Toolkit for an Inclusive Oregon

Written by Stephen Manning — Posted in blog on February 29, 2020

How Oregon Counties and Cities Can Welcome Immigrants and Refugees, Protect Oregon Values, and Resist the Trump Administration’s Commandeering of Local Resources for Constitutionally-risky Federal Deportation Practices.

On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump will become President of the United States. Available evidence indicates that his administration will move quickly towards detention and expulsion from the United States of millions of people on a scale that is unprecedented in this country. His vision of mass expulsion and the required legal and physical apparatus to effectuate it would cause irreparable harm to Oregon – both what Oregon is today and what it could be. The harm would drive deep wounds into Oregon’s civic life, economic life, and religious life, and leave our legal, social and family structures in tatters. Oregon can walk a different path. As Oregon has done in the past, its community and government can harness the best of our citizenry to continue the Oregon experiment built on a progressive and inclusive vision of ourselves and our neighbors.

Oregon cities, counties, and political subdivisions should enact robust “disentanglement” policies reflective of – yet independent of – ORS 181A.820 that will create important legal space for community members under threat from a Trump-based deportation regime. The act of creating that legal space – through these inclusive enactments – will allow community members – immigrant and non-immigrant alike, private and public, individual and institutional – to build new political space for an immigrant-inclusive vision of Oregon to counter and resist the harshest and constitutionally-risky enforcement experiments that will be unleashed against Oregon’s communities of color.

An immigrant-inclusive vision recognizes and values each human being who lives in the jurisdiction and calls that place home. This vision of Oregon integrates each person into Oregon’s civic community to stabilize families, encourage healthy economic activity, and promote strong democratic public institutions. When an individual calls Oregon home, promises to give unto Oregon the best he or she can in the best interests of the community, Oregon reciprocates by extending her protection.

Oregon should have no role in enforcing federal immigration law because to do so would engender political confusion and would threaten the political accountability key to our federal system by making Oregon accountable for federal immigration policy – something over which Oregon has no say or role. An Inclusive Resolution regulates the use of Oregon resources and has nothing to do with federal resources; rather, it maintains a distinction between how Oregon and the federal government may choose to use their resources. If there are objections to federal immigration policy – particularly, the deportation objectives of the Trump regime – those objections should be directed to the national government, not Oregon.

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