- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill limiting the information the state collects, in a move backers hope will shield the state’s illegal immigrants from danger of deportation.

The new law, which takes effect immediately, still lets state and local police share information with federal deportation agents if required by law, but would limit what information they have for sharing.

Under the new law, which the governor’s office said was signed Tuesday, agencies must not gather information about citizenship or immigration status, except in cases where specifically required.

The law also orders police not to share private information for purposes of enforcing federal immigration law. That would, for example, shield an illegal immigrant witness to a crime from having information shared with federal immigration officers concerning his contact details, work or school schedule, or appointments with public officials.

Backers said it keeps the state from becoming an arm of federal immigration enforcement, and should counter growing fear among illegal immigrants.

Ms. Brown’s signature comes just weeks after an arrest in a shocking crime that left Republicans saying the state should step up cooperation with immigration officials.

Police arrested 31-year-old Sergio Martinez last month, accusing him of binding and raping a 65-year-old Portland woman, then later the same day trying to kidnap a 24-year-old woman.

The arrest came a week after Martinez was released from the Multnomah County jail, despite a request by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that he be held for pickup. ICE said Martinez had already been deported to Mexico more than a dozen times.

ICE had issued a detainer request asking that Martinez be held, but the sheriff said they believe those detainer requests violate the law, and local authorities can only hold someone for the duration of their sentence or processing for state and local crimes.

The new law is not a sanctuary policy in the usual sense, in that it doesn’t push authorities to actively refuse cooperation. In fact, the law says cooperation should be given where it is required — which under federal law means information-sharing.

By slimming down the information collected, there’s less to share with federal authorities.

“This bill is all about the ‘undocumented,’ and while it serves as a symbol for the left, it is in reality a shield for criminal aliens to avoid justice,” said state Sen. Alan Olsen, a Republican, during last month’s debate in the legislature.

He said shielding criminal aliens endangers both citizens and illegal immigrants in the state.

The bill passed the state House and Senate on straight party-line votes, and was seen as a reaction to President Trump’s push for stiffer immigration enforcement.

Ms. Brown and state Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, both Democrats, requested the new law.

Testifying in defense of the legislation, the governor called it “a further step toward upholding the civil rights of all Oregonians and keeping our state out of federal immigration enforcement.”

“The bill was narrowly crafted to fulfill our obligations under federal law while minimizing our role in immigration enforcement,” she said.

The state has long had a law blocking police from detaining someone only for immigration violations.

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