Sam Carpenter on Immigration

Since 1987, Oregon has been a sanctuary state. ORS 181A.820 prohibits Oregon law enforcement from cooperating with the federal government to enforce immigration law, even when dangerous serial immigration violators threaten our safety. This must end.

In addition to sanctuary state laws that prevent Oregon law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities, Oregon has judges who blatantly help illegal aliens escape justice. Approximately 10% of Oregon’s prison population are foreign nationals – more than double the percentage of the general population. And half of the illegal aliens in Oregon prisons are held for sex crimes. We must appoint judges who believe in law and order, and will work with the federal government to ensure dangerous criminal illegal aliens are no longer a threat and a burden to our public.

Voting is a sacred right for lawful citizens. It is a not a privilege to be handed out for political gain. The fundamental rights that come only with citizenship provide an incentive for naturalization, a goal towards which lawful immigrants can advance while assimilating into our American society and working towards obtaining citizenship.

Under federal law, illegal aliens are not eligible for public benefits using federal funding. However, Oregon has adopted numerous federal waivers and uses countless administrative loopholes to provide public benefits to illegal aliens using both state and federal funds. For example, pregnant illegal aliens are eligible for the Oregon Health Plan – and now illegal aliens can even receive free abortion in Oregon. We believe public benefits should be used as a safety net for our citizens, not as an entitlement for those taking advantage of the system while in our country illegally.

Oregon’s K-12 system costs more and more each year – with less and less to show for it. One major component of the ballooning cost is the burden of foreign-language students in the classrooms. The cost of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) instruction in Oregon is over $600 million per year – that’s $1.2 billion out of the $8.2 billion biennial budget. Not all LEP students are here illegally – many are U.S. citizens born to immigrant parents, and others have come to our country as refugees. But when students leave school without learning English, they face barriers to employment and productivity, and are more likely to have to rely on government assistance. We support mandatory English-language immersion for all LEP students.

In addition, in 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Plyler v. Doe, ruled that all children present in the United States have a right to public education, even illegal aliens. While Oregon cannot overrule the U.S. Supreme Court, states can – and do – pass laws intended to test Supreme Court rulings, and over the years, many such decisions have been revised or even reversed through such legal challenges. We believe in challenging the status quo and leading the way for necessary progress to reform education law.

“We are a nation of immigrants, and Oregon will welcome immigrants – but we as a society must uphold our laws and secure our borders, so those who wish to come to America legally can do so safely and begin the journey towards citizenship and living the American dream.” – Sam Carpenter