Brown lines up legal ammunition to fight Trump travel restrictions
SALEM — Gov. Kate Brown signed an executive order Thursday barring the use of any state resources to enforce federal immigration policy and called on the state Attorney General's Office to sue the Trump administration over the president's executive order on immigration.
"The president's recent executive orders that divide and discriminate do not reflect the values enshrined in the U.S. Constitution or the principles we stand for as Oregonians or Americans," Brown told reporters Thursday, Feb. 2, in the governor's ceremonial office. "I want to make it very clear that here in Oregon, where thousands have fought for and demanded equality, where millions have put down roots and become integral to our economy and to our culture; we will not retreat."
The governor said her order was a response to Trump's temporary ban on refugees and visa holders from several predominantly Muslim countries, but also a proactive step in anticipation of further action by the Trump administration.
"We are hearing rumors of the fact that the federal government may consider creating a Muslim registry," Brown said. "This would forbid our state agencies and our state agency workers from participating in that."
Deputy Attorney General Fred Boss said the state justice department has not yet filed any lawsuits related to the president's executive order.
"We are carefully reviewing legal cases around the country and assessing how we can best advance our effort," Boss said.
The Attorney General's Office plans to announce the next steps in the legal process next week, he said. Brown sent a two-page letter to the office asking that a lawsuit challenge the president's order.
The governor's executive order expands a 1987 law that prohibits the use of state and local law enforcement resources in federal immigration enforcement.
"Oregon's unique law has succeeded in keeping the deportation of immigrants by the federal government separate and distinct from the enforcement of our state criminal laws by our local police," said Kimberly McCullough, ACLU of Oregon's legislative director. "We are pleased the governor has extended this important state disentanglement to all state agencies and employees."
It's unclear how many people headed to Oregon were affected by Trump's executive order, according to the ACLU of Oregon, which has provided legal support to airport detainees.
A 5-month-old Iranian girl who was scheduled to have surgery at Oregon Health & Science University for a heart condition was one of those not allowed to enter the country because of the president's executive order, according to a report by KATU News.
"I find it deplorable that an infant who was supposed to come to Oregon to receive much needed live-saving care was not able to access that care at Oregon Health & Science University," Brown said Thursday.
The governor's executive order does the following:
• Bars state employees from discriminating against residents for their immigration status
• Prohibits the use of state moneys, equipment or personnel for detecting or apprehending people solely on the basis of their immigration status
• Prohibits the use of state resources to assist or facilitate the creation of a Muslim registry, or any other registry targeting a religious group