I've already voted NO on Measure 105, which would overturn Oregon's successful sanctuary state law that prevents law enforcement agencies from using state resources to detect or apprehend people whose only violation is federal immigration law.
Nothing I heard at today's Salem City Club debate on Measure 105 made me question in the slightest how I voted.
The debate was between Cynthia Kendoll (on the left) and Andrea Williams (on the right). Kendoll is president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform. Williams is executive director of CAUSA, Oregon's statewide immigration rights organization.
Williams' expression as Kendoll was speaking mirrored how I felt about Kendoll's exceedingly weak argument for voting Yes on Measure 105. Basically, Kendoll said that laws have to be followed; immigrants who are here illegally are breaking the law; so Oregon law enforcement agencies should help federal ICE agents find them so they can be deported.
On the other hand, Williams pointed out sound reasons to vote No.
She talked about examples of racial profiling that occurred in Oregon prior to the passage of our sanctuary state law. Williams also said that without that law, undocumented immigrants would be wary of contacting the police or testifying in an investigation.
So Kendoll was wrong when she tried to argue that Measure 105 would make Oregonians safer. She vainly tired to claim that undocumented immigrants engage in more lawbreaking than documented immigrants.
But as a City Club member pointed out in the course of asking a question, it makes sense that people who can't get a drivers license (for example), yet need to drive to get to work, will have more "driving without a license" citations than those who can get a license.
In other words, illegality most often is a case of this country's broken immigration laws, which don't allow law-abiding, hard-working undocumented immigrants to apply for legal status.
Not surprisingly, I felt that a question I asked of Cynthia Kendoll was brilliant.
It came to me while I was staring at a slide that was left on a screen for most of the debate to summarize the core difference between voting yes or no on Measure 105. I began to wonder about substituting a different word in the bottom line for "immigration."
Like, "marijuana." So this is how my question went to Kendoll, as best I can recall:
Along with others in the audience, I'm a federal lawbreaker, since I use marijuana, and it's illegal under federal law. So I'm wondering if you'd be in favor of local and state law enforcement agencies here in Oregon working with federal agents to arrest people who are using marijuana -- even though it is legal in this state. Conservatives like you usually are in favor of state's rights. But since you favor using state resources to enforce federal immigration law, are you in favor of also using state resources to enforce the federal marijuana law?
Kendoll's answer was so lame, and so unresponsive to my question, I can barely remember what it was. It had something to do with federal immigration law catching criminals, I think. But every marijuana user in Oregon also is a criminal in the eye of federal law enforcement, so this response made little or no sense.
This just shows the hypocrisy of conservatives. They're all for states rights when it comes to gerrymandering, restricting the right to vote, and limiting access to abortions, but on immigration policy and sanctuary state laws, they're all in for federal control.
Bottom line: vote NO on Measure 105.