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Gov. Brown signs immigrant tuition equity, driver's license bills at May Day rally

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed two bills supporting immigrants living in Oregon at the annual May Day rally Tuesday.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed two bills supporting immigrants living in Oregon at the annual May Day rally Tuesday.

May Day, also known as International Workers' Day, has evolved from focusing on workers' rights to include immigrant rights. Oregon's rally, which joins hundreds of rallies throughout the country, drew roughly 1,500 supporters to the Oregon State Capitol last year.

This year, Brown signed Senate Bill 1563, which allows undocumented students in Oregon to continue getting access to lower tuition costs, scholarships and other financial aid; and House Bill 4111, which allows the DMV to renew and replace a limited-term driver's license for DACA and Temporary Protected Status recipients whose status may have expired due to federal immigration policy changes.

Andrea Williams, the executive director of immigrant rights organization Causa Oregon, said rally speakers will focus on defending Oregon's 30-year-old sanctuary law prohibiting local and state police from enforcing federal immigration laws.

Three Republican legislators are spearheading an initiative petition that would repeal Oregon Statute 181.850, which states law enforcement agencies may not use agency money, equipment or personnel to detect or apprehend people who are only violating federal immigration laws by being foreign citizens in the United States.

Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence, Rep. Sal Esquivel, R-Medford, and Rep. Greg Barreto, R-Pendleton, are sponsoring Initiative Petition 22. Oregonians for Immigration Reform, an organization that says it's calling for an end to illegal immigration, is "cosigning" the initiative.

"If that initiative petition makes it to the ballot, and if a majority of Oregon voters say 'yes, we want to repeal,' it would be taking us back to an Oregon where racial profiling is even more rampant today," Williams said.

Williams points to some defining arrests or detainment of United States citizens carried out by local Oregon police officers that sparked the passage of the state's sanctuary state law in 1987.

Delmiro Trevino had been physically detained without a warrant by Polk County Sheriff's deputies in an Independence restaurant in 1977 and was later released after deputies established he was a longtime resident and citizen.

Ten years after his arrest, Oregon passed its sanctuary state law with the help of Rocky Barilla, the first Latino elected to the Oregon House who sponsored the sanctuary state bill, and who also served as a lawyer for Trevino.

Speakers are also expected to discuss the "continued need" for drivers licenses for all immigrants living in Oregon and the importance of supporting workers unions.

Williams is expected to be joined by Rep. Teresa Alonso León, D-Woodburn, Sen. James Manning, Jr., D-North Eugene, Oregon School Employee Association President Tim Stoelb, and Ramon Ramirez, the president of Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste, or PCUN.

Email Lauren Hernandez at lehernande@statesmanjournal.com, call 503-399-6743 or follow on Twitter @LaurenPorFavor

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