By editorial board • 

ICE ruling rooted in practicality

Immigration is an emotional issue, but Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Martha Walters did not make her decision based on emotion Nov. 14, when she curtailed federal immigration agents’ ability to apprehend people in Oregon’s 36 county courthouses. She made a decision based on clear-eyed and dispassionate practicality.

The presence of Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents in county courthouses discourages immigrants — whether in the country legally or not — from making essential visits.

Clearly, if people fear testifying in court, showing up for trial or otherwise taking part in the criminal justice system, there are negative consequences for everyone. On that basis, local law enforcement officers have argued for decades they need to maintain cooperation and open lines of communication with recent immigrants to their communities.

That’s why Oregon legislators therefore passed what’s been labeled the state’s “sanctuary law” 30 years ago. It prohibits use of state and local resources to enforce federal immigration law if a suspect’s only crime is being in the country illegally.

While there have been numerous calls to repeal the law, very few originated from law enforcement offices. Enforcement professionals see — as does Chief Justice Walters — the bigger picture. They understand that treating everyone who enters or overstays without authorization as a potentially dangerous criminal serves no purpose beyond feeding myopic ideology.

Remember, federal agents can still enter courthouses and arrest specific individuals suspected of specific crimes. But they need warrants signed by judges. They can’t just go on fishing trips.

Before Walters’ ruling, agents could enter Oregon courthouses and detain people on authority of arrest warrants issued by fellow agents. These warrants amounted to little more than blank checks for apprehension.

Agents outside the Washington County Courthouse two years ago tried to arrest Isidro Andrade-Tafolla, a county employee holding American citizenship until American Civil Liberties Union observers and other activists intervened.

After examining ICE records, reporters for the Los Angeles Times concluded more than 1,500 Americans had been falsely taken into ICE custody between 2012 and 2018.

Opponents of the ruling argue there is no safer place for agents to make arrests than the controlled environment of a courthouse.

That might prove true if agents were going after Bonnie and Clyde. Of course, if they were, they would have little problem getting a judge to sign a warrant.

But they’re not tracking down America’s Most Wanted. More often than not, their actions serve only to jeopardize the overall public safety they claim to be defending.

Imposing common-sense regulation on their conduct was long overdue.

 

Comments

Jim

Another left wing article from the editorial department. I don’t understand what you people don’t understand about illegal immigrants. If you are here legally you can go to a courthouse and not worry about a thing. Our emergency rooms,schools and roads are overrun with illegal immigrants with no insurance and no driver’s license so why should we as legal American citizens not let ICE do their job anywhere at any time?

OregonBorn

Yawn....more liberal opinions from the NR.

How about presenting differing views, or at least neutral news rather than regurgitating the same pieces over and over again? Let the reader decide what they believe after hearing from differing opinions and facts. You do remember facts?

You know, news.

sbagwell

1) Your are referring to an editorial opinion piece published in our editorial opinion section. In the opinion section, you should expect opinion, not news. The rest of the paper is chock full of news, if that's what you're looking for.
2) We don't expect any of our readers to depend solely on us for expressions of opinion on issues of the day. We expect them to find all of the differing opinions they like over the air, on the internet or in other print publications. And yes, we expect them to decide what to believe on their own. Our only intent it to offer one view they can consider along with whatever others they seek out or encounter.
Steve Bagwell, Editorial Page Editor

Bill B

Mr. Bagwell says; "Our only intent it to offer one view they can consider along with whatever others they seek out or encounter." OK. but does that view always have to lean to the left?

sbagwell

The vast majority of our editorials on on issues rooted in city or county government here at home. And the vast majority of those issues have no discernible left/right or Democratic/Rpublican orientation.
We opposed repeal of the ambulance surcharge ordinance because we felt for-profit national chains were getting a free ride off taxpayers. We called for an outside look at concerns raised about the Gospel Mission shelter. We recently published an editorial saying public servants aren't getting paid to engage in private drama, cited two local examples. We have endorsed Republicans and Democrats in roughly equal measure for decades, incluing local rep Ron Noble two elections in a row. So where's the left lean in that?
We also endorsed conservative Mary Starrett for county commissioner. I don't recall you complaining about that one.
Here's what I think: You only remember the editorials to which you take ardent objection. The rest slide right by.
Steve

Joel

Come on NR. The pro illegal-immigration propaganda posing as editorial pieces is getting old. Surely you can find something else to pontificate on, can't you?

sbagwell

We have never editorialized in favor of illegal immigration, or even close.
We did support retention of Oregon's bar on diversion of tax-supported local law enforcement resources to help federal agents perform a federal apprehension function.
But so did about two-thirds of all Oregonians, so it would be pretty hard to classify that as a leftist stance. Mainstream would be closer to the truth.
If you don't agree with our editorials on immigration issues as they affect Oregon, you are free to ignore them. No one is trying to force you to change your mind, vote or stance in any way.
We offer our opinion, you offer yours. That's how it works.
Steve

gregtompkins

Remember Parker Moore!

gregtompkins

How about the media quit being complicit with the Democrat party and start mentioning it in their stories when a drunken driver, a murderer, is an illegal alien? And why don’t the jails even mention the inmates who have ICE hold any more?