10 Facts About Oregon's Anti-Racial Profiling Law

In 1987, Oregon passed ORS 181A.820, the anti-racial profiling law, which was the first of its kind in the United States. The law prohibits police from targeting people based solely on the color of their skin, their accent or their perceived immigration status. This law states that police cannot stop, detain, or interrogate you just because of how you look.

Here are 10 quicks facts about why it’s important to vote NO on Measure 105 and keep Oregon’s anti-racial profiling law.

1. Oregon has an ugly racist past
When Oregon was granted statehood in 1859, it was the the only state that explicitly prohibited people of color from living, working or owning property here. Discrimination and profiling by the police were common in communities of color and immigrant communities.

2. An arrest inspired Oregon’s anti-racial profiling law
In 1977, Delmiro Trevino, a U.S. citizen of Mexican descent, was interrogated about his immigration status by Polk County sheriffs at a restaurant. A later investigation found that Polk County had a de facto policy to racially-profile and round up people based on their perceived immigration status — identifying them as undocumented simply because of how they looked or sounded.

3. After the arrest, an attorney led the charge to pass the anti-racial profiling law
After the arrest, Trevino hired attorney Rocky Barrilla to represent him. Barilla brokered a deal saying that the INS could not call to encourage local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law. Then, in 1986, Barilla became the first Latino to elected the Oregon Legislature. Barilla and a large coalition of community groups collaborated to put forward a piece of legislation that would become Oregon's anti-racial profiling law. Read the full story here.

4. The anti-racial profiling law passed with near unanimous support
Local law enforcement agreed that the best use for their time and resources would be to focus on local crimes and not act as federal immigration agents. Both Republicans and Democrats agreed that there was no room for racial profiling in Oregon. The bill passed the House by a vote of 58 to 1 and the Senate by a vote of 29 to 1.

5. Oregon’s anti-racial profiling law has been around for 31 years

6. But now it’s under attack
Measure 105 would throw it out.

7. The group behind Measure 105 is a hate group
The group responsible for getting Measure 105 on the ballot, Oregonians for Immigration Reform, has been officially designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. They have clear financial ties to white supremacist funders. Here’s what the SPLC had to say about this group:

“For almost two decades OFIR has demonized immigrants while working closely with nationally recognized anti-immigrant groups and figures.  OFIR’s co-founders and current leadership also have longstanding ties to hate groups and a history of making racist statements.”

8. Measure 105 would make us all less safe
Trust is the foundation of good policing. But when police play the role of federal immigration agents, many immigrants will be too afraid to call them. Nobody should be afraid to call police, no matter what they look like, sound like, or what their immigration status may be.

9. Measure 105 is un-Oregonian
In Oregon, we believe in welcoming others, looking out for our neighbors, and building bridges of understanding. Immigrants join the long American tradition of coming here in search of a better life and the freedom and opportunity we offer. Diversity is one of America’s greatest strengths. It’s part of what defines us as a nation. It is important that Oregon remain a beacon of hope and freedom for people all over the world.

9. A broad coalition opposes Measure 105
Measure 105 is opposed by law enforcement, homegrown businesses like Nike and Columbia Sportswear, veterans, teachers, farmers, doctors, nurses, workers, Oregon immigrants with legal status, and people all around the state. Measure 105 would open the door to more racial profiling and civil rights violations, and would divide immigrant and non-immigrant Oregonians.

10. You get to decide whether Oregon should keep its anti-racial profiling law
Keep Oregon’s anti-racial profiling law. Help us defeat 105. Donate. Volunteer. Take action! VOTE NO ON 105!

Devon Downeysmith