Why you should vote 'yes' on Measure 105

News article

As an associate attorney, Apolinar Montero-Sanchez, who penned the Sept. 23 Op-Ed (Why you should vote 'no' on Measure 105), is presumably aware of federal law, and that, as U.S. Attorney for Oregon Bill Williams stated, "Simply put, Oregon's sanctuary status declaration directly contravenes federal immigration law and threatens public safety."

Measure 105 would repeal this illegal and dangerous state policy. That alone should be sufficient reason for any law-abiding Oregonian to vote YES on Measure 105. But the reasons don't end there.

An illegal immigrant who had been deported 11 times was freed from a Portland jail earlier this year despite a detainer request from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Soon thereafter he brutally assaulted and raped two Portland women.

Another illegal immigrant in a Portland court for a DUI arrest was allowed to escape out the back door, thereby avoiding ICE agents.

Both men were protected by Oregon's sanctuary policy. Let's readily acknowledge that these are isolated cases, but they demonstrate that a sanctuary policy is designed to protect criminals from the reach of ICE.

Let's examine a couple of the 'NO' vote arguments:

'Sanctuary makes Oregon safer.' The only people for whom sanctuary makes Oregon safer are those who have violated our immigration laws and our sovereignty and (likely) have committed other crimes. According to the Oregon Department of Corrections, as of August there were nearly 1,000 criminal aliens in the Oregon State Prison System with ICE holds, 300 of whom have committed murder or rape.

'We need equal treatment under the law.' Yes - but we don't have that now. If you or I, as U.S. citizens, commit a federal crime, we're on our own. And under a law passed by the Legislature in 2017, state agencies are prohibited from asking an applicant for public benefits about his/her immigration status.

The 'NO' backers also insist that repeal of sanctuary will lead to racial profiling and a police state. Clatsop County Sheriff Thomas Bergin calls this "the most nonsensical and insulting" of the anti-105 arguments. That's one reason why fully half of Oregon's county sheriffs are supporting Measure 105.

The latest Portland State University population study concludes that Oregon is adding the population of a Salem-sized city every 2 years. Have you driven on Interstate 5 recently? Tried to find affordable housing? Seen the crowding in Oregon's classrooms? Farmland being gobbled up by development? The "tent towns" in Portland that have turned parts of that city into what has been described as a "cesspool?"

Nationwide, 55 percent of population growth between 1965 and 2015 was due to immigration. That number is projected to be as high as 88 percent by 2065. In Oregon, in-migrants (both domestic and foreign) currently account for 86 percent of population growth. Should Oregon, through its sanctuary policy, be putting out the welcome mat for people who shouldn't even be here and providing them with public services when we can't afford adequate services for some of our own citizens?

Congress has done nothing substantive to curb illegal immigration. Activist judges block attempts at enforcement. That's why citizens in some states, including Oregon, have taken matters into their own hands.

It's why Oregon voters in 2014 defied the Legislature, nearly all media outlets and 10-to-1 financial firepower to deny driver cards for illegal immigrants by a 2:1 margin. It's why Measure 105 is on the ballot.

What would happen to the "drug crisis" if there were not an ample number of illegal immigrants to expedite international drug trafficking? What would happen to the homeless population if they did not have to compete with illegal immigrants for living space and jobs at living wages?

We should welcome sustainable numbers of legal immigrants. They have indeed made this the greatest nation on earth. But it is neither America's nor Oregon's duty to accommodate all the world's dispossessed and those who have violated our laws. Oregon voters correctly recognized the difference between legal and illegal immigration in 2014. We should do so again in November: Vote YES on Measure 105 to restore the rule of law in Oregon.

Jerry Ritter, of Springfield, works on legislative issues for several statewide organizations, including Oregonians for Immigration Reform.

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