Multnomah County Undersheriff Tim Moore's trip to El Paso, Texas, to a "border school and tour" hosted by an anti-immigration group cost local taxpayers $1,273.37.
As WW first reported yesterday, Moore spent Sept. 21 and 22 at a training hosted by the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform (FAIR). The sheriff's office says the trip was a training session about Mexican drug cartels, and today released a list of sessions at the conference, including "Drug Cartels: Structured Like Terrorist Organizations;" "Mexican Refugees Flee North—The Story of El Porvenir;" and "From the Texas Gulf Coast to a City Near You."
The accounting of the $1,237, released as a result of a request by WW, covered Moore's coach airfare, hotel, rental car and some meals. FAIR covered the cost of the training.
Immigration rights advocate and Causa Oregon Executive Director Francisco Lopez says he is "uncomfortable" with an official from the sheriff's office attending an event run by FAIR and spending public money to do so. FAIR has been a driving force behind immigration laws in Arizona, and the Southern Poverty Law Center labels the organization a "hate group.".
Moore has not responded to WW's requests to talk about the trip, and Sheriff Dan Staton has declined to be interviewed about his decision to send Moore to the conference. In a statement released Wednesday, Staton stressed that the sheriff's office has been working with Latino groups, including Causa, to talk about immigration enforcement issues.
He said he learned how sophisticated the drug groups are, and how horrifying their techniques of torture and violence have grown. "It was more just an overview of how we're all being impacted," Matlack says.
Matlack says he wanted to know what he could do in Oregon to stop the marijuana grows. However, he says, those questions were "not technically answered."
The Morrow County sheriff said that he isn't a member of FAIR or the Oregonians for Immigration Reform, which featured a photo of him, Moore and its president, Cynthia Kendoll, taken at a border fence during the conference.
Matlack added that there was no discussion of immigration policy. "None of those things were ever brought up or talked about," Matlack says . "We were there to learn more about drug cartels and how they're impacting us and our local area. We did talk about if there's anything else we can do to impact (cartels)—as far as from a police perspective. But we didn't get into specifics on that either."