Town Hall Activity Immigration How is immigration affecting our community?

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Classroom Law Project 620 SW Main, Ste. 102, Portland, OR 97205 503-224-4424

Town Hall Activity

How is immigration affecting our community?

Objectives of Town Hall Simulation

Students will:

  • Engage and participate in mock town hall discussing immigration issues

  • Analyze and articulate various perspectives on immigration in the United States

  • Develop and hone listening skills to better understand contrary positions

  • Identify ways to compromise

  • Understand that their voices matter

Initial Discussion

  • Points to make before introducing activity:

    • Immigration issues and laws affect us all on very individualized levels. It will be extremely important to inform the class that this is simply a way to raise issues on all sides of the argument and that this is not an attempt to advocate for a certain position on a specific issue.

    • Remind students that this is not a forum for making personal or generalized attacks

    • Inform students that the goal of this activity is to be able to analyze and articulate various perspectives on immigration issues

    • America’s history is an immigration story, and that how we identify, as a country is a reflection on how we view immigration policy.

  • Intentions of this roleplaying exercise:

    • Raise issues and perspectives


Instruct students that this is a role-playing activity in which students will act out various perspectives by members of a community at a town hall meeting.

During the town hall meeting, each student will play the role of a person with strong opinions about the question being considered: How is immigration affecting my community? Each role is designed to explore a specific perspective.
Discuss the purposes of town hall meetings, and how they allow members of the community to express their ideas and individual concerns and how this type of expression is used to develop public policy.
1. Divide the class into eleven groups (or fewer) and briefly identify each role (approx. 5 mins)

  1. 1. Immigration Attorney

  2. 2. Immigration Judge

  3. 3. Local Fruit Farmer

  4. 4. Head of Chamber of Commerce

  5. 5. U.S. Attorney in Oregon

  6. 6. Mayor in rural Oregon

    1. 7. Immigration Rights Advocate

    2. 8. County Sheriff in Oregon opposed to sanctuary city policies

    3. 9. County Sherriff in Oregon in favor of sanctuary city policies

    4. 10. DACA enrollee / Dreamer

    5. 11. Panel of State Legislators

Some roles are meatier than others because they are designed to communicate important facts and information about these issues.

2. Networking with students with the same role (15 min)

Students with the same roles will meet in groups and discuss their character’s perspectives. Give each group a profile of the role that they will be playing, but make time to review each role with the entire class. This allows for class discussion and deliberation on the varying perspectives.

Discuss with the class that their primary duty is to articulate the specific viewpoint of the role they are playing, and that it is their job as an engaged citizen to collaborate with those that share similar viewpoints, and to negotiate compromises with those that possess different perspectives. Where the profiles contain a lot of information, instruct students that they may choose the most important points to make within the time limit—they are not required to use all the information and points. Be sure to communicate how much time each group will have to present, including 1-2 minutes for questions from the Legislator panel.

The Legislator panel should use this time to review the roles and brainstorm possible questions. They should remember that their role is not to grill or argue with the speakers but rather to clarify points so as to better understand each speaker’s perspective.
3. Town Meeting (25-40 minutes, depending on # of speakers @ 3 min. each)

Arrange a table at the front of the classroom where the state legislators will sit.

Explain the ground rules for the meeting:

  • Each group should have 1-2 students act as the speaker(s)

  • Be courteous to others even when your character disagrees with someone

  • Listen without interrupting while others are speaking

  • Be open-minded; try to understand an issue from other points of view

The “state legislators” can begin the town hall by posing the overarching question of: “how is immigration affecting our community” and providing follow up questions, or by simply opening the floor to those that want to speak. It is recommended that students not on the panel do not ask questions—when questions are opened up to the full class, the Town Hall can easily turn into a debate, which is a different activity with different objectives. Leave the questioning to the Legislative panel.

Panel members need to be conscious of allowing all parties to speak and articulate their perspectives.
4. Debrief (5 min.)
Begin debrief by facilitating discussion on the town hall simulation. Ask question that address how each student felt while playing their role. Let the students express their thoughts and encourage them to ask each other question. Points of discussion may include topics such as:

  • Challenge of taking a position other than your own

  • Challenge of persuading others to your position
  • Process of town halls and local government

  • How youth can be involved in local government

  • Have their views or perspectives on immigration changed after completing this exercise

Note: Town Hall lessons are extremely modifiable. Teacher should consider how to best use this framework with their students. Possible modifications include:

  • Reducing the number of witnesses—pick the roles you believe will have the most impact on your students’ understanding of the issues involved

  • Providing more or less information about the various roles depending on how much your students need their talking points scripted vs. their ability to be extemporaneous

  • Providing less information about the various roles so as to have students perform individual or group research on their positions

  • Inviting professionals in the community to visit the classroom to talk about these issues

  • Extending the lesson based on particular areas of interest to the students—these often emerge during the exercise

1. Immigration Attorney
As an immigration attorney, you are able to provide insight into immigration issues from a legal perspective. With an understanding of immigration law cases that set the foundation for current immigration policy, you are able to explain the legal framework for U.S. and Oregon immigration law and policy.

Main reason for coming to this town hall meeting:

Public perceptions have strong implications on how the U.S. government creates and implements immigration policies intended to protect us. These policies often have tragic consequences for immigrants, whether they are in the country legally or not. Immigration controversy is nothing new; the United States has a long history of immigration policies that have discriminated and harmed people. Immigration law has troubling precedents, for example the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. This law held that Congress may exclude whole classes of people from entering or reentering the country based upon race if there is a perceived risk to the country’s security. The historical backdrop of this case was during a time when Congress was passing racially discriminatory laws to exclude people from specific minority groups based upon misguided perceptions. I am concerned that we are revisiting these terrible moments in our nation’s history where fear and prejudice trumped the principles upon which this country was founded.”

This immigration law attorney’s facts and views include:

  • Immigration laws govern not only immigrants seeking citizenship, but also refugees fleeing violent and unsafe circumstances. The U.S. has different procedures and laws that govern those seeking citizenship and refugees seeking safety.

      • The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, its amendments, and the Refugee Act of 1980 provide protections for refugees, and state that the U.S. will not close its borders to people fleeing persecution. The Refugee Act of 1980 is evidence that U.S. policy is to not turn away people fleeing areas that are not safe.

  • Individuals fit into different classifications depending on their reasons for fleeing their home countries and wanting to enter the U.S. Different laws control.

    • Nonimmigrants include people trying to obtain work or student visas. Specific procedures and requirements must be met to obtain a visa.

    • Immigrants seeking permanent residency are subject to rigorous screenings and procedures to ensure the immigration process is done legally.

    • Refugees and asylum seekers are people that are fleeing their home countries because it is not safe to stay there because of persecution and violence.

  • It is my responsibility to advocate for immigrants and refugees. It is my duty to represent their interests so they may have the same liberties that U.S. citizens enjoy.

  • Illegal immigration is a serious issue, but providing a pathway to citizenship or legal permanent residency is a principle that this country was founded upon.

  • Navigating the U.S. visa program is a daunting task. My clients are not criminals. They hire me so that they follow the law.

      • My clients seek my advice on obtaining citizenship and legal residency through the visa program. I also advise clients on the DACA program--To be eligible for DACA, an immigrant has to be younger than 31 on June 15, 2012; must have come to the US before turning 16; and must have lived in the US since June 15, 2007. I have a lot of clients who are worried about plans to end DACA—what does that mean for their DACA status or their attempts to be a DACA recipient?

  • I support the State of Oregon’s lawsuit against the Trump administration’s plans to end the DACA program. I believe ending DACA is fundamentally unfair and violates the due process rights of DACA recipients.

  • In 1987, the Oregon legislature passed what is referred to as the State’s sanctuary law. Specifically, ORS 181.850 holds that “no law enforcement agency . . . 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 US in violation of federal immigration laws.” The law passed the senate 29-1 and the House 58-1. It was noncontroversial at the time and for years and years after. It has even been the model for similar laws in other states.

  • I support Oregon’s Sanctuary Law, which forbids local law enforcement from aiding Federal Immigration and Customs Officials in detaining and deporting aliens. A federal court in the case Miranda-Olivares v. Clackamas County found that keeping a person in custody solely on the basis of an ICE detainer violated Ms. Miranda-Olivares’ constitutional rights. Clackamas County had to pay her $30,000 for holding her 19 hours past her release time.

2. Immigration Judge

As an immigration judge, you concentrate on the rules for immigration court, and reach a result that follows the law in every case. This includes understanding the necessary elements and procedures for admission, deportation, screening, removal, inadmissibility, crime-related deportability, relief from removal, and asylum, and so on.
Main reason for coming to this town hall meeting:

“I want to express my concern regarding how our continuously changing immigration policies have impacted our immigrant and business communities. While policies are marked by political viewpoints, by job is to interpret and fairly apply the laws to immigration cases. When legislatures target specific groups, it makes my job extremely difficult, if not impossible, to apply the law fairly. This is a major problem for a judge, and it also creates fear among members of our community when they know that specific groups can be targeted and treated differently.”

This immigration judge’s views are:

  • Immigration judges are appointed (not elected); we have a responsibility to exercise fair and unbiased jurisprudence. I do not make the laws; I simply interrupt them and apply them to individual circumstances. My primary responsibility is to apply the facts of the case to the current laws, and make decisions based upon that analysis. Immigration judges are responsible for knowing and following the appropriate procedures and making sure those procedures are followed.

  • When I am deciding individual cases, I’m required to exercise my independent judgment and discretion and only may take actions that are consistent with the United States Constitution, Acts and regulations.
  • Our Constitution does not provide foreigners the right to enter the United States, however, once they are here the Constitution protects them from discrimination based upon race, national origin, and from arbitrary treatment by the government.

  • For more than a century, the United States Supreme Court has upheld the principle that undocumented people within the United States are entitled to constitutional protections.

  • The U.S Constitution does not provide any direction to any branch of government on “immigration, “although it does invest the power of “naturalization” in Congress. However, Federal policy on issues related to immigration have been founded on the “plenary power doctrine, “which reserves the power to regulate all aspects of immigration to Congress and the President.

  • Many immigrants come here legally, but processing delays, and employment and family-based immigration quotas system result in significant wait times (several years). A great deal of frustration results. Many Americans are unaware of how these wait times significantly impact families and businesses that rely on this labor force.

3. Local Fruit Farmer
As a fruit farmer, the agricultural business and financial markets are very important to you. You believe that immigration plays an important role in building a strong economy, and that mass deportation of undocumented workers would severely weaken and hurt your business and the economy in general.
Main reason for coming to this town hall meeting:

It is important for me to address my community and speak on behalf of migrant workers and the agricultural industry in Oregon. Our very livelihood is on the line, so it is important that our views are heard by lawmakers.

This local fruit farmer’s views are:

  • Many Americans believe that undocumented immigrants are exploiting America’s economy and straining our resources, however, the data shows that this just is not true. Undocumented immigrants collectively contribute to state and local taxes by paying an estimated $11.64 billion a year.
  • Undocumented workers pay approximately $7 billion to social security and $1.5 billion to Medicare per year, yet are ineligible for most government benefits and certainly do not receive tax rebates. Most immigrants come to the United States at a very young age and, thus, do not collect social security or Medicare for many years, if at all, yet, they still pay into these systems from payroll taxes.

  • The Cato Institute estimated policies that allow for mass deportation would reduce economic growth by roughly $250 billion per year.

  • “There is indication from economic studies that show that the contribution of undocumented immigrants into the United States economy is a greater benefit than burden.” Agriculture contributes $4.1 billion to Oregon’s GDP annually.

  • Instead of “taking away our jobs,” immigration actually creates more industries and more opportunities for trade and sales. Besides, local non-immigrant workers do not want to do these agricultural and picking jobs. Student-age and older workers simply do not apply. I’ve never had a native-born American work ask for work on my farm.

  • According to a 2016 study, 56% of Oregon’s agricultural workers and 47% of hand packers and packagers are foreign born.

  • However, these numbers are getting smaller because of a shortage of immigrant labor due to harsh immigration policy and enforcement

  • The shortage of qualified field and crop workers has made if difficult for many farmers in Oregon to keep pace with rising consumer demand for fresh fruits and vegetables. Share of produce consumed by Americans imported from other countries grew by 79.3%. Labor issues explain 27% of that share loss. Shortage of manpower forces farmers to cut back on acres or abandon expansion plans. Loss of income nationwide of $1.3 billion.

  • Immigrant farm labor are experienced, skilled in grafting, pruning, digging and tying trees. But I’m also competing with construction and roofing companies.

  • When farmers are forced to reduce or slow down due to labor issues, it affects downstream businesses, too—shippers and wholesalers, equipment suppliers.
  • I’ve had some workers with me for many years. But now they are scared because of what’s going on with ICE and the country’s politics. Some are thinking it might be safer if they don’t stay in one place too long. Some are thinking about going back to their countries. How will I replace these workers?

  • The longer our immigration system stays broken, the harder it’s going to get for farmers like me.

4. Head of Local Chamber of Commerce
As the head of the local Chamber of Commerce, you are concerned with promoting and advocating for local businesses within the community. This includes advocating for fair employment and wage practices, efficient use of taxes and other community resources funded by taxpayers (including businesses), and protecting businesses from unfair competition and uncertain legal requirements. You believe that illegal immigrant has a negative impact on all of these important business and employment areas.
Main reason for coming to this town hall meeting:

The Chamber of Commerce monitors the economic impact that immigration has on local businesses. We study employment and unemployment statistics, as well as the reasons why jobs are lost in our community. Coming here today, I wanted to make the clear distinction that, while I am a strong advocate for our local businesses, I am not against legal and fair competition in the jobs market. Capitalism thrives in environments where competition is fair and everyone plays by the same rules. I am not looking to take jobs away from law abiding members of our community. I want to ensure that our local businesses thrive, and are not competing with businesses that do not play by the rules.

This Head of the Chamber of Commerce’s facts and views are:

  • Wages are reduced as a result of illegal immigration. Often undocumented workers are underpaid which helps keep wages lower in a particular region or occupation.
  • I have a responsibility to advocate for businesses in my community that abide by the rules and follow the law. It is my duty to act within the best interest of our local businesses, and I don’t want members of my community losing jobs.

  • It’s estimated that there are 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, and we also admit over a million permanent legal immigrants each year. Illegal immigration creates an influx of workers who may take jobs away from legal citizens I am just concerned that members in our community will not be able to find work.

  • Undocumented immigrants may be hard working, but they still use schools, roads, parks, sewers, and police and fire protections. These services cost money.

  • Children in unlawful immigrant households usually receive large subsidies for public education. Many of their children are born in the United States and are eligible for government benefits. These benefits add up and are paid for by law-abiding United States citizens.

  • I’m also concerned for how migrant labor is treated. 80,000 Mexicans have immigrated to Oregon illegally according to the Mexican consulate. Because many if not most of migrant workers lack US Citizenship and do not speak English, they can be easily exploited by farm labor contractors or farmers. They do not get benefits. They do not get overtime pay, unemployment insurance, breaks or rest periods. These workers won’t complain for fear of losing their job or being reported to authorities. When one segment of our work force is treated unfairly or harshly, all workers suffer.

  • The possibility of hiring cheap immigrant labor undercuts our message to young people to value working hard for a living wage.

  • I appreciate that immigrants who lawfully enter the country contribute a great deal to our

country’s progress, especially in areas of technology and science and for starting small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy. One of my main concerns is that immigrants who “play by the rules” and enter the country legally and go through all the proper procedures will be discouraged by those who are entering illegally and avoid detection. This leads to concerns over whether current immigration law and policy is encouraging or discouraging legal immigration into the U.S.

5. Assistant US Attorney in Oregon
As an assistant US Attorney, you work in the federal prosecutor’s office. You are responsible for prosecuting criminals who break federal laws, including immigration laws. As an officer of the Department of Justice, you take your responsibility to enforce the law, protect public safety, and ensure that the Constitution is followed very seriously. You have serious concerns that the lack of cooperation between state and federal authorities on immigration issues negatively impacts the rule of law and threatens public safety.
Main reason for coming to this town hall meeting:

I have a responsibility to the people to enforce laws that promote their safety. Illegal immigration poses a threat to our community by increasing crime rates. When we tolerate illegal immigration, we also break the public trust in our laws and send a message to people all over the world that they can enter the United States illegally without consequence. In addition, our need to enforce immigration laws has become much more important as part of our war on terrorism. Terrorists take advantage of the US’s lack of immigration enforcement to enter our country and do great harm to our citizens.

This Assistant US Attorney’s facts and views are:

  • In 1987, the Oregon legislature passed what is referred to as the State’s sanctuary law. Specifically, ORS 181.850 holds that “no law enforcement agency . . . 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 US in violation of federal immigration laws.”
  • Sanctuary cities that shield individuals from immigration enforcement create a magnet for illegal immigration, both from other states and other countries.

  • Sanctuary city provisions force federal immigration authorities and enforcement agencies to devote more resources to at-large arrests in these communities, which not only wastes precious taxpayer resources but contributes to a climate of fear and uncertainty. Allowing federal law enforcement access to persons already in custody would significantly reduce the need for these other more disruptive enforcement tactics.

  • When local authorities refuse to alert federal immigration authorities about the pending release of offenders who are in the country illegal, this leads to increases in crime, gang violence, and lawlessness.

  • Common sense tells us that persons here illegally should be processed and deported rather than released by local law enforcement.

  • Illegal aliens who commit crimes in Oregon about being released into communities, where they commit more crimes. Because of Oregon’s sanctuary declaration, these aliens are not being arrested and prosecuted for violating federal immigration laws.

  • I support the Department of Justice’s plan to withhold federal grants to cities that actively undermine the safety of federal law officers and actively frustrate efforts to reduce crime in their own cities. These grants should be reserved for those cities and agencies who will use these funds effectively and appropriately.

  • It has been estimated that approximately 40% of the illegal immigrants that currently reside in the United states originally came here legally, but are overstaying their visas.

  • While it is a federal misdemeanor to illegally enter our country illegally, it is not a federal crime to overstay a visa. This is a major problem for our country.

6. Immigration Rights Advocate

As an immigration rights advocate, you are committed to protecting the rights of and seeking justice for immigrants in Oregon, regardless of their legal status. You focus on a variety of issues important to immigrant communities, including criminal justice reform, economic opportunities, housing and education, DACA, and sanctuary cities. As someone immersed in immigration issues, you seek to dispel untruths about immigrants and immigration by giving people the facts about these issues.

  • There are 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US, 22% of whom are under age 25 according to the Department of Homeland Security

  • In 2016, about 1.9 million people were eligible for DACA; 788,00 people have had their DACA status accepted, according to the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services

  • 72% of DACA recipients surveyed are in higher education; 80% got driver’s licenses after DACA, and 50% of these became organ donors

  • In a survey of DACA recipients, 90% reported having jobs; wages are significantly hire for DACA recipients.

  • Eliminating DACA will cost the US $460 billion over ten years, according to the American Center for Progress. 700,000 people will lose jobs

Main reason for coming to this town hall meeting:

“My top priority is to represent immigrant communities in Oregon and to advocate for their perspectives on immigration and the rights and responsibilities of immigrants. I am here to remind the members of our community that, except for our native American friends, we are all immigrants. We all arrived here from other places, seeking better opportunities for our children and ourselves. To deny someone the opportunities that were given to you is not the American way. I am not advocating for illegal entry into our country but, rather, accessible pathways to citizenship that do not stunt the spirit that makes this country so great.”

This Immigration Rights Advocate’s facts and views are:
  • I have a responsibility to combat the harmful untruths that are circulated about immigrants. For example, the idea that immigrants are a risk to community safety. Several studies conclude that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than people born in the United States. Data does not support the idea that undocumented immigrants commit a disproportionate share of crime.

  • Creating pathways to citizenship opens up our economy by creating more job opportunities, which allows thousands of individuals to more fully participate in our economy

  • I’d like to see immigration policy that is consistent with core principles of US policies and laws on legal permanent immigration. These four major principles are:

    • The reunification of families

    • The admission of immigrants with needed skills

    • The protection of refugees

    • The diversity of admissions by the country of origin

  • Immigration policies and laws have become increasingly restrictive. They do not provide a pathway for undocumented people to legalize their status and do not provide a sufficient number of visas for immigrants seeking employment.

  • I agree with Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s position that Dreamers—people who were brought to the country illegally as young children by their parents—“are an integral part of our state’s workforce and contribute over $6 million to our state’s economy. Dreamers embody the ideals of the American Dream, and for so many, the United States is the only home they know.” 

  • Like Gov. Brown, "I am deeply troubled by federal orders that seek to tear apart otherwise law-abiding families and undermine Oregon’s economy.”

  • We are a better nation than one that targets hard-working young people who trusted us to help them pursue the American Dream.

  • My organization believes that Oregon counties who assist ICE and even house detainees awaiting deportation in county detention centers are in violation of Oregon’s sanctuary law. Certainly, these actions are not consistent with the spirit of this law and state policy designed to make immigrants feel safe and included in our communities.
  • In addition, the conditions under which these detainees are imprisoned are inhumane and contrary to our nation’s laws and principles. Detainees experience interference with access to counsel and the courts; inadequate medical care; inadequate nutrition; denial of religious liberty; inability to meaningfully exercise; no means of visitation with family and exorbitant phone rates; poor hygiene and sanitation; and inadequate clothing for cold temperatures.

  • Worried about efforts by some legislators to circumvent the legislative process by promoting a ballot initiative that could repeal Oregon’s sanctuary law. The legislature overwhelmingly passed this law. It should be up to the legislature to decide whether to repeal this law or not. A ballot initiative will only incite more fear-mongering and untruths about the roles immigrants play in our communities.

  • We should not be using Oregon resources to participate in the depopulation and mass expulsion of people of color.

7. Mayor of a rural town in Oregon

As a mayor of a rural town in Oregon, you have to balance the needs of a variety of residents and constituents in your community. This includes immigrant communities from a variety of countries around the world who have settled in your part of Oregon, as well as migrant immigrant communities who provide a valuable service to the region’s agricultural economy.

Main reason for coming to this town hall meeting:

“It my job to represent the needs and views of a variety of residents in my town. This includes immigrants who have settled legally in my area from countries all over the world.”

This mayor’s facts and views are:

  • I know there are illegal immigrants in our community, especially among the migrant labor forces that reside hear at different times of the year to work the many farms and orchards in the area. I leave those issues to our law enforcement professionals, but I appreciate that our agricultural economy would suffer without these migrant laborers.
  • In my experience, immigrants, whether legal or not, do not pose a public safety threat any different than other residents. But you are sensitive to concerns some constituents voice about the strain on resources caused by immigrants who may not pay taxes at the same rate as others in the community.

  • We rely on federal grants to support our law enforcement agencies and correctional center. Statewide in Oregon, towns and counties like us receive millions of dollars annually for police and sheriffs. The Federal Government has pledged to withhold funds from jurisdictions that do not comply with federal immigration officials by allowing ICE agents to access detention facilities to meet with aliens in custody and provide 48 hours’ notice to ICE before releasing aliens into the community.

  • Because residents in our county have rejected tax and bond measures that would provide critical funding for our law enforcement services, we rely on money we receive from contracts with ICE to assist their efforts and house detainees who face deportation. My understanding is that we only accept ICE detainees who have been charged with a crime or already have a criminal record. We believe such action does not violate the letter of Oregon’s sanctuary laws.

  • This funding helps us to balance our budget. We couldn’t make up the shortfall in resources without this funding. We might even have to close our jail, which would negatively impact those persons who otherwise would be imprisoned locally, closer to their families and legal representation.

  • I see both sides of this issue. I understand the need for farms and orchards to hire migrant labor. But I’m also concerned about the conditions under which many of these laborers work. Very few farms provide housing for farmworkers. They are forced to live in crowded and inadequate facilities. There is often poor nutrition, poor sanitation, and a lack of medical resources. Issues of child labor.

  • I’m disappointed in Congress and the President’s, and not just Trump but other Presidents as well, failure to address an immigration system that has been broken for decades.
  • There is a ballot initiative in the works for the Nov. 2018 election that could repeal Oregon’s sanctuary law. If the initiative makes it onto the ballot, this would be a good chance for Oregon voters to decide.

8. County Sheriff in Oregon opposed to sanctuary cities

As a county sheriff in Oregon, you are deeply concerned with protecting law and order in your community. In each of the 36 counties in Oregon, the Sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer.

Their responsibilities cover the entire spectrum of law enforcement — criminal investigation, search and rescue, service of legal process of the courts, the operation of the county jail, and total police services on a 24-hour basis. The Sheriff’s Office must provide court security, transport all criminals to and from penal institutions, and is also called upon to handle mental patients within their jurisdiction. This requires county sheriffs to work closely and effectively with all members and organizations in their communities. In many counties, the Oregon Sheriff is directing large numbers of personnel, and managing budgets in excess of several million dollars. 
Main reason for coming to this town hall meeting:

I came here today to talk about the ways we can make our community safer. As an officer who took an oath to protect and serve our communities, I feel that it is extremely important to work together in order to create and maintain the safest environment possible. Law enforcement agencies need to collaborate and utilize all the available resources. This is why I do not agree with cities becoming “sanctuaries” and refusing to assist the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. By refusing to collaborate with our agency, local law enforcement agencies are undermining United States law.

This County Sheriff’s views are:
  • It my job to protect the people in my community. I am just doing my job by upholding the law. If someone is here illegally, it is part of your responsibility to apply the law.

  • Under our current laws, illegal entry into the United States makes an alien subject to federal criminal misdemeanors.

  • Illegal immigrants are more likely to commit crimes, including violent crimes.

  • A too lenient immigration enforcement policy, coupled with an attitude to not secure our boarders creates an environment that is prone to terrorism

  • There are sheriffs in Oregon who do not notify US Immigration and Customs Enforcement when they arrest illegal aliens. More than that, they do not even disclose basic identifying information such as booking photos, fingerprints, and addresses. This stems from a very narrow reading of Oregon law that some believe requires a federal criminal arrest warrant before releasing even this basic information about a detainee. Of course, it’s virtually impossible for federal authorities to get such a warrant without this basic information. I feel that state and local governments should help enforce federal immigration laws.

  • Oregon’s sanctuary law puts our local law enforcement officials in the position of choosing whether to violate state or federal law.

  • I don’t believe that Oregon law prevents the housing of individuals who have already been captured for other reasons. We do not capture or arrest individuals. We simply continue to house those who have already been detected an apprehended.

  • The funds we receive from ICE contracts and federal grants have done a lot of good for our prisoner population. We are now able to offer treatment and rehabilitation services, including substance abuse treatment, anger management counseling, parenting skills and tips for reentering society. And we’ve seen the recidivism rate among released individuals go way down.

9. County Sheriff in Oregon in favor of sanctuary cities

As county sheriff in Oregon, you are deeply concerned with protecting law and order in your community. In each of the 36 counties in Oregon, the Sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer.

Their responsibilities cover the entire spectrum of law enforcement — criminal investigation, search and rescue, service of legal process of the courts, the operation of the county jail, and total police services on a 24-hour basis. The Sheriff’s Office must provide court security, transport all criminals to and from penal institutions, and is also called upon to handle mental patients within their jurisdiction. This requires county sheriffs to work closely and effectively with all members and organizations in their communities. In many counties, the Oregon Sheriff is directing large numbers of personnel, and managing budgets in excess of several million dollars. 

Main reason for coming to this town hall meeting:

I came here today to talk about the ways we can make our community safer. As an officer who took an oath to protect and serve our communities, I feel that it is extremely important to work together in order to create and maintain the safest environment possible. I believe the key to safe communities is establishing trust between law enforcement and a community’s residents. This is why I support the sanctuary law and will not assist Federal Immigration and Customs officials with detaining and deporting people who reside or work in my county.

This County Sheriff’s facts and views are:

  • Local law enforcement should be focused on building trust within the community, not doing the job of federal immigration enforcement.

  • Increased ICE presence deters people from visiting the courthouse to access important services. Courthouses need to be safe locations for people to contest evictions, seek a restraining order from abuse, or attend a custody hearing. People should not be afraid to show up.

  • Cooperation between local officials and ICE has a negative impact on public safety because immigrants are afraid to contact local police. This means that victims of domestic violence or other crimes do not report and do not want to participate in trials as witnesses for fear that they will be caught up themselves in the immigration system. We can’t have people afraid to access justice.

  • My office does not give ICE officers access to courthouse areas not open to the public, does not permit ICE officers from maintaining a presence in any county correctional facility, and does not hold people in county jails on ICE detainers or conduct any immigration enforcement actions.
  • We know that terrorism can occur anywhere, not just in major cities. But the way to combat terrorism is to build relationships with communities not tear down lines of communication. Our best source of information about illegal activity, including potential terrorism, comes from within those same communities the bad guys live and operate.

  • We follow a 2014 decision by a federal judge who ruled that immigration detainers from the federal government—which are requests to hold inmates who would otherwise be free to go before ICE agents could show up to claim them—weren’t legitimate grounds to keep people in jail. This case, Miranda-Olivares v. Clackamas County, found that keeping a person in custody solely on the basis of an ICE detainer violated her constitutional rights.

  • Early in 2017, the Governor signed into law HB 3464, which limits the information we can give to ICE for persons in custody. We can share the name of the person in custody, but we cannot share the person’s address, associates, work or school information, contact information, or the times of their court hearings in some cases.

10. DACA Enrollee / Dreamer

As a DACA Enrollee / Dreamer, this is a deeply personal and important issue to you. You want to put a human face to these issues so that everyone understands that real people are affected by immigration policies and attitudes toward immigrants, legal or not.

Main reason for coming to this town hall meeting:

I came here today to represent the hundreds of thousands of people just like me who know no other home except for the United States. Brought here illegally by our parents when we were just children, we share the same love for this country and hope for the American Dream as anyone else here. The only difference is that we are not legal citizens, and therefore we live in fear that at any time we can be deported back to countries we might have never even visited. We are called Dreamers because our hope is that the hard work we have devoted to our education, our families, our communities, and our jobs will pay off in being allowed to reach the American Dream just like any other American.

This DACA recipient’s facts and views are:

  • In 2012, President Barack Obama issued a directive to establish the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. In addition to protecting immigrants who were brought to the United States before the age of 16 from deportation for a renewable two-year period, it granted a work permit to qualified immigrants who were under age 31 on June 15, 2012. Applicants paid a $465 fee for processing and gave all their contact information (name, address, phone number) to the government.

  • An estimated 800,000 undocumented Americans have enrolled in DACA.

  • I am concerned that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump will follow through on their plans to end DACA. I don’t know what that will mean for me and others like me.

  • I am especially concerned about the end of DACA because I voluntarily gave the government all of my personal information when I applied for DACA. Will the government use that information against me to deport me? I put my faith in the government. How do I trust the government now?

  • Because of the work permit I was able to get under DACA, I have a good part time job that helps me pay for classes at the local community college, where I am studying to be a school teacher. With the changes to DACA, I am worried that I will get fired from my job because my employer won’t consider me to be a reliable employee. If I lose my job, I will have to quit school.

  • The average age of Dreamers enrolled in DACA is 24 years old. People 25 and younger make up 2/3 of active DACA recipients. 30% are high school age. How can we make plans for our education and careers if we are at risk of being deported?
  • 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school every year. Even though there is no guarantee to higher education for undocumented students, 30% of DACA recipients complete 2 or 4-year degree programs. This compares to only 8% of undocumented student-age residents who are not enrolled in DACA.

  • 25% of DACA enrollees are ages 26-30. These people have jobs and families. Even if they are married to US citizens and are parents to US citizens, they can be deported if DACA is ended. What happens to their families then?

  • DACA recipients live with families who have a wide range of immigration statuses. A large percentage of DACA recipients live with parents, siblings, and children with different immigration statuses. In one survey, 25% of DACA recipients said they had children who are US citizens. The United States says it is a country that promotes family values. How does deporting parents, siblings, and other family members from their families promote families?

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