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Oregon Voters Could Repeal the Oldest Sanctuary State Law in the Nation

by Countable | 11.4.18

What the Initiative Does

Measure 105 would repeal Oregon’s sanctuary state law, which prohibits state agencies (including law enforcement) from using state resources to enforce federal immigration law.

Any law enforcement agency in the state would be allowed to agency funds, equipment, and personnel to detect and apprehend people whose only crime is a violation of federal immigration law.

In Favor

Oregon’s sanctuary state law prohibits law enforcement from cooperating with the enforcement of immigration law and jeopardizes public safety when dangerous unauthorized criminals are released from custody ― it should be repealed.


Repealing Oregon’s sanctuary law would leave the unauthorized immigrants in the state at risk of sudden deportation and hurt public safety by making them less likely to come forward to aid law enforcement investigations.


Oregon State Representative and gubernatorial candidate Knute Buehler (R-Bend) offered the following statement in support of Measure 105:

“I see it as a way to remove barriers between local and state law enforcement communicating and cooperating with federal officials to keep Oregonians safe. It’s regrettable that this measure is even needed.”

Joel Iboa of Causa, a local immigrant rights group, offered the following statement opposed to Measure 105:

“Getting rid of this law opens the door to serious harassment and civil rights violations of our friends, families, and co-workers, simply because they are perceived to be undocumented… Immigrants, including those who may be undocumented, shouldn’t have to live in fear that doing basic things like going to work or school could result... in their families being torn apart.”

Measure 105 made it to the ballot after supporters submitted roughly 100,000 valid signatures, exceeding the 88,164 required.

The Oregon legislature enacted the nation’s first sanctuary state law in 1987 with bipartisan votes of 58-1 in the House and 29-1 in the Senate in response to racial profiling of immigrants by state, local, and federal law enforcement.

The law came under increased scrutiny after an unauthorized immigrant who had previously been deported 20 times and was the subject of an outstanding federal detainer request was released from a county jail in Portland, OR and sexually assaulted two women. He was convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison for the crimes in July 2018.

— Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) / Public Domain)


Written by Countable

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