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(Photo/Katie Moum)
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 24 July 2023

SALEM, OR – Oregon was the first state in the nation to become a sanctuary state when leaders enacted a law in 1987 prohibiting state and local law enforcement and government agencies from assisting federal authorities with immigration enforcement. In 2021, the Oregon Legislature passed HB 3265, dubbed Oregon’s “Sanctuary Promise Act” – to further strengthen existing sanctuary laws. One of the mandates of the new law requires Oregon’s Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) to produce an annual Sanctuary Promise report each July 1, to track violations of Oregon’s sanctuary laws. The CJC annual Sanctuary Promise/HB 3265 report is now online in English and Spanish

Examples of violations

Examples of Sanctuary Promise violations include state or local government officials, including police, asking about, collecting, or sharing information regarding an individual’s immigration status or national origin; using state or local resources to help enforce federal immigration laws; establishing a traffic perimeter for the purpose of supporting or facilitating immigration enforcement; or granting a federal immigration authority access to an area of a state or local facility not normally open to the public.

“Oregon thrives when everyone can go to work, send their kids to school, and contribute to their communities, without fear that an interaction with local or state government will result in their deportation,” Attorney General 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. “

Report findings

Among the key findings of the just-released report:

  • 51 Sanctuary Promise reports of alleged violations were received via Oregon Department of Justice’s (ODOJ) statewide community reporting Sanctuary Promise Hotline or online reporting portal from June 1, 2022, through May 31, 2023.
  • 15 reports received did not constitute reports of sanctuary law violations or did not include enough information for the ODOJ to open an investigation. Those included general inquiries about immigration law, callers in unrelated mental health crises, and calls with limited information that prevented ODOJ follow-up. The remaining 36 reports have open state investigations into the alleged violations.
  • Most reports of attempted and alleged violations to the CJC and ODOJ respectively concerned requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Twenty-six of the 51 reports were about public bodies cooperating or sharing information with ICE.
  • Washington County was the jurisdiction most contacted by ICE, per CJC reporting data.

In addition to the reporting of and response to violations of Oregon’s sanctuary laws, the Sanctuary Promise Act also mandates that Oregon provide trauma-informed, culturally responsive support to community members via a reporting hotline. The ODOJ established the Sanctuary Promise Hotline in April 2022, which is dedicated to assisting victims, witnesses and other reporters of Sanctuary Promise violations.

Staffed by bilingual and multi-lingual hotline advocates who provide trauma-informed, culturally responsive services, interpretation is available in more than 240 languages. Hotline advocates connect callers to resources, and support them, their families, and any witnesses through an ODOJ investigation into the reported violation. Hotline staff also connect with culturally specific organizations around the state to promote and offer the hotline as a point of support for victims as well as provide professional and community presentations regarding Oregon sanctuary law.

In 2022, taff conducted 184 presentations and tabling events, completed 400 hours of outreach and connected with and trained over 10,000 community members on the protections of Oregon’s Sanctuary Promise Act. In addition, the state’s public service announcement regarding sanctuary violation reporting is expected to be released in the summer of 2023 on television, radio and social media in multiple languages.

For additional data visit the updated CJC dashboard, as well as the DOJ’s dashboard, which is available in English and Spanish.

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