Did the city go too far in assisting illegals?

Did the city go too far in assisting illegals?

PORTLAND, Ore. - Remember that immigration raid at Portland's Fresh Del Monte packing plant back in June?

While federal officials cracked down on workers who were here illegally, the City of Portland turned around and offered $20,000 in aid to the workers' families.

City officials said it was a temporary effort aimed mostly at helping innocent children, but some say the city went too far in handing out taxpayer's money.

City Commissioner Erik Sten's office handled the grant and said he not only considered it a moral obligation for taxpayers, but there was a practical side too.

"You pay one way or the other," he said. "If people end up on the street with nowhere to go, police pick them up and they end up somewhere. It causes more harm and costs more money."

Vern Cook, who is on the board of Oregonians for Immigration Reform, could not disagree more.

He said taxpayers should not get stuck paying the bill for supporting children of parents who have no legal right to be in the United States in the first place.

"This is a particular situation of homelessness where they are here illegally, so they can't hold a job legally to earn the money that they need," he said. "Whose fault is that? It's their fault."

Sten said while $20,000 is a lot of money, it is only a drop in the multi-million dollar bucket of money the city sets aside for housing assistance. He also said that if there is another immigration raid, he would offer city grant money to those workers' families too.