“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s the golden rule, and from my experience, the Oregonian way. Or at least, it’s supposed to be. A new measure up for vote, Measure 105, is threatening to take away Oregon’s status as a sanctuary state. This new measure will put that golden rule to the test.
On July 7, 1987, the bill making Oregon a sanctuary state was signed into law. The bill passed with wide support, making it through the senate and house with votes of 29-1 and 58-1, respectively.
This bill was designed to keep Oregon’s state tax money from being used for the purpose of investigating those who are suspected of being here without papers.
However, the bill also doubled as a way to prevent racial profiling, as before the bill, local police could stop or interrogate someone under “suspicion” that they may be here illegally.
Measure 105 would reverse this bill and allow for state tax money to be spent on investigating and arresting those who may be our neighbors, coworkers or even friends. In addition, it would also allow for profiling by police, which would bring worry and intimidation to those who are here legally.
According to orunited.org, the main supporters of the bill are Oregonians for Immigration Reform and Federation of Immigration Reform. Both are labeled as extremist hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
While many frame Oregon’s sanctuary state status as a “free pass” to those who are here without legal permission, this isn’t the case. Oregon’s sanctuary laws don’t protect those who are here illegally from being deported. If someone commits a crime and is found to be here illegally, they will most likely be deported.
What Oregon’s sanctuary laws do is prevent police from investigating someone purely based off suspicions. This means they are not allowed to ask random citizens to show their papers based off their skin color, as we’ve seen in other states without these sanctuary laws. The purpose of the original bill was to prevent police from stopping or interrogating people solely under the suspicion they had immigrated illegally.
The police shouldn’t act as both law enforcement and immigration and customs agents. Their main job should be tracking down and stopping crimes that have a real and direct impact on citizens safety and livelihoods, like violent crime and theft.
Even in our own capitol, Salem, crimes rates are continuing to rise. Rather than using the finite resources at their disposal to track down people who commit no other crimes than that of being undocumented, they should be using those resources to stop dangerous crimes that make our cities unsafe.
Along with reducing the amount of tax money spent on fighting these kinds of crimes, Measure 105 would also have a serious effect on the ability of police to investigate and prosecute these crimes, as many undocumented immigrants would be afraid to report crimes, call or talk to the police, and testify against criminals for fear that they themselves would be deported because of it.
In addition to the impacts it could have on our ability to fight crime, measure 105 could have significant consequences when it comes to Oregon’s economy as well.
A large portion of Oregon’s revenue and taxes comes from agriculture, and according to wweek.com, we rely heavily on immigrant labor, both legal and illegal, for farming. Fifty-six percent of the agricultural workers in Oregon are immigrants, and without them, one of Oregon’s biggest sources of revenue would likely collapse. We also rely on them heavily for our packaging and industrial operations, which again bring in huge amounts of revenue for Oregon.
With revenue comes taxes, and many of the statements that are made about undocumented workers not paying taxes are myths. According to occp.com, undocumented workers pay $81 million dollars a year in Oregon taxes, which goes to fund things such as schools and roads. In addition, theatlantic.com estimates that undocumented workers nationwide pay an estimated $13 billion a year to social security— most of which they will never see for themselves.
Whether or not you agree with undocumented immigrants being allowed to stay in Oregon, the effects of voting yes on measure 105 have a negative impact on everyone. It allows for racial profiling of those who are here legally, it diverts funds from stopping dangerous crimes, and it could have a major impact on industries and taxes both state and nation wide. A vote for 105 is a vote against Oregon.