Over three decades ago, in 1987, Oregon passed a law which established a clear priority for state and local law enforcement with respect to enforcement of immigration law. Oregon’s law protects against police profiling: it asserts that officers cannot arrest people based only on the suspicion that they may be in the country illegally.
Today, this law is in jeopardy. Many Oregonians are shocked to discover that Measure 105, a measure championed by white supremacists, will appear on the ballot this November. Measure 105 would eliminate this long-standing law, and permit local police around the state to squander local tax dollars to enforce federal immigration law.
The anti-immigrant measure was spearheaded by Oregonians for Immigration Reform (OFIR), as well as the Federation of Immigration Reform (FAIR), whom the Southern Poverty Law Center has classified as a hate group. In contrast to these two groups, however, immigrants’ and workers’ rights groups have been springing into action to block their efforts.
Among those jumping in to help is NWJP. On Saturday, July 28, our staff joined the No on 105 Campaign Kickoff Rally. With allied community groups we canvassed local businesses to raise awareness and to gather support to oppose this dangerous and detrimental measure. The goal was to collect 100 signatures from local businesses pledging to stand up to profiling and vote no on 105. Organized by Oregonians United Against Profiling, a coalition formed to oppose Measure 105, the event proved to be an overall success. More than a hundred volunteers packed into the Oregon AFL-CIO basement at 10 am on a Saturday morning, ready to hit the pavement. Shoulder to shoulder, united in common purpose, folks practiced canvassing techniques and role-played how to approach local businesses. The atmosphere of the room was one of promise, as speakers such as Joann Hardesty prepped canvassers with remarks, and OUAP staff passed out clipboards, water bottles, and posters to hang at each stop.
Surfing along the corner of SE 82nd Ave. & SE Powell Blvd., our staff passed out posters, engaged in lively conversation, and received a plethora of signatures (from businesses such as GenX, Cat ‘n Doggie Do’s, Cindie’s, and even Pizza Hut). After talking to over thirty businesses and running out of pledge forms, we were able to collect over ten verbal and written promises to stand with us in defeating Measure 105.
Through and through, keeping Oregon police focused on investigating crimes, and otherwise leaving immigrant communities alone, serves Oregon’s population well. Extensive research shows that cities that have sanctuary status thrive over those that do not: in sanctuary cities, crime rates are lower, the median average income is elevated, and the employment-to-population ratio is statistically higher. Local economies are strengthened when households remain intact. Our communities are better when immigrants feel safe and welcomed, and do not have to live in fear.
This November 6, 2018, remember to vote NO on Measure 105. Together, with enough feet on the ground, we can change the tides of hate and ignorance.