taxes

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.

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

Alert date: 
February 10, 2013
Alert body: 

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

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

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

 

 

Alert: Bills for instate tuition for illegal alien students introduced

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OFIR launches billboard campaign

When you are out and about driving in Salem, please keep your eyes on the road...but, try and sneak a look at OFIR's new digital billboard. For the next week, it will run on Mission St. and 17th St. 

OFIR is hoping to catch the attention of Legislators on their way to the Capitol. 

Throughout the month it will move around town, so keep an eye out for it.  If you see it, let OFIR know what you think of it!  

OFIR would appreciate your feedback and your ideas for future campaigns.

If you would like to see more billboards, consider a contribution to OFIR to help defray the cost.  OFIR members' past donations have made this campaign possible.

DACA - just another form of amnesty

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

Poll results don't support Legislature's plans

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

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

POLL RESULTS TO YESTERDAY’S QUESTION

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

- 3 years in Oregon high school

- Graduation from Oregon High school

- Admission to a state university

- Actively working toward U.S. citizenship

Yes 31.5%

No 66.6%

Don’t Know 1.4%

Don’t Care 0.5%

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

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

Rick LaMountain, OFIR VP, clearly explains the folly of driver licenses for illegal aliens

Rick LaMountain, once again hits the nail on the head with his decisive, clear and well documented letter explaining why the upcoming Oregon Legislature should not restore driver's licenses to illegal aliens in our state.  Please, pass this article along to your Legislator so that they, too, can understand the folly of the idea.
 

David Cross explains that selective information leads to a misleading report

David Olen Cross tracks and reports criminal alien activity throughout the state and has done so for years.   It's not surprising that he holds accountable those that would pick and choose which information to include in the recent Oregon Commission on Public Safety’s final report to the governor, submitted on December 17, 2012.

How convenient to exclude the most damning information when the Governor's agenda is clear to anyone who cares to look at it.

Read Cross's Guest Opinion, published at registerguard.com
 

Scholarship opportunity for interested students

Alert date: 
January 14, 2013
Alert body: 

OFIR is accepting applications for our second annual essay contest scholarship opportunity.  Find out more.
 

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