PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Both Portland and Beaverton declared themselves to be sanctuary cities and both say any federal money lost is worth maintaining the values of diversity and safety within the community.
As a sanctuary city, Beaverton police will not enforce federal law and won’t deport people for simply being in the US illegally.
Councilor Lacey Beaty told KOIN 6 News many residents would live in fear that local law enforcement would target them for deportation and would be less apt to report a crime.
“(Beaverton) is the safest city in the Northwest and keeping that designation is incredibly important,” Beaty said.
Politicians in New York, Seattle and other “sanctuary cities” that protect immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally declared Wednesday they won’t be intimidated by a move by President Donald Trump to cut off millions in federal funding to such communities.
Residents were scared, she said, “and not necessarily because they were illegal, but because of their skin color. And how are we going to differentiate between a Latino that is here legally and a Latino who is here illegally?”
Being a sanctuary city comes at a cost. Portland would lose 1.3% of its budget from federal grants. Beaverton would lose $1.6 million, but Beaty said it’s less than 1% of the Beaverton budget.
“Some of the money is in areas that (President Donald) Trump already said he’s not going to fund — EPA, domestic violence for women,” Beaty said. “So we wouldn’t essentially have all that money goingo forward anyway.”
There are other concerns with Trump’s policy.
Greg Woodhead, a volunteer at IRCO — the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization — has worked with refugees for more than 3 years.
“Potentially over the next few days he could clamp down on bringing refugees from certain countries,” Woodhead told KOIN 6 News.
He disagrees with that policy and cites the fact most refugees just want a chance to escape terror.
“I just really think it dampens the diversity of our country,” he said. “The US is an inclusive and progressive diverse place and he’s trying to make it more homogenous.”
The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and other county officials held a news conference on Wednesday to assure residents they will also be shielded.
“We don’t use our resources or personnel to enforce federal immigration law,” said Sheriff Mike Reese. “It is vital to our mission of community safety that members of this community feel comfortable in calling 911 to report crimes without fear of local law enforcement enforcing ICE detainers.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.