Walden votes against blocking funds to sanctuary cities

Article author: 
Gordon R. Friedman
Article publisher: 
Article date: 
Sunday, September 10, 2017
Article category: 
Oregon Issues
Article Body: 

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., joined a small group of congressional Republicans who voted last week against blocking some federal funds from states and cities that don't cooperate with immigration enforcement agents.

Oregon is a so-called sanctuary state by law, and governments of several Oregon cities, including Portland's, have symbolically designated themselves as sanctuary cities. In practice, Oregon's immigration enforcement statute bars state and local law enforcement from cooperating with immigration agents if a detainee's only apparent offense is being in the country illegally.

Walden has generally voted in favor of conservative immigration policies. The congressman "leans toward less immigration, less population growth, less foreign labor," according to his voting scorecard at NumbersUSA, a group that lobbies for less immigration.

He voted to build a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border in 2006. He's co-sponsored legislation several times that would deny automatic citizenship to U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants.

Following the Trump administration's decision last week to end DACA, which grants deportation reprieves to children of illegal immigrants, Walden expressed sympathy for young adults who may face deportation. He said Congress should find a "permanent solution" to fix the nation's immigration system.

Walden was one of eight Republicans to vote against the funds-blocking amendment Wednesday, which was sponsored by U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo. It passed, 225-195.

In a speech from the House floor, Smith described his amendment as "very straightforward" and ensures that funds "only go to cities and states that uphold federal law."

All of Oregon's congressional Democrats -- Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader -- voted against the amendment. Washington Republicans Jaime Herrera Beutler, Kathy McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse voted for the amendment but Dave Reichert joined that state's Democrats in voting against it.

The bill containing the amendment funds the U.S. Department of the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, the Forest Service, the Indian Health Service and other agencies. The full bill has yet to pass the House.