Will Oregon voters reject sanctuary status?

As with most of the left coast, elected officials in Oregon have adopted a number of “sanctuary” policies intended to defy the President’s border security policies and make it more difficult for immigration enforcement officials to do their jobs. But are these measures truly reflective of where the voters are? We’ll find out in November because a new referendum initiative aimed at repealing sanctuary laws has easily garnered enough signatures to make it onto the ballot this year. (Washington Times)


An Oregon anti-sanctuary initiative has qualified for the November ballot, raising the real possibility that one of the nation’s bluest states could become the first to repeal sanctuary status for immigrants who crossed the border illegally.

The Oregon Secretary of State’s office announced Tuesday that Initiative Petition 22 had cleared the signature threshold, registering a 95.3 percent validity rate on the 111,000 signatures submitted less than two weeks ago.

Organizers with Stop Oregon Sanctuaries needed 88,184 valid signatures to earn a slot on the ballot.

“WE DID IT!” said the campaign in a website post.

While there have been more recent laws passed to support the idea of sanctuary status, you may be surprised to learn that Oregon has actually been in this business for decades. Back in 1987, the state passed a law which isn’t all that different from some of the ones being passed in other blue states today. It reads:

No law enforcement agency of the State of Oregon or of any political subdivision of the state shall use agency moneys, equipment or personnel for the purpose of detecting or apprehending persons whose only violation of law is that they are persons of foreign citizenship present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws.”

It was a different era, and what the state legislature was doing at that time was seeking to prevent “profiling” based on race. That stemmed from a lawsuit brought by some citizens of Mexican descent who had been questioned about their immigration status in a public restaurant. At the time, Oregon wasn’t looking to prevent federal officials from doing their jobs, but rather keeping local law enforcement out of the fray unless a suspect was implicated in additional crimes.


Now that’s changed, obviously. The playing field has shifted to being one decidedly unfriendly to ICE and other immigration officials. Whether or not they can attract enough votes to pass the measure remains to be seen (and it’s highly doubtful looking at the polls), but at least the voters are being given a chance to speak out for themselves.

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