SALEM — A pro-immigrant rally set for Saturday, Jan. 14, at the Oregon Capitol could draw several hundred demonstrators opposed to President-elect Donald Trump's positions on immigration.
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader and several state lawmakers are scheduled to participate in the rally from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the steps of the Capitol.
As of Wednesday, Jan. 11, more than 500 people had indicated they plan to attend and 2,000 had expressed interest on the event's Facebook page.
The rally is one of 50 "National Day of Action Events Against Trump Policies," according to a news release by the One Oregon coalition.
Trump has said that he will seek to deport millions of undocumented immigrants from the country, end executive orders by President Obama that shield certain illegal immigrants from deportation, and start a Muslim registry.
The coalition is "deeply concerned about the impact this will have on immigrant and refugee communities, who are integral to Oregon's economy and future," said Diane Goodwin, a spokeswoman for Basic Rights Oregon, a member of One Oregon.
One of Obama's executive orders, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, protects from deportation undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. Young people who are eligible must apply for the program every two years, receive a work permit and may attend college.
"There are more than 700,000 individuals nationally and about 15,000 in Oregon whose lives are at stake, whose ability to continue their education and their career is at stake based on what President-elect Trump does," said Andrea Williams, executive director of Causa. "A lot of times, they have never been to their home country, don't know the language or have not been there for a very long time."
State lawmakers who have given their RSVP for Saturday's rally include Portland Democrats Rep. Alyssa Keny-Guyer, Sen. Michael Dembrow, Rep. Diego Hernandez, and Rep. Rob Nosse. Woodburn Democrat Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon, who became a U.S. citizen just five years ago, also plans to attend.
The One Oregon coalition of 60 organizations opposes anti-immigrant policies. Immigrant rights organizations Causa, APANO and Unite Oregon lead the group.
The coalition plans to support state legislation in 2017 aimed at reducing racial profiling during police stops, expanding Medicaid to more children and increasing affordable housing funding.
There are no known counter protests to the event. Oregonians For Immigration Reform, which frequently clashes with Causa on policy proposals, had no plans for a counter demonstration Saturday, said OFIR President Cynthia Kendoll. OFIR has scheduled a meeting the same day as the demonstration to discuss the results of the election and 2017 legislation.
Trump's immigration proposals have begun to address many of the frustrations some Americans have had with immigration policy and practices, Kendoll said.
"I think the Trump administration has nailed it when he said we need to reassess what we are doing and why and how is it benefiting the United States," Kendoll said.
She said she supports Trump's plan to end the DACA program.
"Those parents made the choice for their children to pick them up and bring them to this country," Kendoll said. "I didn't make that choice for them."
OFIR attempted to advance ballot initiatives last year that would have made English the official language of Oregon, required businesses to use a federal program to verify citizenship of employees and required proof of citizenship to vote. The initiatives ultimately were tied up in court after immigrant rights organizations and the ACLU challenged the ballot titles.
OFIR plans to offer at least four pieces of legislation next session, though Kendoll declined to disclose specifics Wednesday, Jan. 11. None are expected to gain momentum in the Democratic-controlled Legislature.
Also published in the East Oregonian