Don’t bet on public support for Oregon’s sanctuary law


Ballot Measure 105, which would throw out Oregon’s Sanctuary law, doesn’t have a prayer in November, right?

Certainly not in Democrat-led Oregon with its progressive bastions of Multnomah, Lane and Benton Counties and the large overwhelmingly liberal population of Portland.

Don’t be so sure.

Beneath the surface of highly visible and noisy liberal activism there’s considerable concern among the general public about illegal immigration and its ties to a breakdown in respect for the law.

Even many diehard liberals, though supportive of legal immigration, are showing frustration with illegal immigration and with those advocating open borders and the abolition of ICE.

Many are becoming not just uncomfortable with illegal immigration, but hostile to it, seeing as as inimical to an ordered society.

If there was ever a consensus among liberals that welcoming all immigrants, legal and illegal, was the right and moral thing to do, that consensus has shattered.

In a March 2018 Gallup poll, for example, 58 percent of respondents, including 48 percent of Democrats, said they were worried about illegal immigration. This level of concern is typical of what Gallup has measured over the past 18 years, apart from a window between 2006 and 2011 when roughly two-thirds of Americans expressed worry.

That may be one reason why Measure 105’s opponents have come together as Oregonians United Against Profiling, avoiding any reference to illegal immigrants, undocumented immigrants or illegal aliens.

An early sign of public discomfort with illegal immigrants in Oregon came in 2014. That was when, despite a slew of organizations and public figures urging a yes vote, voters overwhelmingly overturned a state lawthat would have given state issued photo ID in the form of driver cards“without requiring a person to provide proof of legal presence in the United States.”

Public impatience with the ICE protest camp adjacent to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices in South Waterfront was also a sign of liberal weariness with immigration activists.


While Portland liberals might once have been expected to embrace the protesters, it became clear as the protest continued that support for the camp was dwindling, particularly among residents and business owners in the South Waterfront area. Liberals there didn’t want their upscale neighborhood trashed by hostile, obscenity-spewing, pathway-blocking, unruly protesters either. Even Mayor Wheeler, who initially took a hands-off stance, buckled to public pressure to close down the camp.

Liberal tolerance in Oregon, particularly in Portland, is also being tested by problems associated with escalating homelessness.

When Officer Daryl Turner, president of the Portland Police Association, wrote in a July 16 Facebook post, “Our city has become a cesspool,”the public response was largely supportive.


In a KGW News poll asking if viewers agreed with Turner, 94 percent of respondents said yes. Even many online commenters on Portland media sites agreed. “I am a liberal, but am with police on this one,” said a Willamette Week commenter. “Undermining their hard work is counterproductive and hurts us all.”

Awareness if shifting public attitudes on illegal immigrants may have contributed to today’s statement by Knute Buehler, Republican candidate for governor, that he supports Measure 105.

“I see it as way to remove barriers between local and state law enforcement communicating and cooperating with federal officials to keep Oregonians safe. It’s regrettable that this measure is even needed.”

All this tells me the defeat of Measure 105 is far from a sure thing.




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