taxes

Hundreds rally in Portland to urge Congress to overhaul immigration policies

About 300 people rallied in downtown Portland Saturday as part of a nationwide day of action to urge Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Immigrants, family members, farmworkers, union workers and others gathered at Director Park on a sun-drenched autumnal afternoon to urge lawmakers to keep families together by passing legislation that includes a pathway to citizenship for more than 11 million undocumented residents.

Read the full article about amnesty and driver cards for illegal aliens.

 

Rep. Bonamici schedules town halls

 

We encourage you to attend Town Hall meetings in your district and throughout your state.


Your elected officials will be hosting the following events:

Topic: Clatskanie Town Hall Meeting
Official: Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR 1st)
When: 09/21/2013
Starts: 09:30 AM
Until: 10:30 AM
Where: Clatskanie Middle
High School Gymnasium
471 SW Bel Air Drive
Clatskanie, OR 97016

Topic: Astoria Town Hall Meeting
Official: Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR 1st)
When: 09/21/2013
Starts: 11:30 AM
Until: 12:30 PM
Where: Astoria Public Library
Flag Room
450 10th Street
Astoria, OR 97103

Topic: Tualatin Town Hall Meeting
Official: Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR 1st)
When: 09/22/2013
Starts: 01:30 PM
Until: 02:30 PM
Where: Tualatin Public Library
Community Room
18878 SW Martinazzi Ave
Tualatin, OR 97062

Topic: Hillsboro Town Hall Meeting
Official: Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR 1st)
When: 09/22/2013
Starts: 03:30 PM
Until: 04:30 PM
Where: Hillsboro Civic Center
C117 Auditorium
150 E. Main Street
Hillsboro, OR 97123

Topic: Banks Town Hall Meeting
Official: Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR 1st)
When: 09/28/2013
Starts: 11:00 AM
Until: 12:00 PM
Where: Banks Fire Station
Training Room
300 S Main Street
Banks, OR 97106

Topic: Yamhill Town Hall Meeting
Official: Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR 1st)
When: 09/28/2013
Starts: 01:00 PM
Until: 02:00 PM
Where: Yamhill-Carlton High School
Gymnasium
120 North Larch Place
Yamhill, OR 97148

Topic: Beaverton Town Hall Meeting
Official: Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR 1st)
When: 09/29/2013
Starts: 12:00 PM
Until: 01:00 PM
Where: Beaverton Interpretive Center
Beaver Den Room, Nature Park Interpretive Center
15655 SW Millikan Way
Beaverton, OR 97006

Topic: Sauvie Island Town Hall Meeting
Official: Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR 1st)
When: 09/29/2013
Starts: 02:00 PM
Until: 03:00 PM
Where: Sauvie Island Academy Gym
14445 NW Charlton Road
Portland, OR 97231

We urge you to attend the upcoming Town Hall meeting to share your concerns about the Senate "Gang of Eight" amnesty bill.

Click here for helpful resources to help you lobby your Senator about this bill.

Please call your elected official's district office to verify the date/location of the Town Hall event. We use our best efforts to obtain reliable information, but schedules change frequently.

We all know that politicians are famous for talking one way at home, and then voting another way when they get back to Washington, D.C. We'd love to hear about the meetings that you attend and we would appreciate any feedback that you could give us.

Please forward this message to your family and friends.
 

 

Wyden's Townhall visit Monday, August 19 - don't miss it!

Senator Ron Wyden will be holding a Townhall meeting Monday, August 19th.

While the topic is Healthcare, that doesn't mean you can't ask questions and share your concerns about the Senate "Gang of Eight" amnesty bill.

We encourage you to attend, ask questions and report back in the topic of immigration is even touched upon during the meeting.

Topic: HEALTH CARE TOWN HALL
Official: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)
When: 08/19/2013
Starts: 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM
Where: Self Enhancement Inc.
3920 N. Kerby Avenue
Portland, OR 97227

 

 


 

Hillsboro Migrant Summer School brings in Mexican teachers for culture lessons

Osorio Pacheco was one of three elementary teachers from Mexico brought to the Hillsboro School District in June under a federal migrant education program. The teachers integrated lessons of culture into the Migrant Summer School's regular curriculum focus of reading, writing and math.

The Bi-national Migrant Education Teacher Exchange Program is part of an initiative that started in 1976 to help migrant students in California. The departments of education in Mexico and the United States have since partnered to improve schooling for children who travel frequently between the two countries.

Read the full Oregonian story here:   http://www.oregonlive.com/hillsboro/index.ssf/2013/07/hillsboro_migrant_summer_schoo.html

 

'Only you can stop amnesty'

WASHINGTON — The congresswoman and former presidential candidate could not be more clear, nor the situation she sees more urgent.

“The Republic is at stake” if “amnesty” is included in any immigration bill that becomes law, Rep. Michele Bachmann told WND last month.

Now, she says, the situation has actually gotten worse.

Bachmann and her House colleagues, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, have a new warning: Their own congressional leaders have joined the opposition and the only one who can stop amnesty now is you, the voter.

Amnesty is the term conservatives use to describe a path to legalization for illegal immigrants in legislation such as the bill passed in the Senate last month.

Bachmann says that bill is essentially the same as the one introduced by senators John McCain, R-Ariz., and the late Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and defeated in 2007 after a huge backlash by the conservative grassroots.

She says the 2007 bill caused her phone lines “to melt,” provoking more outrage than even Obamacare.

This time? The phones are silent.

Bachmann thinks that’s because people simply aren’t aware that the same thing is happening again.

Bachmann, Gohmert and King rallied their colleagues to put enough pressure on House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to force him to agree to apply the “Hastert rule” to legislation coming out of a conference committee to reconcile House and Senate versions of any bill.

Sticking to the Hastert rule is a way of preventing the House from approving legislation without the approval of the majority of the Republicans.

Last month, Bachmann told WND she feared an amnesty bill coming out of such a conference would be a “Trojan Horse” because “it won’t be (most) Republicans that pass it.”

“It’ll be Nancy Pelosi leading all the House Democrats to vote for it, and just enough Republicans will vote for the bill and you’ll have amnesty.”

Now, she sees GOP party leaders unreservedly throwing their support behind amnesty.

Bachmann also warns that amnesty supporters include members of “the House of Representatives you would never think in a million years could possibly support this foolish decision, but they do.”

“Don’t assume, just because your member of the House of representatives is a Republican or a conservative, they’re going to vote against a bill that has legalization,” Bachmann warns.

She is pleading with all conservative voters to call their members of Congress in the House to demand they do not vote for amnesty.

She urges readers to call the House of Representatives switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

Speaker of the House John Boehner can be reached at (202) 225-6205 or (800) 582-1001.

He is also on Twitter and can be reached by email. Boehner’s fax number is (202) 225-5117.

WND spoke with Bachmann, Gohmert and King to find out why they believe amnesty could mean more than the end of the Republican party, but could actually mean the end of the Republic itself.

GOP LEADERSHIP SOLD ON AMNESTY

WND asked Bachmann whether she was encouraged or discouraged by last week’s meeting of GOP House members on immigration.

“It was very mixed, it was very divided, but it was very clear the leadership is completely sold on passing an amnesty bill. So, I’m very nervous about where we’re going because the 900-pound gorilla in the room is legalization,” she reflected.

She then gravely warned, “That is the only thing the president wants.”

Bachmann says they discussed four or five separate bills as opposed to one comprehensive immigration reform package, but some incorporated legalization within them.

LEGALIZATION IS EVERYTHING

“The only game in town is legalization, for President Obama and for Senate Democrats. They want that legalization status,” Bachmann declared.

She thinks the Democrats would actually accept all five Republican bills and say “Hey, great! Have any bill you want” because they could care less about what else is in the bill, all they want is legalization.

Bachmann says the reason for this is very clear: It’s all about gaining more political power. Complete power, in fact.

“Once President Obama gets legalization, then he’s got literally tens of millions of individuals he could potentially put on his voting roles to cement in place his policies for progressivism,” the congresswoman warned.

“I think people really need to be aware, the president will go for amnesty, the Senate will give us amnesty, the only brake we have is in the House of Representatives,” adding WND readers should be “very, very concerned” because resistance in the House is not very strong right now.

“And legalization is everything, it is the game changer. It changes our nation structurally forever, if this goes through.”

As Bachmann detailed to WND last month, “This is President Obama’s number one political agenda item because he knows we will never again have a Republican president, ever, if amnesty goes into effect. We will perpetually have a progressive, liberal president, probably a Democrat, and we will probably see the House of Representatives go into Democrat hands and the Senate will stay in Democrat hands.”

The lawmaker said that would create a permanent progressive class, and the country would never return to its constitutional foundations.

“That’s what’s at risk right now. It may sound melodramatic, I don’t mean it that way, but this is that big and that important.”

GOP SUICIDE WATCH

King is also worried the GOP is digging its own grave.

He says conservatives are on a “suicide watch over the Republican party.”

King disagrees with Republicans such as Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who believe the GOP needs to support amnesty in order to win Hispanic votes.

He agress with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who says he earned 40 percent of the Hispanic vote by sticking to conservative principles rather than pandering.

“It’s unbelieveable to me that people would take that kind of bait and let the hook get set as deep as it’s been set,” said King.

He warned fellow conservatives, “Those folks who have always advocated for amnesty and open borders, and I am talking especially about people on the Republican side of the aisle, they’re reeling this in.”

“They were reeling in the four members of the Gang of Eight on that idea, ‘Well we have to grant amnesty, otherwise, we’re never going to win a presidential election again.’”

ADVICE FROM THE ENEMY

King says it’s one thing for Republican to disagree, but it’s another to take advice from the enemy.

“Barack Obama came to our conference this year in February to make the pitch that we need to pass comprehensive immigration reform, including amnesty (of course, he doesn’t use that word), and if we don’t do that, he said, ‘You’ll never win another national election,’” said King in disbelief.

“And, he said, ‘I’m trying to help you.’ Now, what Republican would hire community-organizer Barack Obama to be their political consultant?” added the congressman, incredulously.

Yet, says King, it looks to him as though much of the establishment class within the Republican party is actually accepting the political consulting advice of President Obama.

“Why would he say to us, ‘Do this’ if he believed it would be good for Republicans? That’s the last thing we’d hear out of him.”

MAKE OUR MESSAGE CLEAR

WND asked Gohmert if Republicans will pay for it at the polls if they don’t pass immigration reform.

He said the GOP could pay a price, “If we don’t make our message clear, if we don’t express our hearts and why we are doing what we are doing to preserve a country that Hispanics will want to come to,” as well as Asians and Africans.

“We could possibly pay at the polls in the short term. But, just as you’ve had more and more African-Americans realizing, ‘Wow, we have one party that’s pandered to us, doled out government benefits, kept us from reaching our God-given potential … and you have another, this Republican Party, in the case of Hispanics, that says we want you to learn English because we don’t want you to be a ditch-digger just because you can’t communicate — we know you are smart enough to be president of your company and to be president of this country, if you’re born here.’”

Gohmert painted a vision of an America with equal opportunity for all, telling newcomers, “We want you to reach your God-given potential. We want to educate you and bring out the best. We don’t want to keep you in schools that are failing you and failing America. We want the schools to be better and we want you to reach your potential.”

He continued, “If we don’t communicate that message we could pay for it in the short term. But, in the long term, I think you will see people start waking up and going, ‘Wow, these Republicans really like me and we share so much, generally speaking.’”

WE SHARE A FAITH

Gohmert sees many Hispanics as natural conservatives, observing, “We share a faith in God, a devotion to family and a hard-work ethic. Things that made America great.”

“We have more and more Hispanics starting to realize that, and some of them I’ve served with. Just incredibly wonderful people. And I expect in the future you will see more and more of that.

GOP WILL GET THE BLAME

Bachmann doesn’t mince words.

“Contrary to popular opinion, Republicans won’t get patted on the back or get new votes because of passing amnesty — they’re going to get blamed.”

She predicts Republicans would lose the House in 2014, and things would just get worse once amnesty is in place.

“Because, I think the president, even by executive order, could again wave his magic wand before 2014 and he’d say, ‘Now, all of the new legal Americans are going to have voting rights.’”

“Why do I say that? He did in 2012. Do you remember? Anyone who was here as a Latino under age 30, he said, ‘You get to vote.’

“What?!? He decides you get to vote? If he did it in 2012, take it to the bank, he’ll do it in 2014.”

ONE PARTY RULE

Bachmann says after that, the Democrats will control the White House, the Senate and the House, ushering in one-party rule.

“At that point, they will change election law. And it will be almost impossible to ever see a Republican majority again.

“Do we get how important this is? I’m not crying wolf here. This is the most important vote that we’re going to take in the next two years.”

That’s why she says it is so important to call the House switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to tell Congress not to pass amnesty.

“WND readers need to understand there are conservative Republicans, self-styled conservative Republicans, that are for amnesty,” she said. “People in the House of Representatives you would never think in a million years could possibly support this foolish decision, but they do.”

She says not to assume members of Congress will vote against legalization just because they are conservative. Bachmann was too diplomatic to mention it, but even such high-profile conservatives as Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., are supporting legalization.

And once the president gets an inch, she says, he will take a mile.

“Even if it’s a guest worker bill, even if it’s a germ of a bill that gives legalization status, that’s what President Obama will take, and he’ll run a mile and we’ll have full-on perpetual amnesty with no hope of deportation, ever. We will have lost control of the border,” Bachmann predicted.

AMNESTY IS NOT DEAD

King shares Bachmann’s concern that whatever immigration bill the House approves will become a vehicle for amnesty.

“I’m still worried that if we send something over to the Senate, it might be an E-verify bill, guest-worker bill, it could be a Dream Act bill … They could attach something on the Senate side, send it back, build the political pressure, and then, if our Speaker says ‘Well, the political pressure is so great, that we have to take this up or we’re going to lose seats in the upcoming election,’ that’s how we could get to a scenario where we end up with amnesty sent to the president,” he explained.

King says, “Really, there’s no reason for the House to pass anything.”

“Why are we going through this exercise if amnesty is not going to get to the president’s desk? Because, he’s not going to sign anything that doesn’t have it.”

King warns, “The exercise just leaves us vulnerable. We’re dancing with the wrong side of the aisle here and no good can come from it.”

IMPENDING CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS

“We should tell our constituents our president is violating his own oath of office. This is an impending constitutional crisis,” predicts King.

“No amount of legislation is going to make the president do what he doesn’t want to do, which is enforce laws he doesn’t like.

“So, passing more laws that he doesn’t like is only going to exacerbate the problem. Plus, he’s not going to sign it and Harry Reid’s not going to take it up.

“No good can come from this. We should tell our constituents, ‘This is the president’s problem, he has created it and we are not going to conform with the president’s unconstitutional whims.’”

SPANK THE PRESIDENT

WND asked Bachmann if she is similarly concerned the president will do what he wants no matter what Congress does on immigration.

“Well, of course he’s going to, unless we pinch his ears back,” she observed.

She noted his penchant to rule by executive order is working for him but not the American people.

“He has a perpetual magic wand and nobody’s given him a spanking yet and taken it out of his hand,” she added maternally.

Bachmann says Congress has the power to discipline a misbehaving president, “And the way we spank the president is we do it through the checkbook.”

She says the House of Representatives has the most power in Washington because, “We have the power of the purse.”

“We’re the ones who say, ‘No, you can’t have the money.’ What’s wrong with us? What is wrong with us that we would give the president ten cents to fund Obamacare?”

IMMIGRATION BILL UNCONSTITUTIONAL

King confronted the president when the Obama administration recently decided not to enforce the employer mandate requirement in the health care law until after the 2014 elections.

“If President Obama wants to make changes to Obamacare, he must come to Congress,” King told CNS, adding, “We are a nation governed by laws written by Congress, not memos and blog posts written by bureaucrats.” King said.

Gohemert, who is a lawyer, says the Senate immigration bill has something in common with Obamacare, observing, “There is no question it’s unconstitutional.”

He says that’s because both Senate bills included funding, but only the House can do that.

“It is unconstitutional and, actually, Obamacare is unconstitutional. I was hoping in the original case that went to the Supreme Court someone would raise the origination clause, that anything that raises revenue must originate in the House.”

“And that point was not raised. It should have been raised,” he added wistfully.

THE END OF AMERICA

All three lawmakers agree amnesty will cause many serious problems, including higher unemployment, lower wages, greater national debt.

But they see something even more serious on the horizon, something that could change everything.

They fear amnesty could lead to one-party rule and the end of America as we know it.

Bachmann paints a scenario after amnesty passes in which “you’ll see the president, just like Superman, open his shirt and there will be a big ‘S’ on it, and President Obama will become the super civil rights advocate for all the people that have new legalization status.”

She says President Obama and his “minions” will then declare, “I’m the one who’s going to give you voting rights.”

So, even if a legalization bill passes that does not include voting rights, Bachmann says the president will simply declare, “We’re America and you’re legalized and you don’t have voting status? I’m here to give you civil rights. You deserve the right to vote.”

She says that will put Republicans in an impossible position, asking what are they going to do, tell people “No, we’re not going to allow you to vote?”

She predicts the president will then say, “[T]he Republicans don’t want you to have access to the benefits you deserve, Obamacare, 80 different means-tested welfare programs, Social Security, Medicare … you deserve that, too. I’m going to be your champion to make sure you get all of these public assistance benefits.’”

“And what’s our platform going to be?” Bachmann wonders. “No, you can’t have them? We will immediately be on defense and we will be forever on defense because the president has one plan. It is open borders with ongoing, rolling amnesty and no meaningful form of deportation anywhere.”

Bachmann adds one last warning: “That’s what WND viewers need to know we’re up against. This is very serious. It is a structural change in America and it will mean there will be no meaningful way to elect again a constitutional conservative for president. It’s not gonna happen.”

2013 Oregon Legislature adjourns

Alert date: 
2013-07-08
Alert body: 


The 2013 Oregon Legislature has just adjourned.  What that means is that we now have only 90 days left to collect 58,142 signatures to get the issue of driver privilege cards for illegal aliens on the ballot so Oregon voters can decide for themselves if this is what we want for Oregon.

SB 833 would provide a state issued ID, in the form of a driver privilege card, to illegal aliens with minimal (and questionable) requirements.

Protect Oregon Driver Licenses has filed a referendum to get the issue on the November 2014 ballot and let voters decide.

To gather signatures to help overturn the bill, please go to:  www.ProtectOregonDL.org for more information.

 

 

 

 

Take a day off

If you have been repeatedly calling, emailing, FAXING and visiting your Congressmen regarding S. 744, I salute you and you have my respect and admiration. 

Calls in opposition to the bill were coming in 15 to 1.  We've done a good job. 

But, if I were queen for a day, I would encourage everyone to take a day off from all this strife and turmoil. 

Take a breather to recharge your resolve to power through.  Play outside, go to the beach, hug your family, start your Christmas shopping.  Do anything except being an activist.

We will have our work cut out for us when the bill hits the House side.  But, as queen for a day, I grant you the day off to play!
 

IRS Sent 46,378,040 in Refunds to 23,994 ‘Unauthorized’ Aliens at 1 Address

(CNSNews.com) - The Internal Revenue Service sent 23,994 tax refunds worth a combined $46,378,040 to “unauthorized” alien workers who all used the same address in Atlanta, Ga., in 2011, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

That was not the only Atlanta address theoretically occupied by thousands of “unauthorized” alien workers receiving millions in federal tax refunds in 2011. In fact, according to a TIGTA audit report published last year, four of the top ten addresses to which the IRS sent thousands of tax refunds to “unauthorized” aliens were in Atlanta.

The IRS sent 11,284 refunds worth a combined $2,164,976 to unauthorized alien workers at a second Atlanta address; 3,608 worth $2,691,448 to a third; and 2,386 worth $1,232,943 to a fourth.

Other locations on the IG’s Top Ten list for singular addresses that were theoretically used simultaneously by thousands of unauthorized alien workers, included an address in Oxnard, Calif, where the IRS sent 2,507 refunds worth $10,395,874; an address in Raleigh, North Carolina, where the IRS sent 2,408 refunds worth $7,284,212; an address in Phoenix, Ariz., where the IRS sent 2,047 refunds worth $5,558,608; an address in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., where the IRS sent 1,972 refunds worth $2,256,302; an address in San Jose, Calif., where the IRS sent 1,942 refunds worth $5,091,027; and an address in Arvin, Calif., where the IRS sent 1,846 refunds worth $3,298,877.

Since 1996, the IRS has issued what it calls Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) to two classes of persons: 1) non-resident aliens who have a tax liability in the United States, and 2) aliens living in the United States who are “not authorized to work in the United States.”

The IRS has long known it was giving these numbers to illegal aliens, and thus facilitating their ability to work illegally in the United States. For example, the Treasury Inspector General’s Semiannual Report to Congress published on Oct. 29, 1999—nearly fourteen years ago—specifically drew attention to this problem.

“The IRS issues Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) to undocumented aliens to improve nonresident alien compliance with tax laws. This IRS practice seems counter-productive to the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s (INS) mission to identify undocumented aliens and prevent unlawful alien entry,” TIGTA warned in that long-ago report.

The inspector general’s 2012 audit report on the IRS’s handling of ITINs was spurred by two IRS employees who went to member of Congress "alleging that IRS management was requiring employees to assign Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) even when the applications were fraudulent.”

In an August 2012 press release accompanying the audit report, TIGTA said the report “validated” the complaints of the IRS employees.

“TIGTA’s audit found that IRS management has not established adequate internal controls to detect and prevent the assignment of an ITIN to individuals submitting questionable applications,” said Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George. “Even more troubling, TIGTA found an environment which discourages employees from detecting fraudulent applications.”

In addition to the 23,994 tax refunds worth a combined $46,378,040 that the IRS sent to a single address in Atlanta, the IG also discovered that the IRS had assigned 15,796 ITINs to unauthorized aliens who presumably resided at a single Atlanta address.

The IRS, according to TIGTA, also assigned ITINs to 15,028 unauthorized aliens presumably living at a single address in Dallas, Texas, and 10,356 to unauthorized aliens presumably living at a single address in Atlantic City, N.J.

Perhaps the most remarkable act of the IRS was this: It assigned 6,411 ITINs to unauthorized aliens presumably using a single address in Morganton, North Carolina. According to the 2010 Census, there were only 16,681 people in Morganton. So, for the IRS to have been correct in issuing 6,411 ITINS to unauthorized aliens at a single address Morganton it would have meant that 38 percent of the town’s total population were unauthorized alien workers using a single address.

TIGTA said there were 154 addresses around the country that appeared on 1,000 or more ITIN applications made to the IRS.

Multnomah County: Mexican Drug Cartels Issue a Prescription of Death

A well known fact, most of the illicit drugs killing Oregonians are produced, manufactured and smuggled into the state by drug cartels operating out of Mexico.

On June 4th the Oregon Medical Examiner (OME) reported 223 deaths in 2012 were caused by the illicit drugs; the preceding number of drug deaths being third highest number since 2002. The types of drugs by the numbers that killed 223 of the state’s residents last year were 147 from heroin, 19 from cocaine, 93 from methamphetamine or 33 from a combination of the preceding drugs.

When it came to illicit drug related deaths in the state last year, according to the OME, Multnomah County had the dubious distention of leading all 36 Oregon counties with 103 illicit drug related deaths (80 heroin, 15 cocaine, 28 methamphetamine or 18 from a combination of drugs).

Putting these numbers into perspective, Multnomah County residents are approximately 19.05 percent of Oregon’s population of 3.83 million, yet the county experienced 46.13 percent of the states illicit drug deaths.

Not only last year, but over the last seven years Multnomah has led all Oregon counties in OME reported illicit drug related deaths by number and percentage:

- 2006 the county had 95 drug deaths (44.60 percent);
- 2007 the county had 101 drug deaths (47.64 percent);
- 2008 the county had 106 drug deaths (46.28 percent);
- 2009 the county had 94 drug deaths ( 44.13 percent);
- 2010 the county had 87 drug deaths (43.50 percent);
- 2011 the county had 119 drug deaths (49.58 percent);
- 2012 the county had 103 drug deaths (46.13 percent).

Totaling the preceding numbers from seven years of OME reports, Multnomah County had 705 of the 1,530 illicit drug related deaths recorded in the state; 46.08 percent of the states drug deaths.

Moving beyond the OME report’s body counts, a look at the current Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) prison population gives a picture of who is most likely dealing the drugs killing the state’s residents.

On May 1st in the DOC prison system there were 166 foreign nationals (prisoners with immigration detainers) incarcerated for drug crimes, 151 of those prisoners declared their country of origin being Mexico, that’s 91.00 percent of the foreign nationals in prison for drug crimes.

Locally, cases adjudicated in Multnomah County Circuit Courts have sent 46 Mexican nationals (30.46 percent of Mexicans convicted in the state for drug crimes) to serve time in DOC prisons.

A reasonable solution, to reduce future drug deaths, to keep the Mexican drug cartels in-check, to keep the drug cartels from easily distributing cartel drugs, drugs that are killing far too many of the county’s residents, Multnomah County’s elected officials, the county commissioners and sheriff, shouldn’t equivocate about providing the resources to enforce of the state’s drug laws.

Furthermore, the county commissioners and sheriff should put aside any pretense of political correctness about offending the county’s Hispanic community, many whom are undocumented residents, and fully cooperate with all federal law enforcement agencies, like Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agency, because the illicit drugs poisoning and killing the county’s residents don’t discriminate against any one communities race, religion, country of origin or immigration status.

David Olen Cross of Salem writes on immigration issues and foreign national crime. He can be reached at docfnc@yahoo.com.

Merkley intros H-2B amendment

WASHINGTON — Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., introduced an amendment Wednesday to the massive immigration bill under consideration in the Senate that would tighten loopholes that Oregon companies used to hire foreign workers to complete local forestry projects.

The amendment is virtually identical to the American Jobs in American Forests Act, a bill Merkley introduced in May.

Merkley’s legislation would require companies to make an extensive effort to hire American workers before they could apply for an H-2B visa.

The H-2B visa program, which received a major injection of stimulus funding from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, authorizes American companies to import foreign workers for nonagricultural seasonal work if they are unable to find U.S. citizens to fill the positions.

As The Bulletin first reported, four Oregon companies received more than $7 million in federal funds to hire foreign workers for forestry projects through the H-2B program in 2010. At the time, Oregon was suffering through double-digit unemployment.

A subsequent review of the H-2B program by the Department of Labor’s inspector general could find no evidence that the Oregon companies made any effort to recruit in Oregon.

“I am pleased that the Senate is moving forward to fix our broken immigration system," said Merkley in a prepared statement. “But we need to ensure that in fields like forestry where there are thousands of Oregonians looking for work, companies are not allowed to abuse the H-2B visa program and just blindly assert that there are no Oregonians willing and able to work in our forests."

Under the current system, companies have to advertise only in states where the jobs “originated," which often are not the states in which the work was to be performed. The companies can self-attest that they were unable to find U.S. workers before asking permission to hire foreign labor.

Consequently, unemployed workers in Oregon, many with forestry experience and expertise, might never learn about job openings for local forestry projects. Oregon’s database of those actively seeking work includes 3,492 forest and conservation workers and 1,489 forest and conservation technicians, according to the Oregon Employment Department.

Under Merkley’s proposal, companies must bolster their efforts to recruit locally by advertising on local radio and Internet job sites, as well as consulting with the state workforce agency to make sure local job seekers learn about potential openings. The state workforce agency would have to certify that a robust effort had been made before a company could apply to bring in foreign labor, and would put in stricter recruiting rules for multistate projects so companies couldn’t advertise exclusively in one state for a project that will take place in another.

While many details and disagreements remain, including over border security and a possible path to citizenship, leaders from both parties have said passing immigration reform is a priority.

By attaching his bill to the larger legislation, Merkley increases its chances of actually becoming law, since large, heavily negotiated and debated bills are generally more likely to secure a majority of votes than smaller, one-issue bills. The Senate must first agree to the amendment, and a vote on it has not yet been scheduled.

After the inspector general’s report, the Labor Department tried to change the rules governing the H-2B program to close some of the loopholes, but its changes were successfully challenged in federal court by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others.

The program has continued to grow under the old rules. Over the past four years, the number of visas issued has grown from 44,847 in fiscal year 2009 to 47,403 in 2010 and 50,826 in 2011, according to the U.S. State Department. Figures for 2012 were not available.

Oregon is not one of the top 10 states for total positions certified, according to Department of Labor figures. In 2012, forest worker was the second highest H-2B worker category, behind landscaper. For 2013, forest worker ranks fourth, behind landscaper/groundskeeper, maid/housekeeper/cleaner, and amusement and recreation attendant.
 

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