Shearer: Measure 105 would rekindle racial profiling, make discrimination commonplace

To the Editor:

It is unfortunate Union County Sheriff Boyd Rasmussen was among the 16 Oregon sheriffs across Oregon to add their signatures asking voters to vote yes on Measure 105. Notably, the other 20 sheriffs declined to sign the inflammatory letter authored by Clatsop County Sheriff Thomas Bergin. Bergin’s letter claims law enforcement officers have too much “integrity” to racially profile.

Voter approval of the measure on the Nov. 6 statewide ballot would rekindle racial profiling in a way Oregon has not seen since the original law deterring it was passed in 1987. The campaign for Measure 105 is based on blatant bigotry. Measure 105 would overturn the decades-old law (Oregon Revised Statute 181A.820) protecting both immigrants and local law enforcement in our state. The law was passed in 1987 and has had bipartisan support, including among law enforcement, which recognizes that keeping Oregon communities safe means protecting all Oregonians, regardless of ethnicity, nationality or immigration status.

By overturning this law, Measure 105 would authorize state and local law enforcement resources for use in federal immigration activities instead of investing those resources in local crime prevention.

The group supporting Measure 105 calls itself Oregonians for Immigration Reform — a misleading name. Most OFIR money comes from outside Oregon, and OFIR is not about reform, but about rolling us back to a time when racial discrimination was commonplace in our state. OFIR is receiving thousands of dollars from far-right and white nationalist groups outside Oregon. OFIR is recognized by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a nativist extremist group with ties to white nationalism.

Voting no on Proposition 105 is the decent thing to do.

Mike Shearer

La Grande