CLATSOP COUNTY, Ore. – Sheriffs from 16 of Oregon’s 36 counties are urging Oregonians to vote “yes” on Ballot Measure 105, to repeal the state’s sanctuary status.
The Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office released a letter Monday in support of the ballot measure. Sheriff John Hanlin of Douglas County and Sheriff Craig Zanni of Coos County endorsed the letter.
In the letter, Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin said the current statute undermines respect for the law. He said immigration law violations, which are federal offenses, are “precursors to other crimes illegal immigrants routinely commit in their efforts to conceal their illegal presence – crimes, like identity theft, that harm everyday Oregonians at the local level.”
He said the current statute has put a strain on county jails and it would help to have the ability to work with federal partners to alleviate it.
Bergin also referenced the recent murder of Mollie Tibbets in Iowa. Law enforcement officials have said the man charged with killing Tibbets was in the United States illegally. He said the man, “was here because our government neglected its responsibility to keep him out.”
Currently, the Oregon sanctuary law prohibits state agencies from asking about a person’s immigration status if they have not committed another crime. It also bans state and local law enforcement from coordinating with federal immigration officials on raids and roundups.
The law has been in place since 1987, and those in favor of Oregon’s sanctuary status argue that it is necessary for public safety and to prevent racial profiling.
In the letter, Bergin responded to those claims and said immigrants can easily report crimes without having to disclose their identity or fear deportation.
When it comes to racial profiling, he said across the state officers have to undergo rigorous training, which includes anti-profiling training. Bergin said he has “never witnessed an instance of racial profiling from any of [his] deputies.”
Measure 105 will be on the ballot in the November election.