Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury Tells President Trump: “We Will Stand Up to Bullying”

Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese joins refusal to hold immigrants for deportation.

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury at a Jan. 25 press conference. (Piper McDaniel)

Officials across the Portland region—including Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese—pledged to defy President Donald Trump's pressure to hold undocumented immigrants for deportation.

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury said Trump's executive order to remove federal funds from so-called "sanctuary cities" won't cause the county to yield.

"Federal funding is important," Kafoury said in a press conference today. "But we will stand up to bullying."

Reese's presence at today's press conference was especially key. As the county's top cop, he runs the jails that could choose to detain undocumented immigrants for deportation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

(That was always unlikely. As WW reported this morning, to change the existing policy in Multnomah County would defy a U.S. District Court ruling from 2014. In that case, the judge ruled that Clackamas County had violated a woman's constitutional rights by holding her at ICE's request.)

Reese reiterated that refusal, and said immigration holds would would make policing harder by causing people to distrust law enforcement

"People need to feel safe," Reese said. "We need to nurture a relationship to trust."

Reese and Kafoury were joined by County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, and groups including the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, Causa, SEIU Local 49, Our Oregon, and students from Portland Community College.

"I am here to tell you today that we are not going to turn our back on the most vulnerable members of our community because Donald Trump is threatening us," said Vega Pederson. "We are here to tell members of our community that we will stand up for you."

Matt De Santos of the ACLU of Oregon declared intentions to sue the White House, stating that if Trump chose to pursue aggressive anti-immigrant policies, "the ACLU will see you in court."

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