Should Portland Stay A Sanctuary City?


Avery Eldon

About 110,000 Oregon immigrants are considered undocumented.

Avery Eldon, Staff Reporter

Almost three years ago, Donald Trump officially made the order to slash funding for sanctuary cities, which provide protections for undocumented immigrants. Soon enough panic erupted around the country. The fear inspired city government officials to take action in keeping dozens of cities around the country safe for immigrants.

In response to these funding cuts, which fortunately never took place, Ted Wheeler, the Mayor of Portland, responded in an article he wrote for The Oregonian. “For more than 150 years, Portland has been a destination for those wanting to apply their hard work to the purpose of creating a better life for themselves and their families,” he said.

“We are a city built on immigration,” Wheeler said.

Portland staying a sanctuary city is necessary because as Wheeler said, this city is built on immigration, and people who want to put in hard work for themselves and the future of their families deserve to stay here. Immigrants want a better future, just as we do, so why shouldn’t we give them that chance?

This April, President Trump made a series of statements about immigration in which he said, “We’ll bring the illegal—I call them ‘the illegals,’ they came across the border illegally—we’ll bring them to sanctuary city areas and let that particular area take care of it.”

With lots of fire surrounding President Trump over the past few months, less about sanctuary cities has been making headlines in the news, but that doesn’t mean this controversial subject has been forgotten.

About 10% of Oregon’s population is made up of immigrants, and 110,000 of those immigrants are considered undocumented. This large amount of “undocumented” immigrants has had an impact on the amount of ICE activity in the Portland Metro Area.

Living in Southeast Portland, I have heard of many occasions of ICE officers in neighborhoods throughout Portland. The popular media platform, Snapchat, is a place where many of my friends post warnings of rumored ICE raids around the city.

Since I can remember, hearing these stories and seeing chains of Snapchat warnings, I have always been terrified of the reality that many teens, adults, seniors, and children face.

As a teenager, it’s devastating to hear about girls and boys of all ages being seized into government custody. These girls and boys should be with their parents, in school learning, or hanging out with their friends, not being questioned about their citizenship.

And although President Trump accuses immigrants of committing crimes, studies have repeatedly found they are less likely to commit crimes compared to native born citizens.

I can’t imagine people fleeing their home country, and then years later being sent back after doing nothing but trying to make a living, paying taxes, and hoping for a better life for themselves and their families.

As a country known for freedom and democracy, we must come to the conclusion that everyone in our country — born here or not — is here for a reason. The journey immigrants take to become a citizen in the U.S. is not easy. Many of our ancestors were immigrants at one point. Staying a welcoming city to those who need us, and building trust with people from other countries is important for the future.