JANUARY 29, 2010
In a rare case for a state that has long offered illegal immigrants sanctuary, an appellate court in Oregon has ruled in favor of a state agency that denied an illegal alien costly public services based on her immigration status.
Oregon’s largest regulatory agency, the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS), rejected a claim to provide and illegal immigrant vocational assistance benefits after a 2005 work injury that resulted in a permanent impairment. The DCBS, which administers state workers’ compensation and occupational safety laws, still awarded the illegal alien an undisclosed award for the impairment.
However, the woman (Carmen Carreon) wanted more taxpayer-financed perks in the form of vocational assistance. The agency determined that she was ineligible for the benefit because she was not authorized to work in the United States. Carreon had the audacity to sue the DCBS for denying her the services, claiming that the agency’s director overreached by creating an eligibility requirement not granted by Oregon’s legislature.
The Oregon Court of Appeals disagreed, ruling this week that state law grants the agency’s director the authority to establish additional conditions for providing vocational assistance. Imposing a rule that requires a person to be legally authorized to work in the United States is a valid exercise of the authority granted to the director, the court said in its decision.
Public agencies seldom reject illegal immigrants in Oregon, which has a statewide sanctuary law prohibiting police agencies and local governments from using any resources to apprehend or report illegal aliens. The state’s largest city—Portland—has its own official sanctuary ordinance aside from the blanket measure.
These sorts of protections have evidently emboldened illegal immigrants who are increasingly taking legal action against government agencies for denying their “rights.” In the last few months alone, illegal aliens across the nation have sued various law enforcement agencies for violating their constitutional rights. Among them is an Ohio sheriff who helped deport a Mexican with false identification cards, a Maryland sheriff who arrested an illegal Salvadoran woman and federal agents who apprehended a group of illegal aliens in a Connecticut immigration raid.
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