Oregon Measure 105 — Repeals law limiting use of state/local law enforcement resources to enforce federal immigration laws.
Oct. 24, 2018 — One of the most discussed measures on the Nov. 6 ballot is Measure 105, which would repeal Oregon Revised Statute 181a.820, known as the “Sanctuary State” law, which was passed in 1987. The intent of the original legislation was to address racial profiling of people of color by local, state and federal authorities. The law significantly constrained the methods and resources that law enforcement could use to determine an immigrant’s residency status.
Measure 105 would allow authorities to use all methods at their disposal to detect, pursue and prosecute all illegal immigrants in the state.
Measure 105 was placed on the ballot after three Republican members of the Oregon House of Representatives, Sal Esquivel, Mike Nearman and Greg Barretto, filed the proposal with the Secretary of State’s office in April 2017.
“It’s time that Oregon complies with federal law, like it should have in the first place,” Esquivel said when introducing the measure. “If you want to become an American, become an American. If you want to come here for economic advantages and do it illegally, then I don’t think you should belong here.”
Measure 105 would allow any law enforcement agency to use agency funds, personnel and equipment to detect and apprehend people whose only violation of the law is a violation of federal immigration law.
Jim Ludwick, communications director for Oregonians for Immigration Reform, one of the main financial supporters of 105 said, “We’re seeing right now this big hubbub about the issue of children being separated from their parents when they cross the border illegally. Well, any time somebody breaks the law and they’re incarcerated, they’re always separated from their children.”
Oregon State Rep. and gubernatorial candidate Knute Buehler supports Measure 105 and released a statement explaining that support.
“I see it as way to remove barriers between local and state law enforcement communicating and cooperating with federal officials to keep Oregonians safe. It’s regrettable that this measure is even needed,” Buehler said. “I’m voting for Measure 105. I’m not campaigning for it, it’s not something I pushed for to be on the ballot. But, you know, there needs to be clarity with regard to our immigration laws.”
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is firmly opposed to Measure 105.
“I feel very strongly that Oregonians believe in fairness — in making sure that the statutes that we have in place that prohibit racial profiling for the last 30 years have been effective,” Brown said when asked about her stance in July. “I believe very strongly, and I know Oregonians agree, that folks want to make sure that their neighbors are safe and feel included in their communities. And certainly, should folks commit a crime, they should be held accountable.”
Patrick Starnes, Independent Party candidate for governor, is also opposed to Measure 105, but for different reasons than Brown.
“I used to be neutral,” Starnes said. “Then I found out a lot of the money was from out of state.”
Starnes went on to mention his opposition to outside interest groups like the Washington, D.C., based advocacy group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which has sent $150,000 to affiliated groups in Oregon to promote passage of Measure 105.
Media outlets and the Southern Poverty Law Center have shown that FAIR has financial ties with white supremacist and other hate groups.
Social justice advocates are firmly opposed to the passage of 105, believing it will reintroduce the unjustified targeting of people of color by law enforcement authorities.
Ramon Ramirez, a leader for Oregon civil rights, is opposed to Measure 105, based on his experiences prior to the passage of Statute 181a.820, more than 30 years ago.
“Before Oregon had this law, I saw immigration agents, aided by local police, busting down doors and grabbing people off the street, with no way of knowing their immigration status,” Ramirez said. “My friends and neighbors, including U.S. citizens, were being harassed by local police demanding to see their papers. There was a lot of fear back then. But this sanctuary law made things a lot better.
“If Measure 105 passes, it would set Oregon back and I worry we could see an increase in profiling across the state.”
The State of Oregon Voters’ pamphlet for the Nov. 6 General Election allows supporters and those opposed to ballot measures to provide a statement detailing the reasons for their position. These position statements are presented under the heading of Arguments.
There are six statements presented that are in support of the passage of Measure 105. These statements of support are all from individuals, not organizations or affiliated groups, and three of them are from the representatives who introduced the bill.
The arguments provided for voters that are opposed to Measure 105 consists of 40 letters, most from groups or professional associations that are concerned with the negative impact passage would have on the state.
Groups that oppose Measure 105 include public health officials, district attorneys, international companies, construction and service industry leaders, religious communities and education entities, as well as the Service Employees International Union, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Democratic Party of Oregon, the Oregon Justice Center and current and former Oregon sheriffs and mayors.
The reasons for these groups’ opposition to 105 varies from social justice concerns to the need for agricultural and construction labor across the state to the belief that all people, regardless of their immigration status, deserve decent treatment and the opportunity to lead productive, safe and fulfilling lives. In all, there are statements from 170 high profile individuals or public organizations that have gone on the record, and taken a strong stand as being opposed to Measure 105.
However, just as with every measure on the ballot, the issue will be up to Oregon’s voters.