Oregon report shows some local officials illegally aid immigration enforcement



(The Center Square) – An annual report in Oregon says federal officials reached out to local officials to assist in immigration enforcement. In two-dozen situations, the local agencies complied despite a state law barring them from doing so.

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced that it had received the annual Sanctuary Promise Report from the Criminal Justice Commission. The report noted that from June 1, 2022, to May 31, 2023, the Oregon Department of Justice’s (ODOJ) Sanctuary Promise systems had received 51 reports of alleged violations.

Oregon became the first state in the nation to do so 1987 when the legislature passed a law forbidding state and local police departments and government officials and organizations from assisting or sharing information to help enforcement of federal immigration laws – in effect creating a “sanctuary state.”

AG Ellen Rosenblum said, “Oregon’s Sanctuary laws keep families together and make the fabric of our state stronger. Providing transparency and documenting reports from community members makes Oregon a place where people feel they belong.”

The report reveals 25 requests for assistance were made to county jails suggesting that in almost half the violation reports, families were already fragmented, and of the 33 requests to jails and law enforcement, 13 came from a division of the Department of Homeland Security other than Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). All of those requests were denied.

Twenty-six of the 51 violation reports received by the system were about public bodies cooperation or sharing information with ICE.

The Sanctuary Promise Report is a result of the enactment of House Bill 3265 in 2021, which directed Oregon’s Department of Justice to establish a sanctuary violation reporting mechanism to track sanctuary complaints and generate a report every July. A violation constitutes an attempt by an immigration enforcing entity to get assistance in its operations or when a local entity cooperates. This is the second report tracking sanctuary violations produced for ODOJ.

“The CJC received data regarding 33 requests from federal immigration authorities asking for cooperation from Oregon public bodies. The majority of requests were from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Twenty requests were from ICE and 13 were from an office in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) other than ICE,” the report noted.

Of the 33 requests, 15 involved an immigration detainer and 9 were requests for documentation related to arrests or court proceedings.

“The majority of reports were submitted by county jails, with 24 requests for information from Oregon county or local jails. Six separate jails reported requests for cooperation, some submitting reports for multiple requests.”

Still, in the interest of preventing deportation measures by federal enforcement, “The ODOJ is committed to identifying and investigating sanctuary law violations, as they can result in the systematic removal of people from this country, dividing families, depriving people of safety, and undercutting opportunity and education. The impact of lost community members and distrust in government causes ripples throughout communities for generations, and the harm is intense, deep, and lasting.”

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