My Reason to Vote NO on M105

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These days the subject of racism is everywhere — whether being denied, avoided, expressed, or charged — everywhere you look. So, to talk about Ballot Measure 105, which is set to appear on our November ballots, it’s best to look not at the law as a Sanctuary Law, but as a piece of anti-racist legislation. The law was originally passed in response to a number of incidents of racial profiling and harassment. by Polk County Sheriffs Deputies over 41 years ago. According to a story by OPB, “Without showing a warrant or identifying themselves, Officer Janet Davidson and three Polk County sheriff’s deputies began interrogating [four] men about their citizenship status” back in 1977. Several similar incidents led to passage of ORS181A.820. The bill passed the Oregon House by a vote of 54–3 and the Senate by a vote of 29–1. This bill is only a controversial bill if we fail to realize that the purpose of the bill was — and still is — anti-racism.

The law was passed, not to protect immigrants from ICE, (there was no such agency) but to protect immigrants from harassment by local police. Because anti-racism is the reason that the Oregon Sanctuary State Law was originally passed, it would be racist to undo such a law. The message we need to carry to the majority of Oregonians — those who aren’t racist and those who are but won’t admit it publicly — is that we are NOT going to return to a time when this sort of race-based profiling and harassment was tolerated.

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We are the people who will risk their lives to silence an openly racist bully, the people who will subject ourselves to arrest to achieve peaceful aims, the people of privilege who must speak up if we are to preserve the Union. And we swear to protect our friends. Because Latinx are so numerous in Oregon, many people know them as friends, neighbors, and colleagues. There is no reason that people should accept a fear-based message of stranger danger. And let’s not forget immigrants from other parts of the world. Immigrants are our friends — part of the current housing shortage is the result of the lack of immigrants who used to work construction before the Great Recession.

We also demand that our communities remain as safe as they have been; law enforcement must be able to protect immigrants from crime so crime does not escalate because immigrants fear the police. Because the law only prohibits law enforcement from using our scarce resources to enforce a federal law that already hurts our communities — Latinix and Anglo alike. It does not prevent law enforcement from detaining anyone charged with a crime — it prevents (or reduces) racial profiling. But don’t take my word — here’s a list of endorsers of No on 105.
 The writer was unable to find a list of No on 105 endorsers by press time, but MultDems, Portland Association of Teachers, and other Democratic Party organizations, other unions, and many electeds and candidates have endorsed the rejection of Measure 105.