Event: City Council Work Session on Sanctuary City (2/22)


Resolution was passed as a commitment to be a welcoming community. Ad-hoc committee was asked to write possible ordinance, because of continued community interest. Ad-hoc committee kept language of HRC draft ordinance.

Issue on the Table

City Attorney:

Nothing in federal law requires local officials to collect immigration information. In Oregon state law- no money, equipment, or personal may be used to apprehend people whose only offense is to be in the country illegally. So state law is in line with federal law. City manager expanded state law to all city employers (no resources going to collecting info on illegal immigrants)

Ad-hoc committee: Put city manger decree to put it into city law/code.

This ordinance: Take state stature- no law enforcement agency may collect or maintain info on political, religion, social views and immigration status or activities on any group and put it into city code.

But reality is that we do collect information on people (by library, parks and recs, gender, disability status). Potential implications for not collecting info on social actives and associations.

If we take what’s in state stature  and apply it, it has implications he doesn’t know yet. We’d need more time and we wouldn’t be able to pass it this session. If you want to act quickly, move forward with an ordinance that says we (Eugene law enforcement + city employees) will not collect information on political, religious, social view, immigration status. (Essentially, put state law into city code).

We can decided later whether to pass another ordinance on not collecting information regarding activities and associations, which is currently in the state law.


Clark is a republican- he says his party is largely wrong on this issue. Says he’s done things worse than illegal immigration. Doesn’t mind people who are otherwise law-abiding coming to the country. He’s an originalist. Quotes Thomas Jefferson: “Line and wall between church and state…. right of conscience… governments should concern themselves with actions only, never beliefs.” Opposes collecting lists of people based on their beliefs, vehemently. But doesn’t want to upset federal government right now. If it was called “sanctuary city ordinance” he would vote no. Doesn’t want to risk losing federal funds. Wants an ordinance that conservatives will understand. This isn’t about immigration, it’s about separation of powers. Many of his good friends see it this way, not based on racism, based on respect for the law. If there is a warrant out for someone, even if it is only for illegal immigration, we have to respect that.

Taylor- Favors the motion.

Claire- was green card holder until 18. Current immigration has racial bias and the current system isn’t working. Too many myths about immigrants, legal and not. Only service permanently residents can get is k-12 education until they’ve been here x+ years. This ordinance would not violate federal law. Federal government cannot require Eugene to do their work. This provides as much protection as legally possible. She wouldn’t mind “poking the bear. This bear needs some poking” by calling the ordinance a “Sanctuary City.” But she cares most about the content of the ordinance.

Allen- Is being here in violation of immigration law a criminal offense? City attorney says it’s civil. Criminal offense requires a warrant? Not everyone who supports immigration is a racists, but a lot of them are. Doesn’t think we’re going to escape anything by calling it something beside sanctuary city.Move this forward as fast as possible. Risk of losing federal funds? (answer below by city attorney). We won’t be alone on this path. California has even hired former attorney general to represent them on this issue.

City Attorney Response- parts of government can issues “Detainors” but many courts have said these are unconstitutional (basically arrest warrant w/o calling it that, no due process). If Eugene officials are doing something on behalf of another government entity, then that other entity needs to provide a warrant. And then Eugene would have to comply.

Ordinance (to change an ordinance a future council must hold a public hearing to change) v. Resolution (future council can simply change it through another resolution)

Nothing in ordinance would be tied to state law. Just copied from it.

Federal gov has defined sanctuary city:

-willfully refuse to comply w/ section 1373 (we cannot refuse to provide information if requested)

We would not be a sanctuary city under federal law. We would have no information to provide if requested. Federal government could not lawfully order us to start collecting this information. Even if laws were amended: 10th amendment offers us protection- we’re a sovereign state. Immigration is a federal obligation, not a state or city obligation. 

Funds issue: congress can tie receipt of federal funds to federal laws. But ONLY dollars related to specific federal law that is in violation. So can only cut off immigration funds.

Trump administration may start by going after biggest fish, hoping the rest will fall after that. Or, may go after smallest, hoping they can’t defend themselves, and can win many victories. But cities have already been pledging to support and help each other.

Prior- These are good protections, the ones that he was hoping for. His place as a city councilor is not just to defend people with beards… ? Sanctuary city- term of common use. We’re not taking about creating a “sanctuary”- you are not free from prosecution. Trying to protect from unreasonable persecution. Low incoming housing funding is  done through federal grants. We don’t want to antagonize the federal government into revoking those by calling ourselves a “sanctuary city.”

Emily- Needs to be an ordinance. No where in this ordinance does it say “sanctuary city.” Which is good, because it goes under Trump’s radar. But the “people” have called for sanctuary city.


City Councilors voted unanimously to have the city attorney draft an ordinance stating that the city of Eugene will not collect information on people’s immigration status. The ordinance will then be presented to the public for a public hearing, and then to the city council for a final vote.


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