Housing Discrimination

The presentation by Zoeann Olson, the executive director at Intermountain Fair Housing Council, Inc, covers housing rights, what constitutes discrimination, and where to go for help.

With the tight housing market and rising rents, it is hard to find an affordable place to live. If landlords are discriminating against refugees and other immigrants, it is much harder to find housing, if you see anyone get discriminated, contact Equal Justice Committee for an advice.

Posted by vs_naho in Meeting Notes
What the collapse of Toys R Us can tell us about immigration

What the collapse of Toys R Us can tell us about immigration

Toys R Us, which once was America’s largest toy store, has gone out of business for a number of reasons. Competition from online retailers and massive company debt certainly played a large part. However, the company’s last annual report also attributed its financial troubles to a declining customer base. The company noted that most of its end customers were children and that declining birth rates “could have a material adverse effect on our operating results.” That rings true.

America’s birth rate is declining and our population is aging. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the U.S. birth rate declined from 30 live births per 1,000 residents in 1909 to 12.2 in 2016, which was the lowest rate on record. On the other hand, the Census Bureau projects that by 2035 “older adults will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history.”

Our aging population bodes ill for the Medicare and Social Security programs. The trustees of those programs estimate that Medicare will run out of money in 2029 and Social Security will become insolvent in 2034. The Labor Department says there were five workers for every Social Security recipient in 1960, but there will only be two workers for each recipient in 2035.

So, what can we do to avert disaster with these essential programs? Everyone knows it is necessary to make adjustments to funding mechanisms to shore up both programs and perhaps Congress will get the courage to do that one of these days. But, there is one thing we can do in the near term to make the situation better or keep it from getting worse. Namely, we can and should maintain our proud place in the world as a nation of immigrants.

The United States admits around one million immigrants into the country each year. In fiscal year 2016 the number was slightly less than 1.2 million. The President has indicated a desire to cut that number in half. Congressman Raul Labrador has signed onto legislation that would cut it by over a fourth. Reducing the admissions would be a big mistake. Immigration brings a much-needed injection of younger people into this country.

Those who come here now as immigrants share much with our immigrant ancestors–an entrepreneurial spirit, a desire to educate their children, and a dedication to the American dream. They start businesses at twice the rate of nonimmigrants. These are people who add to the fabric of America, people like Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder of Chobani, and Sanjay Mehrotra, the CEO of Micron. They bring fresh blood, ambition and innovation to our country. We need these folks to move our country forward.

We need, also, to keep those undocumented workers who contribute to the country by being the backbone of our agricultural, construction, and hospitality industries. Comprehensive immigration reform should be passed to give them legal status. For instance, Idaho’s dairy industry, which produces about $10 billion in annual direct sales, relies primarily on immigrant laborers, the majority of whom are undocumented. Other industries have come to heavily rely on those without documentation. Workers who are raising children, living peacefully, and contributing to society should not have to worry about having their families ripped apart. And, the Social Security Administration estimates that undocumented immigrants pay 13 times more into the Social Security trust than they receive from it.

Immigrants starting coming to North America about 17,000 years ago, they have made this country great and they will help to keep it great if we don’t turn them away.

Posted by vs_naho in Feature
Family Law, Divorce and  Domestic Violence Basics in Idaho

Family Law, Divorce and Domestic Violence Basics in Idaho

On February 23, 2018, Boise attorneys Ashley Marelius and Lessie Brown gave an informative presentation on family law issues. The video covers the basics of divorce law, how to do your own divorce with forms from the Court Assistance Office, the basics of domestic violence laws, and how to protect against domestic violence.

Posted by vs_naho in Meeting Notes
Jim Jones To Be Honored By Idaho Humanities Council

Jim Jones To Be Honored By Idaho Humanities Council

A longtime state Attorney General and Idaho Supreme Court Justice will be honored Thursday by the Idaho Humanities Council.

When asked about his upcoming award for his career as a public servant, Jim Jones jokes that he’ll have to be on his best behavior Thursday night.

“Quite frankly I was just flabbergasted that the Idaho Humanities Council picked me, but very deeply appreciative. I guess now I have to behave, to not make it appear they made a mistake,” jokes Jones.


Jones was born in Eden, Idaho and went to Valley High School. He got a law degree, served in the Army and worked for Senator Len B. Jordan in the 1970s. He eventually ran for Attorney General in 1982 and later served on the Idaho Supreme Court.


Now he’s retired and spends some of his time advocating for refugees — a passion he’s had since he served in the Army during the Vietnam War.

He says when he was in Vietnam in 1968 and ’69 with the Army, he worked closely with Vietnamese refugees and trusted his life to them. That experience sparked his later work with refugees coming to Idaho.

He plans to use the $1,000 award to help create a free legal aid program for refugees. It will give refugees free legal help and offer classes to acquaint newcomers to how U.S. laws work and what their rights are.

“There are a lot of things people from a different culture don’t understand and what we’re hoping to do is smooth their transition into the American and Idaho societies,” says Jones.

The Humanities Council will toast, and roast, Jones Thursday as he receives their award for “Outstanding Achievement in the Humanities.”

Click here for the  original story.


Posted by vs_naho in Feature