Oregon should lift its sanctuary status

Letter date: 
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Letter publisher: 
East Oregonian
Letter author: 
David Burns
Letter body: 

In reference to my recent article on sanctuary cities, yes, I should have stated more clearly that Oregon is ­— sadly — a sanctuary state. I appreciate the editor pointing out that fact. Stating that, however, now gives me the opportunity to inform readers that there is a strong effort currently to reverse this status for our state.

Oregon legislators Reps. Sal Esquivel and Mike Nearman introduced HB 2921 that would require Oregon’s cities and counties to comply with federal immigration detainer requests and repeal the 1987 state law that prevents law enforcement from using resources to find or arrest illegal aliens in Oregon. This bill would also prevent cities and counties from adopting ordinances that prevent cooperation with federal immigration officials.

In essence, passage of this bill would eliminate Oregon as a sanctuary state. These two legislators tried unsuccessfully to put this bill on the last ballot but hope it will be successful for the ballot in 2018.

The Pendleton City Council should also be congratulated for soundly defeating a recent effort to make Pendleton a sanctuary city as well.

Two other bills readers may want to support include HB 2923, which would make English the official language of Oregon. If passed state agencies would only be allowed to provide services and information in English, thus saving the state a lot of money from having to print everything in Spanish. Isn’t it sad that through all these years, since the birth of the United States, the U.S. Congress has never been able to pass legislation making English our official language?

The second is HB2917, which would require state agencies and the contractors they hire to be allowed to check the status of immigrant workers to make sure they are legal U.S. citizens. As a former board member of The League of Oregon Cities, I tried to get that body to pass a similar motion that would require the league to hire only firms and businesses owned by U.S. citizens.

My motion was soundly defeated, and I received a lot of criticism for even daring to offer it. However, I still believe it was the right thing to do. As a former Oregon contractor, I have seen first hand the illegal businesses that work here in Oregon without liability insurance and legal contractor status who are able to undercut legitimate business who play by the rules.