Causa was founded in the fall of 1995 by farmworkers, immigrants and allies in order to defeat anti-immigrant ballot measures prepared for circulation to Oregon voters. Since 1995, Causa has defeated dozens of anti-immigrant bills, including attempts to pass E-verify, restrict bilingual education, reduce needed services for low-income immigrant families, and Arizona-style legislation. From 2009-2011 Causa expanded our work to advocate for statewide policies that positively affect Latino immigrant communities in Oregon such as health equity, affordable housing, and jobs and the economy. (Source: Causa website)
400 people attended Causa’s 14th Annual Statewide Immigrant Action Day in Salem on Saturday, January 21 to highlight:
• Restoring driver’s licenses for all in Oregon
• Stopping local law enforcement collaboration with ICE
• How to get involved with our children’s education
• Making your voice heard in elections
• Equality for all members of our community
On January 24, Causa and a coalition of Eugene churches (including First Congregational UCC) and community groups hosted 350 guests a second annual Leaders Assembly. The issues addressed, to the attention of special guests from city, county, and state government, were a driver’s license restoration for all qualified Oregon residents and restoration of county funding for Centro LatinoAmericano in Eugene.
In 2005, the federal government passed the Real I.D. Act. In 2007, Governor Kulongoski followed by passing an order to get the Oregon driver’s license to meet the federal standard. This requires people to provide a birth certificate and documentation of legal status to renew or obtain a driver’s license. By the end of 2012, most of the immigrant community will be without a legal driver’s license. This is a losing situation for all—drivers, insurance companies, state licensing revenue, farmers and related industry, and certainly undocumented people who must work, go to the grocery or doctor, and take their children to school.
Gov. Kitzhaber has taken up this issue and will pursue passage of the Safer Roads Act to restore a driver’s-license-only for eligible drivers.
Centro LatinoAmericano, the largest and most established community-based organization in Lane County (and the southern Willamette Valley) serving the needs of low-income individuals and families, suffered drastic funding cuts from Lane County in June of 2011. This leaves poor citizens with fewer resources (e.g., heat assistance, language barrier assistance) to help them become self-reliant.
Currently, anti-immigrant groups with the support of Oregon State Representative Kim Thatcher (R), Oregon State Representative Jeff Barker (D) and others are preparing to introduce House Bill 4052 to force state agencies in Oregon to use the flawed E-verify system to “verify employment eligibility of applicants.” E-Verify, an Internet-based computer database run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has a troubled history that would spell disaster for Oregonians and Oregon’s struggling budget. Readers can take action on this and other Causa issues by checking the website: http://causaoregon.org
First Congregational Church