Police chief: 'We do not enforce federal immigration laws'
Portland Police Chief Mike Marshman told community leaders Monday that the police bureau would try to be "a source of reassurance to the community" in the face of a ban on immigration from seven nations imposed Friday by President Trump.
Marshman joined more than two dozen leaders from Portland's immigrant and refugee communities to reassure people that police would act to calm fears about intimidation and harassment of minority groups. Marshman said Trump's immigration ban executive order signed Jan. 27 "has spread fear and uncertainty to our refugee and immigrant communities."
"I want you, the members of the Portland Police Bureau, to be a source of reassurance to the community," Marshman said during a press conference called to denounce the travel restrictions. "We must be diligent in our efforts to the community who now more than ever might see us as a source of fear. We must be the ones who reach out first to all whom we serve and be able to answer their questions and provide clarity on what our role is in regard to immigration. That means giving assurance that we are not an extension of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. We follow and enforce Oregon law. We do not enforce federal immigration laws."
Trump's executive order affects people traveling from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia. It includes a system of "extreme vetting" for refugees.
Trump said the order wasn't meant as a ban on Muslims, "this is about terror and keeping our country safe."
"America is a proud nation of immigrants and we will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do so while protecting our own citizens and border," Trump said in a statement released with the order. "We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days. I have tremendous feeling for the people involved in this horrific humanitarian crisis in Syria. My first priority will always be to protect and serve our country, but as president I will find ways to help all those who are suffering."
Marshman said the police bureau would continue extra patrols around mosques, Islamic schools and community centers. "While we have no known threats locally, our presence may provide reassurances to those in fear," he told community leaders.
According to Portland's Immigrant Refugee and Community Organization, a large portion of the refugees resettled in the region are women, children and families. Last year, the nonprofit helped relocate 1,780 refugees to Oregon from Syria, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Africa and Eastern Europe.
Marshman's reassurances come just days after the White House travel restrictions prompted a wave of protests across the nation, including at Portland International Airport, where hundreds of people gathered for two days to voice opposition to the policy.
At the same time, a parade of Oregon public officials denounced the travel restrictions. Members of Oregon's Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs and the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon said in a Monday statement that Trump's immigration ban was "a travesty of justice that within a few weeks of the 75th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066, which led to the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II because of their race, and without due process of law."
"President Trump's actions will put Oregonians at risk and will place an extra burden on communities of color especially in rural areas, many of whom have already been the target of violent attacks since President Trump's election," said Zahir Janmohamed, APANO policy director.
Oregon State University President Edward J. Ray said Monday that the Corvallis school would remain a sanctuary university, and offered assurances that OSU would take steps to help students impacted by the executive order.
"This university will remain unwavering in its commitment to inclusive excellence, social justice, diversity of all kinds and the safety of all people," Ray said in the Jan. 30 statement. "These commitments are the foundation upon which we build excellence in everything we do. As your university's president, I assure you that Oregon State University is fully committed to support students' pursuit of their education and faculty's work in teaching and research."
Slamming the door
On Monday, Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici joined Democratic colleagues at a vigil outside the Supreme Court, calling on the president to reverse his executive order.
"The president's ban on Muslims and refugees offends fundamental American values," Merkley said during the gathering. "We're a nation that treasures religious freedom and religious tolerance. We're a nation that doesn't slam the door shut on refugees fleeing persecution and blight. Moreover, the Muslim ban profoundly endangers our security by feeding the fires of ISIS propaganda promoting the idea that America is at war with Islam. It endangers all Americans."
"America is a nation of immigrants and refugees who came to these shores fleeing persecution and seeking unparalleled opportunities for freedom," Wyden said. "Today we stand together against those who would betray both the law and our history to impose an unconstitutional religious test on immigrants. This illegal order endangers America by emboldening terrorists and undercutting our allies in the fight against ISIS. Simply put, we're going to fight like hell against this cruel, senseless and un-American order."
"This will not stand," Blumenauer said. "Together, we are fighting this injustice and will do everything we can to put a stop to this executive order."