Umatilla Sheriff demands $300k from Mexico

Umatilla County Sheriff John Trumbo has sent a letter to Mexico's President Vicente Fox. In the letter, he demands over $300,000 to reimburse Umatilla County for the cost of incarcerating illegal aliens.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Last year, more than 360 of "your citizens" spent time in jail "at a cost of $63 a day which equates to a request for payment of $318,843," the letter concluded. "At this time, you will not be billed for medical, dental and transportation costs. Your prompt attention to this request will be very much appreciated."

Three months later, Trumbo reports, Vicente Fox still has not paid up. The Mexican president has issued no response, no installment payment, nada. ...

Trumbo's letter was dispatched just as Fox is preparing to visit the Northwest. Next week, at the invitation of Gov. Christine Gregoire, he'll stop briefly in Yakima before coming to Seattle.

Read the rest. Discuss.

  • (Show?)

    Trumbo sounds positively flabbergasted that Fox didn't answer his letter. :rolleyes: Why stop at "illegal" aliens? Legal ones don't belong to the US either, theoretically. Heck, how about sending a bill to California?

  • V.Fox (but not really) (unverified)

    Hola. Como esta?

    Mexico will proudly pay the $300,000 due to our friends in the United States. After all, fair is fair.

    We will also expect payment in back pay for all the workers we've sent you. You know... the difference between your minimum wage and the wages you actually paid. Also, we'll expect reimbursements for the "taxes" that unsrupulous landowners "withheld" from paychecks that were never actually paid in taxes.

    As soon as we receive reimbursement for the detox costs for all of the San Diego State students and spring break rowdies that come down to Mexico, I'm sure we can work out a proper payment arrangement.

    Just deduct the $300,000 from everything you owe Mexico. ... (And make the check out to "CASH," if you would.)


  • (Show?)

    Ding! That's the comment of the day!

  • (Show?)

    I wonder why he doesn't send the bill to George W Bush. After all, it's the failure of the border patrol that caused it.

  • (Show?)

    Bernie Guisto, one sheriff to another:

    "At least you've got somewhere to put em, pal."

  • TK (unverified)

    Actually, the Umatilla sheriff is probably salivating over Bernie's empty jail, still waiting for its maiden voyage.

  • Aaron V. (unverified)

    Looks like the sheriff is an equal-opportunity offender:

    "The reason why Hispanics come here is because white people are too damn lazy to bend down and do real work. It's a fact."

    And I don't know how much undocumented immigrants actually tax Umatilla County - he said that "9 to 15" jail beds were taken by undocumented immigrants, out of 135, and that the jail has capacity for 252, but staff for 135.

    Looks like there are money problems in the county, and the sheriff is grandstanding...

  • Ben Dover (unverified)

    Of course, everyone knows Umatilla County will never collect a penny of this money from Mexico, but this gesture does help shine more light on the issue of the financial cost to our society the illegals force upon us. The jail costs are only the tip of the iceberg however, as there are costs to the victims of their crimes of violence, drugs and drunken driving.
    Anyone who argues that America needs illegal immigrants to provide a low cost labor force to agriculture and manufacturing is ignoring the hidden costs to our society that follows them here. So, the greedy corporate bosses who encourage the illegal invasion by millions of these laborers by providing them with jobs at low wages is really, in net effect, costing the rest of us in untold extra taxes and needless suffering from the crimes many of them commit.
    I won't believe out government is serious about reversing the damage to our citizens until I see frequent raids on large companies that employ illegals and heavy fines against those who knowingly employ or facilitate them by aiding and abetting these criminals.

  • TK (unverified)

    Naturalized Americans won't do a lot of that backbreaking work because it doesn't pay a decent wage, often sub-minimum wage. There are plumbers who have to slide around in crawlspaces and siphon sh*t for a living, but there are plenty of Anglos who do it because it pays a family wage. Thank God for unions... but construction trades are next in line for pro-corporation 'reforms' on wages and safty restrictions.

    We've been nickel and dimed to the point where we've lost perspective on what jobs should really pay. When Bush tells us, "They do the jobs that we won't", he really means, "They do the jobs that the pro-business lobby has worked to make cheap".

  • (Show?)

    you can't talk about the costs of undocumented workers, unless you also review the hundreds of millions of dollars in all kinds of taxes they pay. OCPP has a good rundown on the contributions of undocumented immigrants to Oregon's coffers and economy.

  • Ben Dover (unverified)

    C'mon, the illegals don't pay much in payroll taxes. They use false SSN's and don't file taxes. They declare the highest number of dependents they can so little is taken out of their paychecks. Then, there are those who work for cash. These workers pay zero payroll taxes. Also, a lot of money made by the illegals is sent home to Mexico. They buy very little here and so contribute only slightly to our economy. Take off the rose-colored glasses and see this invasion for what it is.

  • (Show?)

    The letter is ballsy on the part of the sheriff. In terms of collecting it there is not a chance in the world it will happen.

  • TK (unverified)

    Ben, I hope you're not republican. If so, you may want to tell your party not to talk tough on immigration (with their hint of racism as wink to the extreme base), then turn around make the system more pourous (as a wink and a nod to the pro-business lobby and corporations) when no one is looking. Ultimately, they want a surplus of cheap labor AND they want to rapidly expand our consumer market. Go to the Wal-Mart in Woodburn or Troutdale and tell me immigrants aren't going apesh*t for the 'american dream'. It's too bad the glut of cheap prepackaged junk food there is giving everyone the wrong idea of what that dream used to be...

    I do agree we need to slow this train down though...

  • (Show?)

    Ben: C'mon, you're wrong.

    The labor of undocumented workers is crucial to certain industries. They purchase products and services in Oregon with the roughly $2 billion in income they earn annually. Finally, they are taxpayers, contributing millions of dollars annually to Oregon’s tax base and to the federal Social Security and Medicare systems. These taxes paid by undocumented workers total about $137 million to $160 million annually. Taxes paid by Oregon employers on behalf of undocumented workers total about $100 million to $117 million annually.

  • Aaron V. (unverified)

    Ben Dover (yeah, right)....if you agree that undocumented immigrants shouldn't be working, then don't you also believe that employers who employ them should be punished? (And not with a paltry fine....perhaps seizure of the "savings" they gained by employing undocumented workers?)

    Even if the undocumented worker is being paid in cash, it still gets spent. If it gets sent to Mexico, Western Union and its agents get a cut. And it might just go back to American agribusiness if the worker's family buys food - the reason so many Mexicans are coming to the United States is because subsidized agribusiness sells to Mexico at lower prices than local Mexican farmers. That's capitalism and NAFTA at work, baby.

    And if an undocumented (or legal) worker uses a fake SSN, the taxes still get taken out. Payroll taxes have no personal or dependent exemption, and the worker may not be in the United States to collect Social Security and Medicare benefits. The IRS has also been alerted to questionable use of the Earned Income Tax Credit - it's certainly easier to go after phantom children and poor people gaming the system than corporations trying to bend the Internal Revenue Code until it screams.


  • proud liberal (unverified)

    the payroll taxes fall somewhere in the range of 7.1% and CANNOT be avoided through fake ssn usage. unless an employer decides not to deduct and in turn not to pay these payroll taxes they will be taken out of a paycheck but then they are only digging deep hole deeper.

    in the last week i saw where the irs collected $6.7 BILLION in taxes it cannot assoicate to valid ssn. i may be out on a limb here but a few hundred thousand 'illegal' workers in the pacific northwest probably buy enough groceries, gas, and housing to employee more than a couple of legal americans.

  • John N. (unverified)

    I find it ironic that xenophobes like "Ben Dover" don't seem to have mastered the English language that is prevalent in our country. "Illegal" is an adjective, not a noun. Even most first generation immigrants know their English grammar better than that.

  • NNW (unverified)

    Can't we just build a wall, not one unlike that of the Berlin Wall, O, wait, that's happening! How can we deny what we have become?

  • Steve (unverified)

    "you can't talk about the costs of undocumented workers, unless you also review the hundreds of millions of dollars in all kinds of taxes they pay."

    I beg your pardon. First, if they do pay taxes, second if they do not use OHP or send their kids to school (@$10K per head) which would pretty quickly wipe out any taxes tehy do pay at min wage or less.

  • Ben Dover (unverified)

    What a shame there seem to be so many soft-headed U.S. citizens who don't realize the harm 20 million or so illegal immigrants are doing to our economy. By the very fact they are willing to work for poverty level wages, they are busting unions and destroying family wage incomes.

    And, I don't for a minute believe the exaggerated claims of the OCPP or any other "guesstimate" source. Nobody really knows how much tax is paid by illegals.

    Bush and his good buddy Vincente Fox have a lot of people fooled by their rhetoric. I'm not one of them.

  • Ed (unverified)

    This thread is running at CNN as well, and it was posted on Monday!

    Why is Blue Oregon even running this piece in this context? This isn't a progressive dialogue.

  • (Show?)

    20 million? We're talking 11 or 12 by almost all estimates, up to 40% of whom aren't even border jumpers but visa overstayers.

    What busts unions and family wage incomes aren't the workers, it's the companies willing to look the other way to undocumented labor, and take advantage of the opportunity.

    Ben, you got me. A third party source whose methodology is published along with the conclusion (which I guess you didn't read) has no weight, whereas your speculative framing of reality that doesn't even have an anecdotal account to go with it, is 100% accurate. Sorry to bother you.

    I'll be the first to admit that I like Bush's earned citizenship idea. I hate the guest workers and the Guard and the wall and the felonizing, but giving undocumenteds a fair chance to go legal is the smart thing to do, if you don't have the balls to get real with construction contractors and agribusiness.

    Telling 12 million people and their families to get the hell out is not a practical, thoughtful solution. If we're not going to fire them, let's get them on the books and out from under the table. It's ironic that right wingers talk about the refused loyalty to the US, but actively work to deny them the government's half of the bargain--citizenship. Recognize reality and move forward with a practical solution. And that's a progressive value, IMO.

  • Ben Dover (unverified)


    Of course it is unrealistic to attempt to forcibly deport millions of illegal immigrants, but we can radically reduce the attraction that brings them here. Huge fines to employers that knowingly hire them, regular INS raids and inspections of businesses and a cutoff of all public services to illegals.

    Giving illegal immigrants a fast-track to citizenship is not only unfair to those anxiously waiting in line to the legal process, but it also encourages more illegals to invade our country in the hopes they too might obtain amnesty.

    Perhaps when the day comes enough people lose their jobs to illegals, America will wake up to the threat to our economy this insidious problem poses.

  • gohomepedro (unverified)
    <hr/> <hr/>

    The guest worker/amnesty supporters have done a good job of making their ideas seem reasonable. Don't believe them for a moment. Every justification put forward for the plan is pure misinformation. The following is a list of them with corrections. Claim: It is not amnesty to give temporary legal status to illegal aliens is not amnesty. Amnesty is permanent status. Correction: Webster's defines amnesty as "a general pardon of offenses against a government." By this definition, any way you slice it, legal status for illegals is a pardon of offenses. The definition says nothing about the duration of the pardon In point of fact, however, this amnesty goes far beyond pardon to reward the offense. The violator not only pays no penalty, but is allowed to keep reaping the benefits of his presence here. Rewarding bad behavior simply encourages more of it. Perfect evidences are the surges of more illegal immigration after each of the amnesties during the past 19 years.

    Claim: It won't be amnesty if it's "earned legalization," that is the person receiving it will have to prove good character while continuing to work and perhaps pay a fine of $1,000, or so. Correction: People who have broken our laws have already proven their character, and letting them continue doing what they're already doing is hardly a penalty. A fine of $1,000 is a meaningless slap on the wrist, a price much less than illegals often pay smugglers to enter our country in the first place. This piddling sum would show the world how little we value our laws, our country and our citizenship. Yes, citizenship-because many or most of the guest workers would remain and eventually become citizens. Read on.

    Claim: We will let legalized aliens stay as guest workers and fill jobs for fixed terms, then they will have to go home. Correction: The assurance amnestied guest workers will go home is totally unfounded. One reason is that when the time comes for them to return, immigration advocates will say they have become part of their communities, it would be "inhumane" to make them return. This often has happened in the past when the time came for foreigners given temporary residence to go back. Further complicating matters is the misinterpretation of the 14th Amendment which gives citizenship to anyone born on your soil. Guest worker parents of citizen children born here, would claim the right to remain with their children.

    To get an idea of how a guest worker program might work, we might examine the existing H1-B program which admits foreigners to take U.S. jobs, commonly in high-tech. Supposedly, the program protects the opportunities and wages of U.S. workers (it doesn't), and supposedly the foreign workers are here temporarily, whereas in fact, a majority figure some way to remain permanently.

    Even if we decided to make guest workers go back, we don't have the means to do it. Presently, we have only 2,000 federal immigration officers to police our entire interior. Presently this undermanned force cannot locate the 400,000 foreigners served deportation notices, including 80,000 convicted of serious crimes. The Bush administration does not propose to add more federal in significant numbers, nor does it support legislation to encourage state and local police to assist enforcement. These positions reveal the administration's utter insincerity in claiming that guest workers will go home.

    Claim: We desperately need foreign workers. Correction: Why do we need them when we have an unemployment rate significantly higher that the official rate of 5.5 percent when you add in people who have quit looking for work and the under-employed? Despite talk of economic recovery in recent years, we have lost a net total of more than one million private sector jobs since 2001. Even in agriculture - which allegedly requires illegal aliens - we have too many workers looking for work. In California, between two and three workers now compete for each of the state's 400,000 to 500,000 seasonal farm jobs. Given these realities, it seems incredible that the Bush administration and others now only want to give amnesty to resident illegal aliens, but also invite more guest workers from abroad on top of that!

    One curious thing. Even if we really need foreign workers, this implies no need to reward any of the ones now working here illegally. We could simply require all guest workers to apply from abroad and enter legally. So why do pro-amnesty politicians always try to link our alleged for workers with our alleged need for amnesty?

    Claim: Between 8 million and 12 million illegal aliens live in the U.S. We simply do not have the resources or the will to round up and deport that many people. Correction: We don't have to deport them all. If we begin strict enforcement efforts that make unlawful residence difficult, many illegals-over a period of time-will return home on their own, thus deporting themselves. When illegal immigration spiraled out of control in the 1950s, the Eisenhower administration moved swiftly and resolutely to deal with the problem. The Immigration and Naturalization Service apprehended 80,000 illegals in Texas and estimated that between 500,000 and 700,000 left on their own then they saw that enforcement had teeth. For more than a decade afterwards, illegal sharply subsided.

    Why does our government refuse to act decisively now, instead of toying with amnesty and guest worker plans? Simply put, many of our leaders care more about their own selfish interests, specifically those related to cheap labor and cheap votes, than they do about anything else.

  • Justin (unverified)

    Don't forget the interest on California, Texas, Arizona... for stealing them in war! Of course, I believe Spain is due some compensation, since they were the original holdees.

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