Ore­go­ni­ans want vot­ers to de­cide on sanc­tu­ary

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY VA­LERIE RICHARD­SON

There is vir­tu­ally no chance that the uber-pro­gres­sive Ore­gon leg­is­la­ture would ever re­peal the state’s old­es­tin-the-na­tion sanc­tu­ary law, which is why lo­cals wor­ried about il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion have turned to the vot­ers.

The Stop Ore­gon Sanc­tu­ar­ies cam­paign sub­mit­ted roughly 110,000 sig­na­tures last week to qual­ify an an­ti­sanc­tu­ary mea­sure for the Novem­ber bal­lot, more than the 88,000 re­quired, stun­ning lib­eral ac­tivists and lay­ing the ground­work for a land­mark bal­lot bat­tle.

“This has na­tional ram­i­fi­ca­tions, and our op­po­nents know that,” said Cyn­thia Ken­doll, pres­i­dent of Ore­go­ni­ans for Im­mi­gra­tion Re­form, which led the pe­ti­tion drive. “The thing that peo­ple don’t re­al­ize is that very sel­dom do ci­ti­zens get to vote on im­mi­gra­tion is­sues. They’re al­ways leg­is­lated upon us. And that’s par­tic­u­larly the case in Ore­gon. We never get a say.”

Ore­gon may be ahead of the game, but ef­forts to by­pass law­mak­ers and bring sanc­tu­ary re­peals be­fore the vot­ers are gain­ing in­ter­est as the num­ber of ju­ris­dic­tions adopt­ing mea­sures aimed at thwart­ing fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion law ex­plodes.

As of May, 564 states and lo­cal­i­ties had adopted sanc­tu­ary poli­cies, grow­ing by 650 per­cent dur­ing the Obama

ad­min­is­tra­tion and nearly dou­bling dur­ing Pres­i­dent Trump’s first year, ac­cord­ing to the Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Im­mi­gra­tion Re­form.

The flurry of sanc­tu­ary ac­tiv­ity has prompted a back­lash. In Cal­i­for­nia, more than a dozen lo­cal­i­ties have passed or­di­nances or res­o­lu­tions against the state law, but so far no state sanc­tu­ary mea­sure has been re­pealed.

“I think there’s go­ing to be more of a move­ment as peo­ple re­al­ize that en­force­ment of our laws is good be­cause it pro­tects the com­mu­nity,” said Shari Ren­dall, FAIR state and lo­cal di­rec­tor. “I think peo­ple are very tired of our laws not be­ing en­forced.”

One of those is Don Rosen­berg, whose son Drew was killed in a 2010 car crash in San Fran­cisco with a Hon­duran man who had en­tered the coun­try il­le­gally but was granted tem­po­rary pro­tected sta­tus.

Mr. Rosen­berg is spear­head­ing the Fight Sanc­tu­ary State cam­paign, which was cleared Tues­day to be­gin gath­er­ing sig­na­tures for a pro­posed ini­tia­tive, the Com­mu­nity Pro­tec­tion Act, to re­verse state laws on sanc­tu­ary sta­tus and driver’s li­censes for il­le­gal im­mi­grants.

The ini­tia­tive, which needs 365,880 sig­na­tures to qual­ify for the 2020 bal­lot, be­gan af­ter or­ga­niz­ers pulled a ref­er­en­dum cam­paign to re­peal Se­nate Bill 54, the 2017 law re­strict­ing state and lo­cal co­op­er­a­tion with fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties.

Fight Sanc­tu­ary State has framed the cam­paign as a bat­tle be­tween ci­ti­zens and the Democrat­con­trolled state leg­is­la­ture and gov­er­nor, in­sist­ing that “only the Com­mu­nity Pro­tec­tion Act will end sanc­tu­ary poli­cies in Cal­i­for­nia.”

“Who will save Cal­i­for­nia from il­le­gal im­mi­grant vi­o­lence?” says one so­cial me­dia post. “Not Sacra­mento! Not the courts!”

In Hum­boldt County, Cal­i­for­nia, the board of su­per­vi­sors is let­ting the vot­ers de­cide. Mem­bers agreed Tues­day to place a mea­sure on the Novem­ber bal­lot ask­ing whether the county should adopt sanc­tu­ary sta­tus for il­le­gal im­mi­grants.

A pro­posed Ne­vada ini­tia­tive to pre­vent the state and cities from im­ple­ment­ing sanc­tu­ary laws suf­fered a set­back in May when the Ne­vada Supreme Court ruled that a por­tion of the bal­lot lan­guage was “de­cep­tive and mis­lead­ing.”

The le­gal chal­lenge, brought by the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union, il­lus­trated an­other chal­lenge for pro­pos­als to re­peal sanc­tu­ary laws: They’re up against pow­er­ful foes.

Af­ter sig­na­tures were sub­mit­ted for Stop Ore­gon Sanc­tu­ar­ies, ac­tivists held press con­fer­ences in Port­land and Salem to in­tro­duce Ore­go­ni­ans United Against Pro­fil­ing, a coali­tion of more than 80 groups aimed at de­feat­ing the pro­posal, known as Ini­tia­tive Pe­ti­tion 22.

“For 30 years, Ore­gon’s sanc­tu­ary law has pro­tected Ore­go­ni­ans against un­fair racial pro­fil­ing,” An­drea Wil­liams, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Causa, said at Mon­day’s event. “Get­ting rid of this law opens the door to se­ri­ous ha­rass­ment and civil rights vi­o­la­tions of our friends, co-work­ers and fam­ily mem­bers sim­ply be­cause some­body may be per­ceived to be an un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grant.”

Ms. Ken­doll dis­puted the racial pro­fil­ing charge. “This doesn’t have any­thing to do with race in any way, shape or form, but that’s al­ways the card they play be­cause they’ve got noth­ing else,” she said.

She said she fully ex­pects to be out­spent if the mea­sure qual­i­fies — the op­po­si­tion has al­ready lined up sup­port from Nike, Columbia Sportswear and la­bor unions — but she also knows how to win a cam­paign on a shoe­string bud­get.

In 2014, her group qual­i­fied a veto ref­er­en­dum of Ore­gon’s newly en­acted law giv­ing driver cards to il­le­gal im­mi­grants. Vot­ers re­pealed the state law by 66 per­cent to 34 per­cent, even though Ms. Ken­doll said her side was out­fundraised by a mar­gin of 11-to-1.

“When we did Mea­sure 88, they were very con­fi­dent, even cocky, that they had the state sewn up,” she said. “And they just got blown away. So this time I think they’re go­ing, ‘We can’t let that hap­pen again.’”

Go­ing the ini­tia­tive route means do­ing it the hard way, she said, but or­ga­niz­ers have lit­tle choice in deep-blue Ore­gon.

“The only way to move the nee­dle at all in this state is via the ini­tia­tive process,” Ms. Ken­doll said. “It’s very grass-roots, it’s very time-con­sum­ing, but we col­lected sig­na­tures from ev­ery cor­ner of this state, and peo­ple are just fed up. They’re fed up with poli­cies that have carved out a niche, a pro­tected class of peo­ple that are here il­le­gally. Why are we do­ing that?”

As a re­sult, she said, “we have no doubt that if this qual­i­fies for the bal­lot that it will pass.”

She sus­pects that the op­po­si­tion agrees, given the ef­forts to stop the is­sue from go­ing be­fore vot­ers.

As she tells her ri­vals, “You don’t want this to get on the bal­lot. You’re fight­ing to keep it off the bal­lot. So my think­ing is, you know how it’s go­ing to turn out.”


Pro­test­ers turned out af­ter a move­ment to re­peal Ore­gon’s sanc­tu­ary sta­tus turned in enough voter sig­na­tures last week to put it within reach of hav­ing the ques­tion put to vot­ers on the Novem­ber bal­lot.

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