Hermiston herald. (Hermiston, Or.) 1994-current, October 17, 2018, SPECIAL 2018 ELECTION EDITION, Page A6, Image 6

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

Sanctuary law faces repeal in November
In the month following the 2016
presidential election, Selene Tor-
res-Medrano helped organize an
immigration forum at Umatilla
High School.
Torres-Medrano said the audi-
ence filled the cafeteria to hear
from local leaders on the issue,
including Umatilla County Sher-
iff Terry Rowan. She said Rowan
assured the crowd that his deputies
would not target undocumented
A 31-year-old state law prevents
state and local law enforcement
from using resources to enforce
federal immigration law if a per-
son’s only crime is their legal sta-
tus, but a measure on the Novem-
ber ballot looks to change that.
In August, Rowan signed onto
a public letter written by Clatsop
County Sheriff Tom Bergin sup-
porting Measure 105, which would
repeal Oregon’s “sanctuary state”
law. In an interview at the time, he
said his concern was not immigra-
tion status, but those who are here
illegally who are committing other
The daughter of an undocu-
mented mother, Torres-Medrano
remembers trips to the grocery
store were canceled and driving
would cease if her family suspected
U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement was in town. She said
she was disappointed when Rowan
signed onto the letter, not for her-
self, but for her family that would
be affected by Measure 105.
Oregon’s “sanctuary state” law
may prevent police from engag-
ing in immigration enforcement,
but it has several exceptions. Law
enforcement can still “exchange
information” with ICE or another
federal immigration enforce-
ment agency to verify an individ-
ual’s immigration status if they’re
Sheriff Terry Rowan, left, explains his stance on Measure 105 during a Hispanic Advisory Committee meeting at
Hermiston City Hall on Sept. 17.
arrested for a criminal offense
or request criminal investigation
They can also still arrest people
with criminal violations of federal
immigration law and execute war-
rants related to immigration crimes
issued by federal courts.
The “sanctuary state” law arose
from a 1977 incident where police
officers approached four Latino
men who were eating at a restau-
rant in Independence and interro-
gated them about their legal status.
The encounter led to a lawsuit and
10 years later, a “sanctuary state”
law that passed with overwhelming
bipartisan support.
Measure 105 would repeal the
law, potentially allowing local law
enforcement agencies across the
state to reengage in immigration
Deschutes County District Attor-
ney John Hummel and Andrea
Williams, executive director of
immigrant-advocacy organization
CAUSA, on a recent conference
call with the East Oregonian edito-
rial board to oppose Measure 105.
Williams said a repeal of the
“sanctuary state” law would revert
Oregon to the days when police
could profile Latinos if they thought
they were in the country illegally
MEASURE 30-128
— a “show me your papers” state
instead of a sanctuary.
The group referenced several
studies that show that immigrants
actually commit crimes at lower
rates compared to the native-born
population, and talked about the
potential “chilling effect” it could
have on undocumented victims and
witnesses to crimes. That’s the rea-
son Dan Primus, Umatilla County’s
district attorney, said he could not
support Measure 105.
Primus said the “sanctuary
state” law doesn’t prevent ICE from
doing operations in Oregon, nor
does it prevent local law enforce-
ment from arresting and prosecut-
ing an undocumented immigrant
who committed a crime. But he
believes it could prevent undocu-
mented residents who have been
criminal targets or have knowledge
of crimes from reporting them.
Stop Oregon Sanctuaries, the
group supporting Measure 105, can
distill its message into a few sen-
tences on its website’s home page.
“Illegal aliens can and do harm
the American citizens to whom
Oregon owes its foremost responsi-
bility,” the website states. “For this
reason, enforcement of U.S. immi-
gration law is central to the duties
of Oregon’s police departments and
sheriff’s offices.”
Jim Ludwick, a spokesman for
the Stop Oregon Sanctuaries cam-
paign, said the group is targeting
illegal immigration in the mea-
sure, but it also wants reduced legal
immigration because it would ben-
efit the state “environmentally,
socially, fiscally and politically.”
Ludwick said he’s seen no evi-
dence of racial profiling and he
pushed back against the “chilling
effect” espoused by some district
“That’s a flat out lie,” he said.
Ludwick said victims and wit-
nesses could apply for “U visas,”
a four-year visa from U.S. Citizen-
ship and Immigration Services that
allows undocumented immigrants
who have “suffered substantial
physical or mental abuse” or have
information about criminal activ-
ity to stay in the country, provided
they collaborate with prosecutors.
He said a population that’s afraid to
report a crime shouldn’t be in the
He referenced multiple Oregon
cases where a “criminal alien” that
could have been deported before
they committed their crimes, and
the millions of dollars the state
spent prosecuting and incarcerating
an undocumented immigrant could
be avoided with deportation.
Gun rights measure Abortion access contested on ballot
puts power in
sheriff’s holster
Pro-Second Amend-
ment activist Jesse Bon-
ifer of Athena wants the
oversight of Constitu-
tionally-protected gun
rights to become local.
“We’re trying to bring
everything back to the
county level,” he said,
“and have it checked by
the people who are actu-
ally policing it.”
Bonifer headed up
the effort that placed
Measure No. 30-128
Umatilla County Sec-
ond Amendment Preser-
vation Ordinance on the
local ballot for the Nov.
6 election. The proposal
would restrict Uma-
tilla County from using
resources to enforce
state or federal laws that
will infringe on the Sec-
ond Amendment right to
keep and bear arms.
Chad Jacobs, a Port-
land attorney, said the
measure also designates
the sheriff as “the guy to
decide if it’s unconstitu-
tional or not.”
Jacobs is an attor-
ney with the firm Beery
which works with the
intersection of local,
state and federal consti-
tutional issues. He said
these proposals, in large
part, define what the
county does with public
“I would frame it as
this is a statement of
policy for the county to
decide how they want
to prioritize the use of
their resources,” Jacobs
said. “I think it’s com-
pletely legal for a local
government to say here
is where we put our
In that vein, the ordi-
nance is like other pol-
icy or funding deci-
sions. But, Jacobs said,
there are problems of
Sheriff Terry Rowan
said he had discussed
implementing a simi-
lar rule with the board
of commissioners a few
months ago, after find-
ing out that some other
Oregon counties are pro-
posing ordinances that
place oversight of gun
rights in local control.
Columbia County has
collected enough signa-
tures to place a measure
on the ballot next month,
and some counties, like
Wallowa and Wheeler,
got an ordinance passed
through the board of
county commissioners.
“I’m certainly very
supportive of our Sec-
ond Amendment rights,”
Rowan said. “I don’t
think our forefathers
would appreciate people
meddling with the words
they defined as import-
ant to the people of this
Violating the ordi-
nance carries a maxi-
mum fine of $2,000 for
an individual or $4,000
for a corporation. Rowan
said he and his deputies
swear to uphold all parts
of the constitution, and
the Second Amendment
is no exception.
“If there are alleged
violations of any part of
the constitution, we will
thoroughly investigate
them,” he said.
Bonifer said he sees
no immediate threat to
gun rights in Umatilla
County, but that could
change. He said people
are moving here from
large cities and Califor-
nia, and they could bring
more liberal views, so
the local law would pro-
tect gun rights from
what could happen.
Abortion will be on the
Oregon ballot in November
with Measure 106, which
would ban the state from
using taxpayer money for
Currently, Oregon taxpay-
ers are on the hook for abor-
tions for women on the Ore-
gon Health Plan, Oregon’s
version of Medicaid for peo-
ple in poverty. According
to The Oregonian, a pub-
lic records request revealed
during 2015-2016 the Ore-
gon Health Plan paid $2.4
million for 3,769 abortions.
Measure 106 would no
longer allow state tax rev-
enue to go toward funding
abortions except in cases of
rape, incest, ectopic pregnan-
cies or when a qualified phy-
sician determines the mother
will be seriously harmed
or killed by continuing the
It would affect the Ore-
gon Health Plan and state
employees who receive their
health insurance through the
state. Depending on how the
law is interpreted, it could
also affect coverage for
public employees such as
Supporters of the measure
say no one should be forced
by the government to pay
for something they find mor-
ally reprehensible. Peggy
Willis, a member of Pend-
leton’s Right to Life chap-
ter, believes “in life from the
time of conception until nat-
ural death.” To people who
believe life begins at con-
ception, aborton is taking an
innocent life.
“I believe life is a God-
given gift, and it isn’t up to
anybody to pull the plug,”
she said.
Deanna Leonard of Herm-
iston’s Right to Life group
said she feels Measure 106
is not extreme. Instead, she
said, it protects Oregonians’
rights not to pay for some-
thing they find “horrific.”
“People can still get an
abortion for any reason they
choose, they just can’t do
it with my tax money,” she
Opponents of Measure
106 take a different view.
They say Measure 106 is a
“backdoor ban on abortion”
that blocks access to medical
care for low-income women.
An Do, communications
director for the anti-106 coa-
lition No Cuts to Care, said
the measure would essen-
tially create two categories of
access to “the full spectrum
of reproductive care” based
on a woman’s income level.
She said that women who are
on the Oregon Health Plan
often have the biggest barri-
ers to accessing health care,
and the measure could put an
abortion out of their reach.
“A right is not a right
unless you can afford to
access it,” she said.
Measure 106 would be
a step in the opposite direc-
tion for Oregon, she said.
The state has a long history
of protecting abortion access
and does not limit when in
the pregnancy an abortion
can occur.
Do said restrictions on
abortion access take away
a woman’s right to choose
when to start a family.
“Abortion is a really per-
sonal, serious medical deci-
sion that should be kept
between a woman and her
doctor,” she said.
Grocery tax ban would amend state constitution
Oregon has long been
known as the “no-sales-tax”
state. In November, vot-
ers will decide if they want
to keep it that way when it
comes to groceries.
Measure 103 proposes a
constitutional ban on taxing
all grocery items within the
state of Oregon. The measure,
introduced by grocers and
marketing executives from
the industry, defines grocer-
ies as “any raw or processed
food or beverage intended for
human consumption.” It does
not apply to alcohol, mari-
juana or tobacco, or non-food
items like toiletries, medicine
or paper products.
A “yes” vote on Measure
103 supports the prohibition
of any tax on groceries by
state or local governments,
and would prevent those taxes
from ever being imposed. A
“no” vote opposes that pro-
hibition, and would allow
state or local governments
to impose taxes on grocery
The measure, which would
amend the state constitu-
tion, would apply to any tax
on food or beverages (except
alcohol) that has been enacted
between October of 2017 and
the election.
Many local grocers and
market managers did not want
to comment on the measure.
But on the “Yes on 103” offi-
cial website, several local
businesses have officially
endorsed the measure. Listed
businesses from Umatilla
County include the Pendleton
Market, J & D’s Food Mart
in Pilot Rock and the Herm-
iston Chamber of Commerce,
as well as national chains that
have stores in the area, such
as Safeway.
Dave Meade, the manager
of Umatilla’s Columbia Har-
vest Foods, said it’s a concern
for small and large businesses.
“If you’re a border town
and your store is located at
or near the border, I think if
there’s a tax on food, it would
cause folks to spend a little
more money in the Tri-Cit-
ies,” he said.
But he said the bigger
concern for him is not the
impact on businesses, but on
“For us it’s kind of a pass-
through,” he said. “But the
main thing is that it would just
be problematic for low and
middle-income families.”
He said people come from
about a 10-mile radius to shop
at Columbia Harvest Foods,
and many of those custom-
ers fall into the low- and mid-
dle-income brackets.
“We’re more concerned
for our customers,” he said.
“Everyone eats. It would be a
tax on everyone.”
He noted that even those
who get some sort of food
assistance, like EBT (elec-
tronic benefits transfer) cards,
will still be affected by a food
Katherine Driessen, the
communications director for
the “No on 103” campaign,
said the measure is much
more than a ban on taxes for
“There is no sales tax on
groceries now, and no one is
proposing one,” she said. “If
that’s all the measure did, pre-
vent a sales tax on groceries,
we’d support that.”
Instead, Driessen said the
measure provides sweeping
exemptions to food and bever-
ages at every stage of produc-
tion, transportation and sale,
while leaving out items that
are important to many con-
sumers, like medicines, dia-
pers and feminine products.
“The measure is so broadly
written, it includes the whole
supply chain,” she said. “A
trucking company that car-
ries food to a store or a restau-
rant [...] could argue that they
should be exempt from a gas
Driessen said the biggest
concern for those in the “No”
campaign is the removal of
local control.
“When we change our con-
stitution, it should be really
deliberate, and the policy
should be simple and clear,
and address an urgent crisis,”
she said. “Measure 103 fails to
meet all those requirements.”