SANCTUARY CITIES AND STATES
OREGON HAS ONE OR MORE CITIES OFFERING
State of Oregon
Marion County, Oregon
Immigrant status rule rescinded
Rebekah Metzler firstname.lastname@example.org MaineToday Media State House Writer
The new governor lifts a ban on state workers making such inquiries, hoping to keep illegals from getting social services.
AUGUSTA - In one of his first acts in office, Republican Gov. Paul LePage issued an executive order Thursday allowing officials in state agencies to question people about their immigration status.
Gov. Paul LePage attends a ceremony Thursday inside the House chamber in Augusta.
LePage gives new officials a to-do list
LePage's order rescinded a previous one by Gov. John Baldacci that prohibited Maine state workers from making such inquiries.
It says the previous order "may have created the impression that Maine was a so-called 'sanctuary state' for those who are in the United States without lawful status."
LePage spokesman Dan Demeritt said the governor wanted to send a message to those who have heard it's easy for illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses and social services in Maine.
The move is being criticized by immigration rights groups, civil libertarians and other advocates.
In 2004, Baldacci prohibited state employees from asking about or disclosing a person's immigration status unless required by law to do so. His order also barred law enforcement officials from inquiring about immigration status unless they were investigating or prosecuting another crime.
In 2005, he amended the portion of the order covering law enforcement officers, allowing them to make such inquiries at any time.
LePage's order, in effect, changes only the requirements on state workers.
"The governor made welfare reform a large part of his campaign and this is something we can do in one day and it sends the message that Maine's welfare programs are targeted toward Maine people," Demeritt said. "People are fed up with the idea that people are coming to our state from elsewhere, be it Pennsylvania or anywhere. Our generosity can only go so far."
The move, which fulfills a longstanding goal of Maine's Republican base to end Maine's status as a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants, was critized by representatives from the Maine Civil Liberties Union, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland and others who said it sends a destructive anti-immigrant message.
"I can't say that it's totally unexpected based on some of the comments he made during his campaign, but nonetheless it's very disappointing that he has done that," said Marc Mutty, public affairs director for the Diocese of Portland and a member of the Maine Immigrant Rights Coalition.
Shenna Bellows, executive director of the civil liberties union and member of the rights coalition, said she hoped this was not the first step in an "anti-freedom agenda."
"It doesn't matter where you are born, we're all human and we're responsible for one another," Bellows said. "We certainly hope that this isn't a suggestion of a witch hunt, of targeting and tracking down immigrants to verify immigration status. That would certainly be very scary for new Mainers and it would have drastic safety consequences to our community while wasting precious (law enforcement) resources."
Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, the former Cumberland County sheriff, said even if there is no actual change in what law enforcement is allowed to do, LePage's first-day order sends a distinct message.
"It's going to send real ripples through the immigrant community, because this entire issue of local law enforcement and immigration policy has a real chilling effect in those families," he said. "They perceive it as we would consciously hunt them down, and the truth of the matter is (that) many of them are here lawfully as refugees."
LePage said he was simply requiring law enforcement and state workers to cooperate with federal agencies.
"If they are undocumented we want to take care of the problem," he said. "We have got many fiscal issues and I'm intending to take care of Maine first. I know of a few (illegal immigrants) right now, so we may not have many, but we have a few."
Demeritt said the administration hoped to find a fiscal savings in stricter immigration enforcement, particularly in the area of social services, but he did not have a specific estimate.
LePage also signed an executive order extending Baldacci's hiring freeze on state workers until the end of the calendar year. The order also voided any waivers authorizing hires issued by Baldacci for positions that are currently unfilled.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Oregon Revised Statutes - 2007 Edition
181.850 Enforcement of federal immigration laws.
(1) 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.
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1) of this section, a law enforcement agency may exchange information with the United States Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services and the United States Bureau of Customs and Border Protection in order to:
(a) Verify the immigration status of a person if the person is arrested for any criminal offense; or
(b) Request criminal investigation information with reference to persons named in records of the United States Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services or the United States Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.
(3) Notwithstanding subsection (1) of this section, a law enforcement agency may arrest any person who:
(a) Is charged by the United States with a criminal violation of federal immigration laws under Title II of the Immigration and Nationality Act or 18 U.S.C. 1015, 1422 to 1429 or 1505; and
(b) Is subject to arrest for the crime pursuant to a warrant of arrest issued by a federal magistrate.
(4) For purposes of subsection (1) of this section, the Bureau of Labor and Industries is not a law enforcement agency.
(5) As used in this section, “warrant of arrest” has the meaning given that term in ORS 131.005. [1987 c.467 §1; 2003 c.571 §1]
Republican State Representatives Linda Flores and Kim Thatcher have authored legislation termed "Sensible Immigration Reform Package" made up of a number of bills they hope to get passes that address various aspects of illegal immigration in Oregon. This link provides more information: An Oregon Solution to an International Problem
A year after raid, lives still on hold -
Del Monte detainees seek U.S. asylum; foes say they broke the law
By steve law, The Portland Tribune, Jun 5, 2008
Abdias Cortéz and others snared by the June 2007 immigration raid at Portland’s Fresh Del Monte produce plant call themselves “women of the bracelet,” after the electronic monitoring devices they wore during their subsequent house arrest.
A year later, they are women in limbo.
Federal authorities have deported most of the 168 illegal immigrants arrested at the North Portland vegetable- and fruit-packing plant. But many of them, especially women with children, are still in Portland awaiting federal immigration and other court hearings.
Immigration absent from campaign ads - Issue has yet to sink in to most primary battles
By Thelma Guerrero-Huston for the Statesman Journal, May 4, 2008
There's something missing from almost all of this year's political campaign ads in Oregon — the sizzling-hot immigration issue.
Two years ago, commercials targeting illegal immigrants permeated the airwaves in the state.
One of those ads was by Republican gubernatorial challenger Ron Saxton.
In his television commercials, Saxton told voters that "under (Gov.) Ted Kulongoski, Oregon gives driver's licenses to illegal aliens, who use them to get state services and even vote."
A separate ad by Saxton blamed Kulongoski for immigrants illegally migrating to the state, despite Saxton's admission that he could not say with all certainty that his cherry farm in Rickreall had not employed or housed undocumented farmworkers.
That same year, Republican candidate Mike Erickson, who was running for the 5th Congressional District seat at the time and is doing so again this election year, told constituents in an ad that "illegal aliens overwhelm our schools and jails."
A number of other candidates also inundated voters with commercials that featured the specter of undocumented people crawling over barbed-wire fences or walking or running across the U.S.-Mexico border.
A sane way to deal with illegal immigration
By John Knapp for The Oregonian April 14, 2008
I was very surprised when I read that a prominent leader of the Mormon faith, Marlin Jensen, has called on Utah's mostly Mormon legislature to "slow down, step back and carefully study and assess the implications and human cost involved" in new anti-illegal immigration legislation they are considering.
Having always viewed Mormon leadership as ultra-conservative, they have occasionally surprised me in the past with what would normally be seen as liberal viewpoints. I was gratified to hear their leadership speak out against the punishing illegal immigration legislation being drafted at the state and national level.
I have a problem with the number of illegal immigrants in this country. I wish this wasn't happening to all of us. If we pass stringent legislation meant to punish those who have migrated for survival's sake, how on earth are we to find out who they are? Do we really believe they will come forward for their public degradation? (As an anti-illegal immigration strategy, this seems to me akin to knocking over your king as the first move in a chess match). If we do find them, how are we going to expel an estimated 10 million people? Who is going to do that? Who gets to pay for it? Answers: We can't, who knows and the U.S. taxpayer.
Oregon Democrats vying for Senate downplay immigration issue
By BRAD CAIN for The Associated Press, March 29, 2008
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Illegal immigration has been a hot-button issue in many American election races this year. But the leading Democratic contenders for the U.S. Senate in Oregon have spent most of their time talking about the war in Iraq, global warming and the slumping economy.
In their first two debates, Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkley and political activist Steve Novick adopted an "on the one hand, but on the other hand" stance over how laws should treat the thousands of undocumented workers in Oregon.
It's likely a reflection of the mixed feelings that Democrats in general have about the immigration issue, one analyst says.
Immigration agents step up enforcement at NW jails
By PAT DOORIS, kgw.com, March 19, 2008
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrive in Hillsboro before dawn. They’ve come to gather up a handful of illegal immigrants who were held at the Washington County Jail and will now be processed by ICE for deportation.
This is part of a new effort by ICE to cull county jails with a zero policy for illegals.
“Up until august of 2007 there was kind of a bench mark based on criminal charges, “ said jail commander Marie Tyler, “where inmates, if they reached a certain level for a seriousness of charge then ICE would want to be contacted. "
After August, ICE wanted to know about every illegal booked into the jail.
“During that time, there’s been a really significant change,” said Tyler.
Immigrants and visitors should be subjected to sales tax
CAROL MCALICE CURRIE for the Statesman Journal, March 14, 2008
It's amazing how just about every social issue these days can be returned to the debate on illegal immigration.
Witness my Wednesday column about a local sales tax.
The expected anti-anything-except-the-government-programs-that-benefit-them types responded. However, their numbers were dwarfed by two other groups: those in favor of a local sales tax and those who saw it — I'm quoting many here — "as a way to get them illegals to pay their share."
The community discourse started with several specious arguments about Salem not being as nice a place as Ashland. The reasoning ran along lines that Salem could never hope to attract as many tony tourists as Oregon's Shakespeare capital.