Oregon House Bill 3464 prohibits a public body from disclosing specified information concerning a person unless required by state or federal law. (Read the full bill here.) This will strengthen Oregon’s protections for immigrant communities by ensuring state agencies can’t communicate personal information to enforce federal immigration law (ensuring schools, courts and state services remain safe places for immigrants).
After speaking in support of the bill during a June 2017 hearing at the state capitol, the Rev. Zac Harmon (St. Paul’s, Salem) was asked by staff of two of the sponsoring representatives to turn his statement into a letter. With the support of Bishop Michael Hanley, the Rev. Beto Arciniega, and several other clergy, the letter was written and submitted to the Oregon House of Representatives before they voted on the bill. The bill has now passed the State Senate as well and is expected to be signed into law by Governor Kate Brown.
Their letter is below. (Please note, we are not accepting further endorsements to this letter.)
Dear Honorable Representatives and Honorable Senators of the State of Oregon:
We, the undersigned Episcopal bishop, priests and deacons, write this letter to encourage your support for House Bill 3464. As clergy who serve parishes here in Oregon and who regularly minister to some of society’s most vulnerable populations, this bill is of significant concern to us. When immigration enforcement chooses procrustean approaches and aggressively pursues productive individuals and vulnerable families that are our community members and neighbors, it negatively impacts the towns and neighborhoods in which our churches are located. It affects members of our parishes and community members who turn to our churches for help.
In our ministries both in our churches and in the wider community, we have witnessed families sundered by deportation and struggling to provide for the needs of remaining family members. We have had community members turn to our churches for help, terrified of what will happen to their young children if their fragile legal status is lost. There are also immigrants who have escaped monstrous and abusive conditions and who live in fear of being deported out of the safety of our communities and back into the dreadful conditions from which they have escaped. In one particular case a major lay leader in an Episcopal parish was seized and detained by immigration enforcement even though he was on DACA status and a food bank volunteer.
When one adds to these experiences the reports about children and families afraid to go about their normal activities of daily life, we have concern for the well-‐ being of our communities in this present time. If parents and family members are afraid to leave home to go to church or to the grocery store, we worry about the health and freedoms of our towns and neighborhoods. For these reasons and out of the common value of loving all of our neighbors as we would love ourselves, we encourage you to support HB 3464. We hope that Oregon can continue to be a safe and welcoming place for all of the valuable community members who live and work here.
The Rt. Rev. Michael Hanley, Bishop, Diocese of Oregon
The Rev. Roberto Arciniega, Diocesan Latino Missioner
The Rev. Roberto Maldonado, Holy Cross/Santa Cruz, Gresham
The Rev. Samuel Borbón, St. Mary’s, Woodburn
The Rev. Christopher Craun, St. Michael and All Angels, Portland
The Rev. Dcn. Marla McGarry-Lawrence, Latino Ministry, Diocese of Oregon
The Rev. Kurt Neilson, Hospital Chaplain, Portland
The Rev. Kate Harmon Siberine, St. Michael and All Angels, Portland
The Rev. Dcn. Cindra Gray, St. Michael/San Miguel, Newberg
The Rev. Robert Williams, St. James/Santiago, Tigard
The Rev. Dcn. Kristina Burbank, St. James/Santiago, Lincoln City
The Rev. Wilson Ferreira, Todos los Santos, Hillsboro
The Rev. Zachary Harmon, St. Paul’s, Salem
The Rev. Margaret McMurren, Prince of Peace, Salem
The Rev. Fred Heard, St. Thomas’, Dallas