President Trump’s hard line on immigration has been met head on by policies in liberal states, which utilize sanctuary cities to protect their illegal aliens. Many would believe California likely puts up the most resistance, but there’s one state that outpaces the golden land of Hollywood and the colorful city of San Francisco: their neighboring state to the north.
The most Trump-resistant state for immigration is Oregon, where first-term Democratic Governor Kate Brown is making it her mission to build on the state’s long tradition of immigrant acceptance. While Democrats see sanctuary cities as a natural check on the federal government’s power to deport illegal aliens in distress, Republicans see them as a means of sacrificing legal citizens’ safety for political gain. Thus, Oregon has become ground zero for the national political debate surrounding Trump’s favorite policy point.
As early as 1987, Oregonian lawmakers legislated the amnesty of individuals in violation of federal immigration laws.
“No law enforcement agency of the State of Oregon or of any political subdivision of the state shall use agency moneys, equipment, or personnel for the purpose of detecting or apprehending persons whose only violation of law is that they are persons of foreign citizenship present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws,” the law states.
The Multnomah Sheriff’s Office, which governs the city of Portland, threw up their hands at requests for aid from federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, saying state and federal laws limit their purview to enforcing local violations.
“The Sheriff’s Office is not responsible for enforcing federal immigration policy. We are primarily responsible for local law enforcement,” Reese wrote in the memo. “In this role, it is vital community members feel comfortable calling 911 to report crimes and to participate as witnesses and victims in our local system, without fear of that information being shared with ICE.”
While immigrant protection has long been a tradition in the state, Oregon has redoubled its efforts since the election of Trump. Governor Katie Brown (D) signed an executive order in February that extended the aforementioned restrictions on law enforcement to all government agencies. The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners issued a resolution declaring the county a sanctuary jurisdiction, with the added assurance immigrants would be guaranteed government services in light of “recent political events” that “have continued to spur and build a climate of hatred, bigotry, and discrimination toward many in our communities.”
Legislators in the state have introduced House Bill 3464 which would prohibit “all public bodies” in the state from inquiring about a person’s immigration status.
“There is a lot of fear right now in our immigrant communities stemming from increasingly aggressive tactics by federal enforcement agencies,” Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said in a statement praising HB 3464. “This bill is a way to help make sure our communities have clear guidance so they are in compliance with state and federal law. It is imperative that we take this important step to protect the rights of all Oregonians.”
Republicans in the state are desperately trying to remind voters of the heinous crimes committed by illegal immigrants in an attempt to slow the inevitable passing of House Bill 3464.
“We need to stop calling Oregon a sanctuary state because it’s not a sanctuary at all,” Thatcher said in a statement calling on Brown to veto HB 3464. “We should be empowering law enforcement, not rapists and sex offenders. You have two choices, you either embrace the rule of law, or you embrace lawbreakers.”
But Gov. Kate Brown has higher ambitions in the Democratic Party and vetoing the bill is nowhere on her radar.
“Kate Brown is sacrificing innocent Oregonians’ safety on her election altar and I think Oregonians are starting to wake up and realize the sanctuary state Kool-aid she’s forcing on all of us is horrifically toxic,” Thatcher’s spokesman wrote to the DCNF in an email.
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