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Harvest Feast Highlights Immigrant Rights

Each year, the Civil Liberties Defense Center’s Harvest Feast benefit highlights civil liberties issues related to food production, like pesticide sprays and genetically modified organisms. This year’s theme, “Fiesta en el Jardin,” honors the work that CLDC and its partners have done for immigrant communities in Oregon.

CDLC’s Oct. 5 Harvest Feast at Mount Pisgah features a five-course organic Latin dinner, wine, sangria and Ninkasi beer, plus music from Sol de los Andes. 

CLDC attorney Lauren Regan says the CLDC has been holding immigrants’ rights trainings in rural Oregon. She says many Latino immigrants working in nurseries, canneries or slaughterhouses are unaware that “everybody, whether you’re documented or not, has the same exact Constitutional rights in the U.S.” The trainings included information on basic rights, how to interact with law enforcement and deportation proceedings.

The CLDC and the Rural Organizing Project also met with local law enforcement agencies after hearing about local police attempting to enforce immigration laws, which is prohibited by Oregon law. “We would get anecdotal reports from those communities talking about their local police setting up road blocks on the only road into a farm where those migrant workers worked,” Regan says. “They would stop every car and basically ask for drivers licenses and other pretexts in order to try to get as many brown-skinned people deported as possible.”

Regan says the law against local enforcement of federal immigration laws was put in place to further public safety. “Oregon passed this law specifically saying local cops can’t enforce immigration laws, and the reason that they did it was because they wanted everyone to feel safe if they had to report a crime,” she says. “An undocumented woman, in order to feel safe to call the police as a result of a domestic violence incident, needs to know when the cops come, she’s not going to end up deported.”

In addition to dinner and entertainment, the CLDC will auction off an all-inclusive stay at Breitenbush Retreat Center, tickets to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and local restaurant gift certificates. Speakers include Sarah Cantrill and Jorge Navarro of Huerto de la Familia. The outdoor venue will have heaters in case of a chill.