Taking Legal Action for the Promise of Sanctuary

Today the Rural Organizing Project and Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC) filed a lawsuit against the City of Cottage Grove and its Police Department for violating Oregon’s Sanctuary Promise Act. With Oregon Law Center’s legal representation, ROP and CALC are asking a judge to order Cottage Grove to stop using local resources to assist the federal government in enforcing immigration laws. This marks the first lawsuit filed in Oregon of this kind. Click here for the press release we sent out today, more information about the Sanctuary Promise Act, and how community leaders across Oregon can take action to make sure the law is being followed in every community!

Back in 1987, Oregon was the first state in the country to pass a Sanctuary Law to protect human rights by making it illegal for local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration policies. Since then, Oregonians have overwhelmingly supported our state’s sanctuary law. Working together in 2018, we handily defeated Ballot Measure 105, an effort by the national anti-immigrant Right to repeal the law. In 2021, we passed the Sanctuary Promise Act to strengthen Oregon’s Sanctuary Laws. Thanks to the hard work of community leaders, including rural human dignity groups, Oregon now has the strongest sanctuary policies in the entire country! Learn more about the Sanctuary Promise Act in Action here.

For years, Cottage Grove has topped the list of Oregon communities impacted by detentions and deportations. During the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, ROP ran a food pantry out of our Community Building Center in Cottage Grove. Many migrants and refugees shared with us that they live in constant fear that they or their family members would be taken into custody at a routine traffic stop and end up in the private detention center in Tacoma for months before being deported. This fear was so great that many families shared that they weren’t going to doctor’s appointments or accessing public services.

For years, Cottage Grove-area human dignity groups have organized and fundraised to help families impacted by detention and deportation, raising money for childcare, rent, and legal costs. Time and time again, teachers, business owners, service providers, and neighbors have coordinated rapid-response support for children and families who lost a parent to deportation.

The Sanctuary Promise Act was passed to stop these tragedies and to create an environment in which everyone in our community can live with safety and human dignity. We filed this lawsuit because we now believe an order from a judge is needed for the Cottage Grove Police to comply with the Sanctuary Promise Act and, in all honesty, our communities cannot wait any longer.

Ready to learn more and take action in your community?

  1. Do you know if your local law enforcement is following this new law? We’ve heard from human dignity groups across the state that many agencies simply don’t know about the law. Set up a meeting with your local law enforcement and make sure they know that the Sanctuary Promise Act has new rules for local police, county sheriffs, and deputies. Let us know how it goes!
  2. The Sanctuary Promise Act funded a hotline through the Department of Justice where community members can report violations of the Sanctuary Promise Act and families impacted by detention and deportation can receive immediate financial support to help cover rent, bills, and childcare. Check out this flyer with information about the hotline!
  3. Amplify the news about this lawsuit and the upcoming organizing toolkit (coming soon, stay tuned!) on your email lists, social media, and more!
  4. Build our collective power to act swiftly and effectively to ensure our communities are safe for all Oregonians! Become an ROP Sustainer with a monthly contribution of $10 or more. 
  5. Stay tuned for more resources and tools to take local action for statewide impact! Was this email forwarded to you and you’d like to join our email list for updates? Sign up here!

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