Here To Stay club fears passage of Measure 105

Drone photograph of the Memorial Union Quad.

Donald Orr, News Contributor

With election day just around the corner, Oregon voters will decide the fate of the state’s sanctuary law this upcoming Tuesday by voting on Oregon Ballot Measure 105.

If passed, the measure would repeal one of the oldest sanctuary laws in the country, and would allow the use of local and state law enforcement resources to enforce federal immigration laws. Many community members fear the implications if the measure were to pass, including members of Oregon State University advocacy group, Here to Stay.

Here to Stay is an OSU club whose members provide awareness on policies and programs impacting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival students and undocumented immigrants. Advocates for civil and immigrants’ rights, the group includes allies and DACA recipients themselves. Members have been canvassing throughout the Corvallis area in an effort to campaign for a ‘no’ vote on Oregon Ballot Measure 105.

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In the wake of President Trump’s statements on DACA last year, Here to Stay president Priscila Narcio helped establish the group with other students in fall 2017. Narcio and other Here to Stay members fear that the passage of Measure 105 would allow for racial profiling against immigrant families and people of color.

“If 105 were to pass, it would allow for local law enforcement to act like (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents—they would be able to ask for documentation,” Narcio said. “It would allow local law enforcement to racially profile people that look like immigrants, people of color.”

Measure 105 is sponsored by Oregonians for Immigration Reform, which is registered as a hate group according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Here to Stay member Juan Carlos Navarro says he is more familiar than he would like with racial profiling. The immigration activist is grateful that the advocacy group stands for civil rights.

“It shows that there are young people leading the charge,” Navarro said. “It shows that there’s a centralized group that stands for grassroots organizing to combat this issue.”

Navarro fears what the implications could mean for Oregonians of color.

“Any person that’s not white passing or not white would be at the mercy of their local law enforcement agency,” Navarro said.

Here to Stay member and community organizer Tabitha Pitzer is also concerned that racial stereotypes would lead law enforcement to target certain communities.

“How can you look at someone and just say they’re an immigrant? I’m an immigrant from South Africa, and no one thinks that because I’m white,” Pitzer said. “I don’t experience any of that.”

While OSU contracts out to Oregon State Police for public safety, the university would express its strong preference to continue to not allow OSP to ask for documentation on campus if the measure were passed, according to Vice President for University Relations and Marketing Steve Clark.

“In terms of its provisions, if adopted by voters, Measure 105 is directed at the policies and practices of law enforcement agencies – not universities,” Clark said via email. “If adopted, the measure would not change any statutes that govern Oregon State University, nor change OSU’s status as a sanctuary university.”

As DACA recipients, both Narcio and Navarro cannot vote in the midterm election. The two hope that Oregonians do their due diligence in taking part in this pivotal election.

“I can’t vote, I wish I could,” Narcio said. “I’m relying on my peers and my community to speak up for me in this important midterm election.”

“Whenever you cast your vote, imagine the hand of that field worker, that service worker, that undocumented student who can’t vote,” Navarro said. “You’re voting for more people than just yourself.”

The deadline to drop off a ballot is 8 p.m., next Tuesday.