Oregon governor expands protections for immigrants

Oregon governor expands protections for immigrants
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Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) prohibited state agencies from cooperating with federal immigration officials Thursday, becoming the latest blue-state official to act against President Trump’s early moves against undocumented immigrants.

In a letter to Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum (D), Brown said she was “alarmed” at the steps taken by the Trump administration. Brown cited a recent incident in which Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested undocumented immigrants in or around Portland's Multnomah County Courthouse without seeking county or court authorization.

For the last three decades, Oregon law has blocked state and local law enforcement agencies from detaining anyone solely on the basis of an immigration violation. Brown’s order Thursday expands that ban to other state agencies outside the law enforcement community.

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“I will uphold the civil and human rights of all who call Oregon home,” Brown said Thursday. “These new policies from the White House show no regard for the values Oregonians believe in or the economic realities Oregon faces.”

In her letter to Rosenblum, Brown asked the state’s top lawyer to explore legal challenges to Trump’s executive order, which temporarily halted refugee resettlements and immigration from seven majority-Muslim nations.

“I have great faith that justice for our valued Oregonian immigrants and refugees and their families can be preserved through court action initiated by the state,” Brown wrote.

Another executive order signed by Trump prioritizes deportations for undocumented immigrants who take public benefits. Brown’s order would cover many of those seeking benefits from state agencies.

Rosenblum was one of 16 attorneys general, all Democrats, who issued a statement this week chastising the Trump administration over the executive order. Rosenblum’s top deputy, Fred Boss, said this week that the state will unveil its legal response to the order next week.

Five other states — Washington, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and Virginia — have already sued or joined lawsuits against the immigration ban. California legislators have advanced legislation that would create a statewide sanctuary policy as well.