Francisco Lopez, the political director for Voz Hispana Cambio Comunitario, a group that helped organize the event described the march as beautiful.
“When we were marching down in downtown Hillsboro, people came out of the businesses, they came forward, clapping to the group.”
Hillsboro is nearly one-quarter Hispanic or Latino, as of the 2010 census.
Michael Rouches, a lieutenant with the Hillsboro police department estimated 250 people marched, although organizers said twice that many showed up.
“In my years, 20 plus years here, I’ve not seen a concerted march of this many people,” Rouches said. He reported no traffic interruption, violence or vandalism. Three counter-protesters were present, and also remained peaceful.
The state of Oregon already bans local police from enforcing federal immigration laws. But Lopez said that’s not enough.
“What other service can be provided to make sure we create that safe space for our communities?”
He wants Hillsboro to follow the lead of cities like Los Angeles, and set aside money to help community members defend themselves in immigration court.
As OPB reported last month, a Multnomah County deputy may have violated state law by communicating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement about the whereabouts of a person in the country illegally.
Lopez says that shows that the state law isn’t enough to ensure sanctuary protections. “Our concern is, how do we make sure that that will not happen?”
President Trump has threatened to pull federal funding from sanctuary cities. The Hillsboro City Council will vote on its sanctuary status March 7.