We think Oregon voters should repeal the state’s 31-year-old “sanctuary” statute by approving Ballot Measure 105 on the Nov. 6 ballot.
That said, we’re not bothered by Baker County Sheriff Travis Ash’s decision to not join 16 of his 35 counterparts who signed a letter that urges voters to pass Measure 105. The letter was written by Clatsop County Sheriff Thomas J. Bergin.
In a written statement, Ash said he declined to sign Bergin’s letter because Bergin cited as an example the recent murder of Mollie Tibbetts in Iowa. The man charged with her murder apparently is a Mexican national living illegally in the U.S.
“I didn’t agree with using the Mollie Tibbetts family’s personal tragedy for political purposes,” Ash wrote, “especially without knowing how they felt about it.”
It seems that Tibbetts’ father, Rob, would not think much of Bergin’s letter. Rob Tibbets, while giving his daughter’s eulogy, said “the Hispanic community are Iowans. They have the same values as Iowans.”
Ash didn’t take a position on whether he supports or opposes Measure 105.
But he said that whether or not voters approve the measure, “it will not affect the way we do business at the Baker County Sheriff’s Office.”
Ash, who also oversees the Baker County Jail, said his policy, which he says is consistent with Oregon’s current law, is to notify federal immigration officials if an inmate who is in jail on other charges is also suspected of being in the country illegally.
But Ash also wrote that such situations are “rare.”
That’s not necessarily the case, however, in some of Oregon’s more populous counties.
We agree with Knute Buehler, the Republican candidate for governor, who said he will vote for Measure 105 because he believes repealing the sanctuary law will eliminate confusion and potential discrepancies in how individual counties deal with illegal immigration issues.
Opponents of the measure contend its passage would encourage police to engage in the noxious tactic of racial profiling. But the 1987 “sanctuary” law is not the only bulwark against profiling. In 2015 Gov. Kate Brown signed a law — one we support — that creates a database of profiling complaints against police, and an independent task force to review those complaints.
From the Baker City Herald editorial board. The board consists of editor Jayson Jacoby and reporter Chris Collins.