Approximately 40 people representing various local activist groups including Abolish ICE PDX, Portland Tenants United, Jobs with Justice and Socialist Alternative Portland gathered on Sept. 16 in downtown Portland’s Terry Schrunk Plaza to protest a ballot measure that would abolish Oregon’s sanctuary state policy.
Since 1987, ballot measure ORS 181A.820 has prevented state and local law enforcement agents from using money, equipment or personnel to enforce federal immigration law. Oregon elected officials announced in July 2018 that a measure to repeal the law qualified for the November 2018 ballot. The measure has sparked debates across the state over issues of rule of law, public trust and racial profiling.
We are here because we feel Measure 105 is a horrible assault on immigrants’ rights in Oregon,” said Socialist Alternative member Jake Henceroth, “combined with the fact that it’s a good opportunity to talk about how our sanctuary state is already insufficient.”
Participants had originally planned to march from Schrunk Plaza to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility on SW Macadam Ave., but due to a smaller than expected turnout opted for a four-block march around Portland City Hall and Multnomah County Justice Center. Meanwhile, a detachment of Abolish ICE PDX members held a vigil in front of City Hall.
The rally’s Facebook event page features a list of demands, including the abolition of ICE, legal status and free legal representation for all United States residents, the formation of an elected police oversight board with full hiring and firing powers over police, and jobs and expanded social services for all people, regardless of citizenship status.
“Sanctuary state policies in Oregon [are] some of the very small protections the immigrants in this state have, and there are still not enough,” said local organizer and Portland State student Olivia Pace. “If those policies were to be removed, it would be absolutely devastating for the immigrant community here…When policies like this are rolled back, it completely undermines movements that fight for liberation, and it costs the lives and the safety of people in our community and across the world.”