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A boisterous crowd of nearly 2,000 immigration rights advocates rallied Tuesday on the streets of Salem in support of several key issues facing illegal immigrants. The rally was held in favor of both a pathway to U.S. citizenship and continued Oregon driving privileges for illegal immigrants, the Associated Press reported. A large percentage of the crowd carried American flags and signs that read "Oregon works because immigrants work" and "Immigration reform now!”

Immigration Rally Held In Oregon

A boisterous crowd of nearly 2,000 immigration rights advocates rallied Tuesday on the streets of Salem in support of several key issues facing illegal immigrants.

The rally was held in favor of both a pathway to U.S. citizenship and continued Oregon driving privileges for illegal immigrants, the Associated Press reported.

A large percentage of the crowd carried American flags and signs that read “Oregon works because immigrants work” and “Immigration reform now!”

Although the rally did not create any violence, at one point the rally fell silent when a woman began yelling, “Go back home and come back legally!” The woman, who would identify herself only as “M.J.,” said she was protesting what she called the immigrant “invasion” of the U.S., the AP reported.

Some lawmakers say Oregon should stop giving driving privileges to undocumented immigrants when it adopts the new federal requirements, which require proof of citizenship or legal residence to get a driver’s license, according to the AP. Oregon is one of nine states that do not require proof of legal residence to obtain driver’s licenses.

Immigrants rights advocates and some agriculture industry officials say Oregon’s current policy has worked well because it encourages illegal workers who are driving anyway to undergo driver’s training and pass a test showing familiarity with driving laws, the AP reported.

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Book Festivals of the West 2011

Each year readers and writers gather to celebrate the written word at book festivals, fairs, and writing conferences throughout the West. Although there are a few spring festivals, everything really begins to pick up in June, and the schedule remains busy through November. The offerings vary from those that concentrate on helping writers improve their craft, such as the Lighthouse Writers Workshop's retreat in Grand Lake, Colo. (July 10th-15th), to those that introduce writers to readers through panels, readings, and book signings, such as the Montana Festival of the Book in Missoula (October 5th-7th). Some, such as the Aspen Summer Words Festival (June 19th-24th), combine workshops and readings. The workshops charge fees, but plenty of the festivals are free to attend, including the Montana Festival of the Book in Missoula and the Equality State Book Fair in Casper. Most workshops are already accepting applications for this year. I've updated the Book Festivals of the West map with this year's information when it was available. Please let me know if there are any more events to add or update—I'll even throw this open for events in California and Texas. New West will run reports from the festivals again this year—we already have correspondents lined up for the Jackson Hole Writers Conference, Aspen Summer Words, and the Montana Festival of the Book, and are looking for more contributors.

6 comments

  1. Is this country, “Forever”, suppose to be a “population pressure relief value” for third world countries that ignore the need for family planning and having a meaningful discussion about ever increasing human numbers and their relationship to a given parcel of land’s and it’s “human carrying capacity”? Former Gov. Tom McCall of Oregon was the only politician who had the guts to question the human population perpetual growth machine. Jared Diamond”s book “Collapse” is an informative historical account about how societies choose to fail or succeed. Historical failure is often preceeded by too many people chasing too few resources.

  2. Where are the protesters in the streets of their native countries, or even here, demanding a change in the economic and social conditions in their native countries that cause them to come here illegally? Why isn’t the message here for those people to fight for change in their own countries and come here through the legal process? When I see photos of protesters displaying a Mexican flag on a staff above an upside down American flag, I question what the real agenda is. If things are so good here and so bad in their native lands, why aren’t the flags reversed and the American flag displayed respectfully?

  3. Many honest people are forming groups in their cities and visiting their local city council meetings.

    1 Find a place for a meeting. Libraries or coffee shops are good.

    2 Let your local news in on what you are trying to do. Patriots or Minutemen are good key words that will let others know what your group is about.

    3 Hold a meeting. Get a small group of people elected to help keep things organized and your group functioning.

    4 Visit your local city council or other public meetings and let them know how you feel.

    Rallies are a good way to let people in your area know what your group is about. Let the police know when you have a rally planned. To keep your group going it can be helpful to have a flyer ready to let people know of your next meeting or rally.

  4. Ignoring the illegal immigration problem will destroy this country. California’s worst mistake (and there’s been many) was to allow Spanish language ballot’s and schools. When I last visited a Lowes in California all the announcements were in Spanish. Many schools in California are multilingual which means only English speaking students are getting “short changed” on instruction time as teachers speak Spanish to those who require it. UCLA last year lost 250 million dollars treating illegals. The argument “who’s going to pick our strawberries” is an eroneous one as well, as when free services to that 2% of the illegals who disdain to work in the fields is figured in, it’s been estimated that the actual cost of an illegal in the fields is around $30 an hour…eight dollars paid by the farmer, the rest by the taxpayers. Having just visited an emergency room in Missoula yesterday, where treatment was immediate, reminded me again of the illegal problem as my mother-in-law, only two years ago, waited over 20 hours for treatment of a broken hip and shoulder…as a tax paying American, she had to wait for the lines of illegals to be treated first. It’s time American’s stood up for well earned and blood invested rights. This is not a racial tirade as I have Mexican heritage family members…who also decry illegals. L.J.

  5. I am proud to be Mexican!

  6. Sonia: As you should be. I’m proud to be of Irish/Scotch/Dutch/Choctaw heritage…but by far most proud of being American, and by that I don’t mean “of the America’s” but an American in the sense of a citizen of the United States. I’m also proud of my half-Mexican neice and nephew whose mother and grandparents are tax-paying, hard-working citizens…but would not be proud of them if they marched in an American city, taking advantage of a freedom of speech they wouldn’t enjoy in most other countries, while wrapped in a foreign flag. If you come to this country legally, as millions have, and take advantage of all the blood spilled and work, sweat, and tears invested in what America is and stands for, then wrap yourself in the American flag, obey her laws, and honor her heritage…or find another place to live and invest blood, sweat, tears, and time, to make it as wonderful a place as is the good, old, USA. L.J.