The Southern Poverty Law Center has recently documented a dramatic increase in hate and bias crimes nationwide. It's also very surprising that the Pacific Northwest has seen some of the more crazy increases in the U.S. A December article in the Statesman Journal noted that Oregon's hate crimes were among the highest per capita in the nation. An Oregonian article reports that the increase dates back to November's election of Donald Trump. The 40 cases are from racist graffiti and verbal abuse to the murders on the MAX train. Sadly, the report also includes many points at which hareful speech and graffiti were reported on school grounds. Victims or observers of these crimes are always urged to call 911. Many experts believe that many hate crimes go unreported. This is especially to occur among documented and undocumented immigrants who fear reporting these crimes will draw unwanted attention. Fortunately, there are altnernatives. Basic Rights Oregon lists a number of alternative ways to report a hate crime. Go to basicrights.org and enter 'hate crimes' into the search box.
Yesterday, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents arrested nearly 500 people in a four-day operation targeting 'sanctuary cities.' Among the cities invaded were Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Denver, Washington D.C. and Portland. ICE agents arrested about 33 people in Portland during the sweep. The arrests result from the Trump Administration's intent to crack down on sanctuary cities which refuse to help federal authorities detain undocumented immigrants. The agency reported that it was targeting people with previous criminal convictions, pending criminal charges or gang ties as well as those who re-entered the country after having been deported. They also said that they did not target people who are in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Chicago has already sued the administration over the Justice Department's threat to withhold federal grants from sanctuary cities. A federal judge has also already blocked the rules requiring sanctuary cities to help enforce federal immigration laws in order to recieve funding. In Oregon, the sanctuary cities law is over 30 years old. It doesn't allow the use of state and local resources to enforce the immigration law if a person's only crime is being in the country illegally.