Oregon Launches “Sanctuary Promise Hotline” to Shield Illegal Aliens Even More
FAIR Take | April 2022
Oregon became the first sanctuary state in 1987. Since then, Oregon has continued to adopt additional measures that thwart the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws. The most recent action was taken by the state’s attorney general (AG), Ellen Rosenblum (D), on April 1 when she announced the creation of a new so-called “Sanctuary Promise Hotline,” which was authorized by the state legislature in June 2021. This hotline allows anyone in the state to report violations of Oregon’s sanctuary law thus further undermining any semblance of immigration enforcement within the state.
In her press release, AG Rosenblum further stated that the hotline would help ensure that “[n]o one should feel like they cannot show up to work … for fear of being arrested, detained or deported,” despite the fact that under federal law illegal aliens cannot work in the United States and it is a federal crime to knowingly employ them. The hotline’s new page on her office’s website adds that “[e]veryone has the right to live safely in Oregon,” even though no one but American citizens actually has a “right” to reside in the United States: legal immigrants are those who Congress has chosen to grant a privilege, not a right, of lawful presence, which can be revoked, while Congress has granted no such privilege to illegal aliens.
The hotline allows individuals to report “violations” such as:
- Any investigation or interrogation by state or local police for immigration enforcement purposes;
- Any inquiries regarding storing, or sharing of information about national origin, immigration or citizenship status by police or state or local government;
- A civil arrest without a judicial warrant/order from a court facility;
- An arrest by federal immigration agents of a person on their way to or from court or while at court;
- Any police collaboration with federal authorities for immigration enforcement purposes;
- Any denial of services, benefits, or privileges to a person in jail or on probation/parole based on immigration status;
- Any coordination of traffic stops or traffic perimeters by police to enforce federal immigration orders or laws; or
- Any failure by state or local officials or police to document or report request from a federal immigration agency relating to immigration enforcement.
This hotline undermines and conflicts with federal law in multiple ways. It is possible that under some circumstances, calls to the hotline and investigations by the AG could even themselves be federal crimes, such as Obstruction of a Proceeding Before a Federal Agency under 8 U.S.C. § 1505.
More generally, such a hotline encourages pitting local communities and residents against their own law enforcement officers and elected officials. And finally, it nearly guarantees both the state and localities having to spend taxpayer money litigating against each other. Such civil litigation is likely to cost significantly more than the $900,000 the legislature initially appropriated to fund the hotline.