Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers (Wikipedia)

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers (Wikipedia)

Voters in Oregon likely will have the opportunity to repeal the state’s three-decade-old sanctuary law, which prohibits the use of state and local resources to enforce federal law governing illegal entry.

The Oregon secretary of state has received 110,445 signatures for Initiative Petition 22. Only 88,184 need to be verified to put the measure on the ballot, the Daily Astorian reported.

Supporters of the initiative argue illegal immigrants cannot live in the country without breaking other laws, such as acquiring a fraudulent identity or driving without insurance.

They also point out that many state resources are deployed at the expense of Oregonians.

Cynthia Kendoll, president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform, who led the signature-gathering effort, said, according to the Astoria paper, that illegal aliens “have gone on to commit other crimes to shield the fact that they came here illegally.”

A chief opponent of the measure, Andrea Williams, executive director of Causa, a statewide immigrants rights organization, said Republicans and Democrats “came together in 1987 to pass this law for a really important reason — unfair racial profiling in our state — and to ensure local police are focused on local communities and not focused on the job of the federal government.”

Last Thursday, a federal judge upheld most of California’s new sanctuary laws, ruling the state is not required to turn over illegal immigrants and can refuse to cooperate with federal agents. Judge John A. Mendez, an appointee of President George W. Bush, also decided California has the right to perform inspections on any facility that holds illegal immigrants in the state. However, Mendez ruled California cannot order businesses not to grant access to the U.S. Border Patrol or deportation officers.

The rulings that the state is not required to cooperate with federal immigration authorities enforcing federal law are regarded as major victories for the nationwide sanctuary movement, which has regarded California’s laws as a crucial legal test, the Washington Examiner reported.

In Oregon, locally based Nike and Columbia Sportswear are among about 80 businesses in a coalition supporting the state’s sanctuary law, the Daily Astorian said.

Williams said, according to the paper, she and her allies believe Oregon’s existing sanctuary law “has been working as intended for over three decades in giving clear guidance to law enforcement officials on complicated immigration issues.”

Democratic State Sen. Michael Dembrow of Portland said the state’s sanctuary law is necessary until the federal government passes comprehensive immigration reform.

Kendoll, the Oregon paper reported, said she supports legal immigration.

“Our country should be looking out first for our citizens, our elderly, our children, our veterans and our disabled,” she said. “Should we be taking care of those people first or people who are breaking our laws and getting ahead of people who deserve those services?”

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.