By Nolan Wironen | The Broadside (Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Center of Immigration Studies show that since 1987, Oregon has been strict on what information local authorities are allowed to share with the federal government regarding immigration. Oregon is one of six states still considered to be a sanctuary state, meaning that as a state, Oregon will take in illegal aliens and confine information to the federal government seeking out illegal information.
On Jan. 24, theU.S. Department of Justice threatened Oregon and the other sanctuary states with subpoena. Just before this threat on states like Oregon, the DOJ announced it would be asking 23 states (including Oregon) for documents on immigration in their jurisdictions to ensure they aren’t withholding information from federal immigration authorities.
Jon Adler, director of the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance, wrote in regard to this request, “The department fully anticipates your complete cooperation in this matter,” Adler wrote. “Should you fail to respond in a complete and timely manner, the department will subpoena these documents…”
The document the DOJ is referring to in this quote is the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant funding awarded to Oregon in 2016 as well as the eligibility of Oregon’s federal aid.
This grant Oregon receives every two years adds up to roughly $4 million. Adler stated that this grant and other federal aid have certain conditions that the state must meet to receive the money, and that certain policies Oregon, to create a sanctuary state is in violation of some of these conditions.
In response to this talk of subpoena, Gov. Kate Brown defended of the state’s sanctuary laws,“Oregon will not be bullied by a Trump Administration that is focused on dividing our country,” Brown said in a statement during the meeting with the DOJ. “Oregon’s laws are in place to uphold the civil rights of all Oregonians, and the federal government cannot, under the U.S. Constitution, force state law enforcement officers to implement the policies of this administration.” Following this exchange between Gov. Brown and Alder, the DOJ concluded with giving Oregon until Feb. 23 to release full documents to federal authorities on immigration in the state or it will subpoena the grant and federal aid.
The citizens of Oregon have been split the past week in what they want to do about the DOJ’s statement. Areas like Portland and Eugene have been showing support for Brown’s decision to speak out against the DOJ and proclaim the intentions of holding up the laws in place.
Part of the state has been thinking quite the opposite though, fearing the repercussions of losing the grant and federal aid. Those opposed to Brown’s decision have filed Initiative Petition 22 with the Secretary of State’s Elections Division, to remove the sanctuary laws in Oregon.