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

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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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 to become 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.

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