Media Contact

Christina Nguyen, Communications & Storytelling Director

March 3, 2022

PORTLAND, Ore.The ACLU of Oregon issued the following statements from Policy Director Jessica Maravilla and Executive Director Sandy Chung today, in response to the Oregon Legislature’s passage of Senate Bill 1543. SB 1543 creates and funds a statewide system to provide immigrant and refugee Oregonians in deportation proceedings with the assistance of immigration legal counsel.

Jessica Maravilla, Policy Director of ACLU of Oregon: “Immigrants and refugees are a vital part of Oregon’s families and communities contributing to Oregon as loved ones, parents, friends, coworkers, community members and leaders, taxpayers, workers, consumers, and entrepreneurs. In fact, one in ten Oregonians is an immigrant or refugee, while one in nine residents is a U.S. citizen who was born in the U.S. with at least one immigrant or refugee parent.

When an immigrant or refugee is forced to participate in deportation proceedings by the federal government without legal counsel, the proceeding becomes fundamentally unfair and unjust. Without a lawyer, people are 5.5 times more likely to get deported than those with a lawyer. Deportations harm not just the individuals deported but their children, families, and communities. 

I had the privilege of working with a coalition of steadfast partner organizations, communities, allies, and supporters who worked tirelessly to get this legislation developed and passed. We focused this legislation on impacted people and communities. I’m grateful to everyone who made this legislation possible, including the elected leaders who championed it over several years, and I’m also grateful to the multi-year pilot program in Multnomah County that showed how a program like this can support the legal rights of immigrants and refugees and lessen the harms of deportations on Oregon families and communities.”

Sandy Chung, Executive Director of the ACLU of Oregon: “Protecting immigrants’ rights was one of the founding principles of the ACLU. When the government enforces immigration laws, it should act fairly, humanely, and consistently with constitutional norms of due process and equal protection.

By passing SB 1543 and supporting Oregonians in deportation proceedings with the assistance of an immigration lawyer, Oregon furthers the fundamental constitutional value of due process not just through words but with our state’s actions and resources.

This legislation did not happen overnight. The foundations for this law were set during the 2021 legislative session, and even though it was not passed last year, many organizations, communities, and people worked tirelessly and persistently to pass this legislation and were successful this year. Immigrants, we get the job done.”  

About ACLU Oregon:
The ACLU of Oregon is an affiliate of the national ACLU which has affiliates in 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. The ACLU of Oregon is a nonpartisan, nonprofit membership organization with more than 28,000 members statewide. The organization works in the courts, in the state legislature and local governments, and in communities to defend and advance our civil liberties and civil rights under the U.S. and Oregon constitutions and the laws of the United States and Oregon. 

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