GRANTS PASS, Ore. — In response to a letter signed by multiple Oregon county sheriffs in support of Measure 105—a controversial ballot measure aimed at repealing Oregon's equally controversial "sanctuary" law—Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel posted a statement on Tuesday.
"While I did not officially endorse the Clatsop County Sheriff’s letter, I am not opposed to it. I am in support of addressing our sanctuary status as I consider myself a conservative and don’t appreciate where we are now. Not being able to even ask if someone is a US citizen seems ridiculous," said Daniel in a Facebook post on the JCSO page.
The letter in question came from the office of Clatsop County Sheriff Thomas Bergin, and gained the signatures from 15 other sheriffs from primarily rural Oregon counties—including Curry County Sheriff John Ward, Klamath County Sheriff Chris Kaber, and Lake County Sheriff Mike Taylor.
"The [sanctuary] statute undermines respect for law in significant ways," Bergin said in his letter. "It tells illegal immigrants that Oregon considers immigration-law violations so inconsequential as to be unworthy of police and sheriffs' attention. In doing so, it legitimizes those violations and encourages more. As well, the statute invites the contempt of U.S. citizens and legal residents, whom Oregon expects to, abide by all laws."
Bergin also invoked the recent death of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts, allegedly at the hands of an illegal immigrant, claiming that the case has "refocused attention on the violence and heartbreak illegal-immigrant criminals can visit on Americans and their families."
Measure 105 is designed to repeal the state law (Oregon Revised Statute 181A.820) that discourages law enforcement officers from investigating people whose only violation of law stems directly from violation of federal immigration laws. The statute does not prevent police from investigating, prosecuting, or referring illegal immigrants to federal immigration authorities if they are wanted for any other criminal offense.
According to Daniel, however, Measure 105 would not accomplish what it promises to do. "That being said, M105 does very little to repeal it. While it does repeal HB 181 we then move right back into HB 3464 which changes almost nothing. Many voters don’t know that."
Ultimately, Daniel says that he is content to leave the decision up to the voters. "M105 is going to the voters and I have chosen to allow the citizens to vote and then support their direction. As Sheriff it is my responsibility to serve the citizens in whichever direction they ask me to go and I took an oath to do that."
The full text of Sheriff Bergin's letter may be read or downloaded below.