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Bill Expanding Oregon Sanctuary State Law Clears Legislature


One of the last bills passed in Thursday night’s legislative session is a bill that senators on both sides of the aisle repeatedly associated with Oregon’s long history as a sanctuary state.

An easy way to determine if your representative voted “yes” or “no” is by answering this simple question: Are they a Democrat or Republican?

HB 3464 — which passed along partisan lines by a 16-13 vote — authorizes public bodies to decline to disclose information about a person’s citizenship or immigration status unless required by state or federal law or other circumstances, such as when determining benefit eligibility.

The bill was a response to federal immigration raids happening statewide following the election of Donald Trump. Oregon’s “Sanctuary State” law has, for years, prohibited the use of state and local resources to enforce federal law, and many see the bill simply as an extension of that legacy.

“We ought to think deeply and thoughtfully about what we want for Oregon — whether we wanted to be a sanctuary state or whether we want to follow federal immigration policy,” said Republican Sen. Dennis Linthicum. “That’s why the federal government is in charge of immigration policy, because it impacts all 50 states in the same way.”

The bill also directs the attorney general to create policies intended to limit immigration enforcement at public schools, public health facilities, courthouses, public shelters and other public facilities. Democratic Sen. Lew Frederick urged colleagues to “move past political posturing,” saying this bill is about making people feel safe.

“What we’re talking about here is a very simple situation. That is to allow all Oregonians to have the same rights, and to not be struggling when they decide to go to school to not give their address, or tell how many parents are in their homes because they’re afraid if they do they can end up coming home and finding no parents there,” Frederick said.

The bill now heads to Gov. Kate Brown for her signature. Brown has spoken publicly in support of the bill, which was introduced at her request.

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