Gov. Brown expands protections for Oregon immigrants

"It is my duty to uphold the civil and human rights of all who call Oregon home"

Gov. Kate Brown signed an executive order aimed at expanding protections for immigrants in Oregon, February 2, 2017. (KOIN)

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — Governor Brown signed an executive order Thursday as part of a series of actions aimed at protecting Oregonians in the wake of President Donald Trump’s travel ban affecting 7 Muslim-majority nations.

Gov. Kate Brown announced steps she was asking state leaders to take in response to Trump’s travel ban, February 2, 2017. (KOIN)

The governor said during a press conference that Trump’s order “does not reflect values enshrined in the U.S. Constitution or the principles we stand for as Oregonians.”

“It is my duty to uphold the civil and human rights of all who call Oregon home,” she said.

Brown said she is “deeply disturbed” by Trump’s order that blocks certain immigrants from entering the U.S. for 90 days and stops all refugee admissions for 120 days.

She confirmed an infant from Iran “in need of life-saving surgery” at Oregon Health & Science University was prevented from entering the country.

“I find it deplorable that an infant who was supposed to come to Oregon to receive much needed life-saving care was not able to access that care,” Brown said.

The governor announced steps she and state leaders are taking to reaffirm Oregon’s commitment to being “a welcoming place for all”, including immigrants and refugees.

Brown said she has asked Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to bring legal action against the federal government over Trump’s anti-immigration measure.

She also signed an executive order that broadens a 1987 statute aimed at prohibiting law enforcement agencies from treating undocumented Oregonians as criminals.

Under Brown’s expansion, the order now applies to all state agencies.

“I want to make sure that all of our agencies understand that folks will not be targeted based on their immigration status,” Brown explained.

Brown said the executive order also forbids state agencies from participating in the creation of a registry to identify people based on religion. She explained there have been threats of a Muslim registry on the federal level, and while she’s unsure how sincere those threats are, Oregonians should be clear “we will not participate.”

Despite threats from the White House to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities and states, Brown said Oregon’s funding isn’t currently at risk.

“I am going to be following federal law and state law, and at this time that doesn’t put state resources at risk,” she explained. “I am willing to do what I need to do to protect Oregonians, to protect our culture, to protect our economy.”

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici issued the following statement in response to Brown’s order:

“I commend Governor Brown for her important and principled stand in issuing the Executive Order establishing Oregon as a state that will protect its immigrant, refugee, and religious minority residents. It is an affirmation of our core values and our respect for all Oregonians.

This Executive Order states unequivocally that Oregon will not use state or local resources to enforce federal immigration laws or federal orders that violate the constitutional rights of the residents of our state. Allowing communities to use humane and effective law enforcement strategies fosters trust and makes Oregon a safer place to live. Speaking up for immigrants, refugees, and religious minorities also recognizes the importance of the global economy and the many businesses and universities in Oregon that are connected with people and economies around the globe.

It is abhorrent that there is a national discussion about creating a religious registry, but Governor Brown’s prohibition against using state agency resources to create such a registry is commendable.

As we fight President Trump’s divisive and intolerant policies, this statement of inclusivity embraces our diverse communities, including our immigrant and refugee residents and our religious minorities. It is a proud day for Oregon, and I applaud the Governor for her action. In Congress, I will do everything in my power to pursue a comprehensive immigration policy that creates a fair system to bring millions of aspiring Americans out of the shadows so we recognize what they contribute to our country’s future. As the granddaughter of immigrants, I welcome and appreciate the diversity of NW Oregon.”