Hillsboro and Jessica Vega Pederson of Portland. Republican Rep. Sal Esquivel of Medford voted no.

Twelve other states, including Washington and California, have similar laws. A federal Dream Act — which passed the U.S. House in 2010 but died after a filibuster threat in the Senate — could become part of federal immigration legislation in the works.

Gov. John Kitzhaber, who is en route to Washington, D.C., for a conference, said he looks forward to signing the bill.

“By removing roadblocks to their post-secondary education, we open new opportunities to them and the opportunity for our state to capitalize on the investment we've made in these students through the K-12 system,” he said in a statement.

Hugo Nicolas, of Salem, testifies before the Oregon House Committee on Higher Education and Workforce Development at a public hearing on House Bill 2787, which would allow some students without immigration documents to qualify for in-state tuition rates. / KOBBI R. BLAIR / Statesman Journal

How they voted

How Mid-Valley representatives voted on House Bill 2787, which allows in-state tuition rates for students without immigration documents. A proposed substitute failed on a party-line vote.

Vicki Berger, R-Salem Yes
Kevin Cameron, R-Salem No
Brian Clem, D-Salem Yes
Vic Gilliam. R-Silverton No
Betty Komp, D-Woodburn Yes
Sherrie Sprenger, R-Scio No
Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer Excused
Jim Thompson, R-Dallas No
Jim Weidner, R-Yamhill No

What’s next:

House Bill 2787, which passed the Oregon House on a 38-18 vote Friday, goes to the Senate. The bill is likely to be assigned to the Senate Education Committee.

Just who is the Oregon Legislature working for?

The Oregon Legislature has failed to pass a bill giving instate tuition benefits to illegal alien students for the past 10 years. Now, with the Democrats running the show, and some very misguided Republicans in their pocket, they are once again attempting to ram this bill down our throats. While this poll is not scientific, it is certainly open to anyone to express their opinion. If it's such a great idea, why does it fare so poorly in the Statesman Journal poll? Ask your Representative if they voted in favor of the HB 2787, passing it out of the House and sending it over to the Senate.

The House passed a bill allowing in-state tuition rates for undocumented immigrant students. If it becomes law, do you believe it will be beneficial for Oregon?

Yes 13%

No 84%

Don’t Know 1%

Total Votes: 349

OFIR billboard campaign in full swing

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

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

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

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

David Cross tracks the folly of HB 2787

David Cross, in factual detail, explains the folly of HB 2787.  Read his just published guest opinion to find out how taxpayers are being snookered by not paying attention to the details of this bill.
 

OFIR president to speak at Pachyderm luncheon Thursday

Alert date: 
2013-02-18
Alert body: 

Cynthia Kendoll of Salem, president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform, will speak at the next luncheon of the Valley Pachyderm Club.

The luncheon will start at noon Thursday [February 22nd] at the Scottish Rite Center, 4090 Commercial St. SE, Salem. Reservations are requested by Wednesday; call (503) 585-9525 or email robert@mosqueda.com.

OFIR has been outspoken against legislation [HB 2787 / SB 10] allowing in-state tuition rates for students in the country illegally.

 

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.
 

Kitzhaber to back bill on immigrant tuition

Gov. John Kitzhaber is expected today to put his political weight behind a bill allowing in-state tuition rates to state university students who lack immigration documents.

He is scheduled to be joined by speakers for Associated Oregon Industries, Oregon Business Association, Portland Business Alliance and the Oregon Association of Nurseries — and the three leaders of the House Higher Education Committee, which will take up House Bill 2787 for its first public hearing on Wednesday.

Among its sponsors are Chairman Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, and the vice chairmen, Republican Rep. John Huffman of The Dalles and Democratic Rep. Chris Harker of Beaverton.

Kitzhaber took no public stance on a similar bill two years ago, when it passed the Senate but died without a vote in an equally split House. But when he presented his two-year budget on Nov. 30, Kitzhaber said he would sign such a bill.

The current bill is similar in that it requires residency in Oregon for three years before high school graduation, graduation from high school in Oregon, and steps toward legal status in the United States. The latter would be in the form of affidavits filed with the state university attesting to applications for legal status or an intent to apply for it as soon as someone is eligible.

It also provides for a direct challenge of the law before the Oregon Supreme Court.

A similar law was upheld by the California Supreme Court in 2010, and the U.S. Supreme Court let it stand in 2011 when the justices declined to hear an appeal by opponents.

Although he is a sponsor of the bill, Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, said legislative leaders have agreed it is up to the House to act first this session. The Senate passed bills in 2003 and 2011, but each died in the House.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 12 states — including Washington and California — have laws allowing in-state tuition rates for undocumented students. Two states have done so through other means.

Four states specifically ban such rates, and two others bar enrollment of any students who cannot prove legal presence in the United States.

The political battle lines in Oregon will be the same as in 2011.

Immigrant-rights groups and student groups will support the bill. A comprehensive federal immigration bill could make action by states unnecessary, but as Causa Oregon’s Erik Sorensen said, “I do not anticipate Congress is going to have anything that soon.”

Oregonians for Immigration Reform, which has been critical of federal immigration policy, will oppose it again. But Jim Ludwick of McMinnville, a spokesman for the group, said opponents will emphasize arguments that the bill would be a money loser for the state because higher out-of-state tuition rates would not apply to those students.

Given that Democrats have majorities in both chambers this session, Ludwick said, “it’s going to be tough for us.”

What’s next

The House Higher Education Committee will conduct a public hearing on House Bill 2787, which grants in-state tuition rates to state university students without immigration documents, at 8 a.m. Wednesday in Hearing Room D in the Capitol. Overflow rooms are likely to be designated.

The committee plans a “work session” Friday, when it could advance the bill to a vote of the full House.
Follow all our political and state government coverage on the Oregon Politics Watch blog, StatesmanJournal.com/politics

Calendar

Selected legislative committee meetings and other events this week. Agendas are subject to change; for updates, call the numbers listed or see the Oregon Legislature’s website at www.leg.state.or.us.

Wednesday

House Higher Education: 8 a.m., Hearing Room D. Public hearing on House Bill 2787, allowing in-state tuition rates for university students without immigration documents. (503) 986-1664.

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