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Sanctuary?

An initiative that may head to the November ballot would reverse current immigration law

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Noah Goldberg-Jaffe of the Oregon AFL-CIO speaks at the Deschutes County Courthouse on July 9. - CHRIS MILLER
  • Chris Miller
  • Noah Goldberg-Jaffe of the Oregon AFL-CIO speaks at the Deschutes County Courthouse on July 9.
On July 9, over 20 people holding signs that read "Oregonians united against profiling" gathered near the steps of the Deschutes County Courthouse to speak out against efforts to get rid of Oregon's "sanctuary law."

Deschutes District Attorney John Hummel, Noah Goldberg-Jaffe of the Oregon AFL-CIO, Bend Lutheran minister Erika Spaet and Rural Organizing Project board member, Josefina Riggs all spoke out against initiative petition 22. IP22 would repeal the 1987 law forbidding state agencies, including law enforcement, from using state resources or personnel to detect or apprehend persons in violation of federal immigration law, according to the Secretary of State's complete text of the initiative.  

Three Republican members of the Oregon House, Sal Esquivel (R-Medford), Mike Nearman (R-Independence) and Greg Barreto, (R-Grove) filed the proposal with the Secretary of State's office on April 25, 2017, according to Ballotpedia. Oregon law required 88,184 valid signatures by July 6 to get on the November ballot. According to proponents of the initiative, the Secretary of State's office received 105,000 signatures on July 5.  



Hummel said the current law provides clear guidance to local law enforcement officials on complex immigration issues. He said the law authorizes police to arrest undocumented immigrants when they commit crimes unrelated to their immigration status. It also authorizes local police to hold undocumented immigrants and turn them over to immigration officials if federal officials obtain a warrant issued by a judge, Hummel said.  

"The current law also prohibits the unfair targeting, interrogating and detaining of Oregonians simply because they are perceived to be undocumented," Hummel said. "Oregon law has worked well for 30-plus years and has been a model for the nation on how to balance liberty, justice and safety," Hummel said. "But then along comes a group of people who want to throw out Oregon's 30-year law and instead have our local police officers act as federal immigrations agents. This will result in a less safe Deschutes County."   

According to Ballotpedia, three groups are in support of IP22. Oregonians for Immigration Reform, Stop Oregon Sanctuaries and the Repeal Oregon Sanctuary Law Committee. According to a story on Oregonlive, U.S. Inc., a white nationalist group that advocates for curtailing immigration, donated $3,000 to the campaign arm for Oregonians for Immigration Reform, which has donated $7,500 to the Repeal Oregon Sanctuary Law Committee in 2017, Oregonlive said.  

John Tanton, a retired ophthalmologist from Michigan, started U.S. Inc., according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. SPLC calls Tanton the "racist architect of the modern anti-immigration movement."

While he was not in attendance, Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson said July 10, "The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office maintains a good working relationship with many federal law enforcement agencies, including Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). DCSO does not have the authority to enforce federal law, nor do we seek out information about individuals who are in this country illegally. If a person is arrested and lodged in the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Adult Jail, we will continue to share information with other state and federal agencies to the extent allowed under federal and state law."

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