Recently I learned that Lane County Sheriff’s deputies are instructed to inform Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when undocumented immigrants, residents of our county, will be released from jail as well as allowing ICE special access to the back entrance of the Lane County jail, further facilitating arrests by ICE.
Both of these practices are in violation of Oregon’s Sanctuary Statute and Lane County’s board order 60.950. Lane County voters made it clear that we are in favor of the Sanctuary Statue, when Measure 105 was defeated by a 36.8 percent margin in November 2018.
Of the many reasons this upsets me, I’ll address the issue of public safety. Public safety is, after all, what the sheriff is elected to provide. The sheriff’s behavior instills a fear of deportation that has the inevitable effect of making victims (both documented and undocumented) less likely to report crimes to the police.
This erosion of trust between law enforcement and the public makes immigrants targets of criminal behavior, which affects all residents’ safety.
If residents are afraid to report crimes, then criminals can commit the same crime repeatedly without consequence. Not only are the sheriff’s actions unlawful, they are harmful to the entire community. The sheriff is accountable to us. The sheriff is not accountable to ICE.
Please join me in supporting our county commissioners in intervening against the sheriff’s illegal procedure.