Attorney General Jeff Sessions does not care about Oregon values. Sessions came to Portland today to spread more of the racist, fear-mongering that we have come to expect from the Trump administration.
Sanctuary laws make communities safer by ensuring that everyone feels safe reporting crimes and cooperating with law enforcement. Public safety depends on trust. Transforming local law enforcement into immigration agents drives a dangerous wedge between police and the communities they seek to serve. People are scared to report crimes, send their kids to school, or seek medical services.
For 30 years Oregon law has made it clear that state and local law enforcement are not to use their resources for federal immigration enforcement. This law was passed to end the systemic harassment of people in our state based on their skin color or religion.
Oregonians are under no obligation to lend our scarce resources to federal deportation efforts. President Trump and Attorney General Sessions simply cannot make states and cities sign up for their deportation force. In fact, a federal court ruled last week that they were out of bounds with their threats to defund sanctuary cities. Reeling from his embarrassing loss, Sessions is out to drum up fears and anxieties.
The White House wants to force our local law enforcement to act against the best interests of Oregonians. Just yesterday, we showed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is still making arrests at courthouses in Oregon, despite repeated calls to stop. While faith leaders held a vigil to protest courthouse arrests, ICE tried to arrest someone. Undercover agents racially profiled a man, surrounded him, and asked him his citizenship status. He is a citizen and was deeply disturbed by ICE’s actions.
Oregon officials should stick with their decisions to do what is best for the safety of their communities. The ACLU of Oregon will continue to stand with them to defend those lawful choices.