Important Measure 105 endorser letters

Measure 105 would restore respect for law
by Sheriff Tom Bergin
Portland Tribune, September 20, 2018

Oregon County Sheriffs supporting Measure 105
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18 Oregon sheriffs endorse Measure 105, September 23, 2018: reports in newspapers are still referring to "16 signers" of Sheriff Tom Bergin’s letter endorsing Measure 105, and ignoring the 2 Sheriffs who signed shortly after the letter was first released. There are 18 signers of the letter, representing half of Oregon's 36 counties.

Counties whose sheriffs have signed the letter are (in alphabetical order): Clatsop, Coos, Curry, Deschutes, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Klamath, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, Wheeler. The letter with all 18 signatures follows (you can also read it in PDF format).

In my third-of-a-century in law enforcement — which includes almost 14 years as sheriff of Clatsop County — the most important thing I've learned is this: Respect for the law, among citizens and noncitizens alike, is indispensable to a free society.

That's why I urge Oregonians, in November, to vote "yes" on Ballot Measure 105 and repeal the state's illegal-immigrant sanctuary statute.

The statute undermines respect for law in significant ways. It tells illegal immigrants that Oregon considers immigration-law violations so inconsequential as to be unworthy of police and sheriffs' attention. In doing so, it legitimizes those violations and encourages more. As well, the statute invites the contempt of U.S. citizens and legal residents, whom Oregon expects to abide by all laws.

Certainly, immigration-law violations are federal offenses. But they are precursors to other crimes illegal immigrants routinely commit in their efforts to conceal their illegal presence — crimes like identity theft that harm everyday Oregonians at the local level.

Such crimes are well within local police and sheriffs' purview. But Oregon's "hands off" sanctuary statute works to keep law enforcement from pursuing many of the people who commit them — for the very reason that they are here illegally. And innocent Oregonians pay the price.

Most often the common intersection with illegal immigration and alleged criminals is your county jail. This is an additional strain on the system that should not be happening in the first place. To have the ability to work with our federal partners would alleviate the inconsistency and stop the erosion and ineffectiveness of these sanctuary laws.

Mollie Tibbetts' recent murder (in Iowa) has refocused attention on the violence and heartbreak illegal-immigrant criminals can visit on Americans and their families. Tibbetts' killer "was here because our government neglected its responsibility to keep him out," writes Agnes Gibboney, whose son, Ronald Da Silva, also was murdered (in California) by an illegal immigrant. Oregon's sanctuary statute not only compounds that neglect, but issues a de facto invitation to illegal immigrants to settle in our state.

Another pro-sanctuary argument is that the statute's repeal would make illegal immigrants afraid to report crimes. Oregon state Sen. Michael Dembrow, for instance, has argued the statute is needed so if illegal immigrants "have to call the police . . . they don't have to worry about state law enforcement turning them in" to U.S. authorities for deportation.

More nonsense.

Can any sanctuary supporter cite a single instance of an illegal immigrant being deported for reporting a crime? To the very best of my knowledge, the answer is no and always has been. When people step forward to volunteer information about criminal activity, law-enforcement officers are not going to "look a gift horse in the mouth" by inquiring into their immigration status. Certainly no prosecutor I've ever known would want to deport witnesses who could help them obtain convictions.

More, when they provide information that helps prosecute criminals, illegal immigrants can qualify for federally issued nonimmigrant visas (the "S," "T," "U" and "VAWA" visas) or deferred action or parole.

Illegal immigrants, without disclosing their identities, can easily report crimes via law-enforcement agencies' anonymous telephone and online "tip lines."

Last, and most nonsensical and insulting of all to the men and women who have sworn to preserve the peace, is the assertion that sanctuary repeal would unleash a wave of profiling against Hispanics.

First, all across the state, law enforcement officers undergo formal rigorous training which includes anti-profiling training. More importantly, however, is this: People who choose to devote their lives to law enforcement are people of uncommon integrity. From their first day on the job, when they raise their right hands and take the oath, they commit themselves to treat everyone equally under the law. This commitment is at the core of their professional being and informs all their professional actions.

I can honestly say that I have never witnessed an instance of racial profiling from any of my deputies. They serve and protect all who need assistance regardless of race, origin or creed. Whatever the outcome of Ballot Measure 105, they — and law-enforcement officers everywhere throughout Oregon — will continue to do their jobs with integrity, and don't believe for a minute they won't!

In November, please join me in voting "yes" on Ballot Measure 105 to repeal the illegal-immigrant sanctuary law.


Tom Bergin is the Clatsop County sheriff.

Alse see Restore Respect for Law: Repeal Oregon's Illegal-Immigrant Sanctuary Statute, Sheriff Tom Bergin.

Oregon's sanctuary status threatens public safety and law enforcement funding
by Billy J. Williams, United States Attorney for the District of Oregon
The Oregonian, August 6, 2017

A man who successfully evaded detection and detention by immigration officials is charged with assaulting two innocent women in Portland; his alleged crimes are tragic. That he was able to commit the alleged crimes at all defies the law and insults common sense.

Let me be clear: I am addressing the problem of illegal aliens who commit criminal acts in our state. This is not about lawful alien residents or even about illegal aliens who simply come to Oregon to work. The reality is that criminals who are here illegally are being released into communities throughout the state on a daily basis. Some of these illegal aliens commit more crimes, and because of Oregon's "sanctuary" declaration, those aliens are not being arrested and prosecuted for violating federal immigration laws.

Oregon sheriffs and other law enforcement officers are caught in the middle of a highly politicized local and national debate over immigration policy. They are not to blame. Their jobs are more difficult as a result of the conflict between state and federal law.

In an effort to cure this impasse, we began meeting with federal, state and local law enforcement partners in 2015, during the previous administration, to discuss federal immigration policy. Our work continues. The goal? To reestablish our common interest in crime prevention and protecting our communities. To accomplish this, we must share information. We must communicate.

Right now, there are sheriffs who do not notify U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement when they arrest illegal aliens. Some sheriffs do not disclose basic identifying information such as booking photos, fingerprints, and addresses. Some sheriffs, even after receiving an ICE detainer, will not notify ICE of an impending release.

A narrow reading of what Oregon state law permits - especially as it pertains to information sharing - has proliferated among jurisdictions throughout the state amidst the heightened political climate surrounding immigration issues.

Some sheriffs suggest that, short of ICE agents obtaining a federal criminal arrest warrant, they do not have any legal obligation to share information or hold an individual in custody who is subject to a detainer. This requirement is inherently unreasonable as illegal aliens are frequently held for only a matter of hours. Furthermore, it is nearly impossible to obtain a federal criminal arrest warrant without basic identifying information.

Simply put, Oregon's sanctuary status declaration directly contravenes federal immigration law and threatens public safety. This has put many sheriffs in the position of choosing whether to violate state or federal law. It's an untenable position. The Department of Justice takes this issue very seriously and has begun to take steps to correct it.

Two weeks ago, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced new immigration compliance requirements for recipients of the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Programs.

The Byrne JAG grant program is the primary source of federal criminal justice funds for state and local jurisdictions and it provides millions of dollars annually for police and sheriffs in Oregon. 

Under the new compliance provisions, program participants are required to communicate with ICE, allow ICE agents access to detention facilities to meet with aliens held in custody, and provide at least 48 hours advance notice of any scheduled alien releases. As a result:
federal funding for local law enforcement in Oregon is at risk.

My fear is that if our community cannot overcome this politicized legal impasse, we'll be witness to more preventable crimes. This problem is fixable; we must stop pretending it is not.

The law enforcement community in Oregon enjoys a remarkable history of working together in multi-jurisdictional partnerships to address a host of different crimes and tackle many complex challenges. I invite community leaders and our partners in law enforcement to join us in adopting a pragmatic approach to immigration enforcement.

We need to stand up and work together for public safety. Our communities deserve leadership.

Billy J. Williams is the United States Attorney for the District of Oregon.

Western State Sheriffs Association

August 9, 2018

To Whom It May Concern;

Western State Sheriffs' Association

The Western States Sheriffs' Association represent sheriffs in sixteen states west of the Mississippi River. As Sheriffs, we take an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and our own individual state. That means that we take an oath to support the rule of law.

The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article VI), clearly states that the laws made pursuant to the U.S. Constitution take precedence over any laws enacted by any of the states.

This means that the so called "Sanctuary State" law in Oregon is in direct violation of Federal Law.

This is why we are in support of Oregon Ballot Measure 105. It corrects a flaw with current law in the state of Oregon.

Opposition to Ballot Measure 105 will tell you stories about persons where not legally in the United States but were arrested when they tried to report a crime or became the victim of a crime. However, according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform,

"There is simply no documented evidence indicating that any illegal alien has ever been deported solely as a result of reporting a crime or volunteering information to the police."

Without the rule of law, we have nothing but anarchy.
It is important that we, as Sheriffs, support initiatives that follow the rule of law.


Sheriff Ben Wolfinger

President - Western States Sheriffs' Association

Read the original WSSA endorsement of Measure 105 in pdf format.

Western State Sheriffs' Association

The Western State Sheriffs' Association includes the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.



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