[City of Portland - Code of Ordinances, Sec. 2-21, Prohibition on Immigrant Status Checks]
The rumor that the Portland City Council is considering changing or weakening the ordinance protecting the privacy of all residents from inquiry regarding immigration status is wrong.
We live in uncertain times; with a new administration in place and moving fast with unprecedented executive orders. It is understandable that our community, especially our immigrant, refugee, and Muslim neighbors, are anxious and fearful of what the future may hold.
But one thing is certain: the City of Portland values the diversity and inclusion of all, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion, and Portland has a number of policies in place which reflect that.
Portland Will Not Inquire About Immigration Status.
Under Section 2-21 of the Portland City Code, no police officer or employee may inquire as to the immigration status of any person, meaning that the City does not proactively collect and compile information related to a person’s immigration status. The limited exception is for cases where there is a reasonable suspicion that an individual is committing or has committed a felony or had been previously deported and is again present.
The city ordinance language was crafted by advocates, immigration law experts and Portland city attorneys during similarly threatening times. Passed in 2003, the ordinance was developed in response to federal raids targeting undocumented immigrants in our Latino community. Our city stood against discrimination then and we stand against discrimination now.
Our immigrant, refugee, and asylee friends and neighbors are active and peace-loving members of this community. They contribute to our high energy business, food, arts, and cultural sectors. They play essential roles in the economic strength of our small but vibrant city, the region, and the state.
The Portland ordinance language is so much clearer than a proclamation adopting an undefined label made up by those who would target and expel our neighbors. The Portland Ordinance goes beyond resolutions, to specific and measurable city policy that protects the right of privacy of all Portland residents without regard to citizenship status.
The Portland ordinance is strong and clear and if and when it comes to it, the Portland ordinance is legally defensible. I am confident that the Council will stand by this ordinance and continue to stand with all Portland families.