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Final Push for Bill to Protect Undocumented Oregonians' Info

Immigrants' rights advocates want clear guidelines for the types of information that state and local agencies can release about undocumented Oregonians. (Greg Wahl-Stephens/Getty Images)
Immigrants' rights advocates want clear guidelines for the types of information that state and local agencies can release about undocumented Oregonians. (Greg Wahl-Stephens/Getty Images)
July 7, 2017

SALEM, Ore. – As Oregon lawmakers enter their final days of the session, immigrants' rights advocates are pushing state senators to pass a bill protecting the privacy of undocumented Oregonians.

Gov. Kate Brown and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum spearheaded House Bill 3464, to give guidelines to state entities on what information can and cannot be shared with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Opponents of the bill say it undermines federal law by shielding people who are undocumented.

But Andrea Williams, executive director of the immigrants' advocacy group Causa, says the bill is compliant with federal and state laws.

"So, it's not just about what information they are keeping private," she says. "It's also about making sure that schools and courthouses, and other public entities aren't held liable if they are keeping information they should be sharing, right? So, it's really to provide clarity and direction."

HB 3464 is currently in the state Senate. The legislative session ends on Mon., July 10.

Data from the Department of Homeland Security shows a 40-percent increase in arrests and deportations so far this year over last. Williams says arrests by ICE agents outside of courthouses and schools in Oregon are on the rise as well.

She thinks it's especially troubling that parents are being arrested when the state doesn't have the resources to take care of children when parents are deported.

"It's a moral issue because you're leaving children, most of whom are U.S. citizens, without parents and without a support system, without a breadwinner," she explains.

Williams says HB 3464 makes the state more inclusive for all residents and keeps more people in the workforce, helping the economy. She also praises legislation passed this week that expands health coverage to Oregon's 15,000 undocumented children.

UPDATE: The Senate has passed HB 3464, sending it to Governor Brown's desk.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR