Four Democrat in the Oregon House of Representatives have formally requested documents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement about recent arrests of Oregon immigrants.
In their public records request, Representative Teresa Alonso Leon (D-Woodburn) as well as Representative Diego Hernandez (D-Portland), Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) and Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson (D-Portland), cited arrests at county courthouses as well as of a young man who was part of the Obama administration program that provided some amnesty to people who arrived in this country as children.
The lawmakers are seeking to understand ICE's policies as part of an effort to reassure immigrant communities that they're not in danger to go to the doctor's office or to school.
"I have heard stories of children who are afraid to go to school in case it brings attention to their immigrant parents, and families who are going without basic supplies due to rumors of raids at the local grocery stores," said Alonso Leon.
"I have seen restaurants that are normally bustling with customers that are completely empty because so many people in our community are afraid to leave their homes. We need greater transparency about how and where ICE is operating so that parents don't have to live in fear that they will be deported if they bring their child to the doctor."
Here is the full statement:
Rep. Alonso Leon submits FOIA request demanding transparency from ICE
Representatives Alonso Leon and Hernandez, joined by Speaker of the House Tina Kotek and Majority Leader Williamson, submit request for information from ICE regarding recent enforcement actions in Oregon
SALEM – Representative Teresa Alonso Leon, joined by Representative Diego Hernandez, Speaker Tina Kotek and Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson, submitted a Freedom of Information Act Request to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) today demanding greater transparency regarding their actions in Oregon.
After the inauguration of President Trump and his subsequent executive orders on immigration, many communities in Oregon have been experiencing fear and anxiety, especially in areas such as Woodburn, Hood River, and Hillsboro that have large populations of undocumented immigrants and mixed immigration status families. The FOIA request aims to gain insight into how ICE enforcement activities have changed in recent weeks, including whether policies and rules made to protect immigrants while they are in so called “sensitive locations” such as schools, courthouses, and doctors’ offices are still being followed.
“I have heard stories of children who are afraid to go to school in case it brings attention to their immigrant parents, and families who are going without basic supplies due to rumors of raids at the local grocery stores,” said Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon (D – Woodburn & North Salem). “I have seen restaurants that are normally bustling with customers that are completely empty because so many people in our community are afraid to leave their homes. We need greater transparency about how and where ICE is operating so that parents don’t have to live in fear that they will be deported if they bring their child to the doctor.”
The arrest and potential deportation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient Francisco J. Rodriguez Dominguez this weekend in Portland has heightened tensions among the immigrant rights community. Francisco was an active part of his community in SE Portland, coaching soccer at Glenfair Elementary and volunteering at the Holy Cross Episcopal Church.
“It’s troubling that ICE decided to barge in to Francisco’s home without a warrant and arrest him early on Sunday morning, right before families were getting ready to go to church. Francisco has been a member of Oregon’s community since elementary school and is an active member of his church. Targeting Francisco in this way shows just how inhumane ICE’s tactics have become,” said Rep. Diego Hernandez (D – Portland) who represents the district Francisco lives in.
Gaining insight into enforcement actions that target previously “safe” populations such as DACA recipients is crucial in evaluating the security of our communities.