'We're going to go down this road together. You have friends in the city of Beaverton.'
Advocates and immigrants braved the snow Tuesday night in support of equality and protection.
The Beaverton City Council heard their voices and unanimously — without hesitation — passed a resolution Jan. 10 declaring Beaverton a sanctuary city.
"I am happy with the rainbow in the audience today," Mayor Denny Doyle said. "We're going to go down this road together. You have friends in the city of Beaverton."
The designation has no legal authority, but means that city officials, including police officers, will not enforce federal immigration laws. As a result, undocumented immigrants would be more likely to contact authorities if they needed assistance, advocates say.
Councilor Lacey Beaty brought the issue to City Council after hearing numerous concerns from residents following the presidential election. She commended those who made the sanctuary designation a reality.
"I would have had no wings without my colleagues' support," Beaty said.
Councilor Betty Bode was the first charter chair of the Human Rights Commission 20 years ago. She said she has seen first-hand the fear that undocumented immigrants feel and she wants to stand up for them.
Councilor Marc San Soucie called the resolution an affirmation of what Beaverton stands for.
Farrah Chaichi, the newly elected chair of the Human Rights Advisory Commission, said in front of council, "It is important that Beaverton take a stand, even with the Oregon law on the books. We must have the courage of our convictions. The city of Beaverton frequently affirms its commitment to respecting the dignity of all people and their differences. We are a welcoming city and part of the sister cities program, we have the Diversity Advisory Board, which wrote the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan, and of course the Human Rights Commission has been around for two decades. If we do not take this step for fear of budget cuts, it will contradict all of these accomplishments."
The city's resolution:
"The City of Beaverton is committed to living its values as a welcoming city for all individuals and is a community that seeks to accept everyone, regardless of a person's race, ethnicity, place of origin or immigration status; and all people within the city need to feel safe to contact local law enforcement or city government and be able to freely access critical public safety services without fear; and the City of Beaverton follows state law, Oregon Revised Statute 181A.820, adopted nearly 30 years ago, which states that: 'No law enforcement agency of the State of Oregon or of any political subdivision of the state shall use agency moneys, equipment or personnel for the purpose of detecting or apprehending persons whose only violation of law is that they are persons of foreign citizenship present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws'; and the City of Beaverton defines 'Sanctuary City' as a city that is committed to providing a safe community for individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity, place of origin, or immigration status, and works to ensure that all members of our community are safe and can call for public safety assistance without fear of reprisal based solely on federal immigration status, in accordance with current Oregon law; and the City of Beaverton is committed to ensuring that the provision of services and benefits by the City shall not be conditioned upon a community member's federal immigration status, except as required by law; now therefore We declare the City of Beaverton as a Sanctuary City, as a statement of unity for our community, as defined by this resolution."