SALEM — U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions didn’t meet with Gov. Kate Brown while in Portland Tuesday, despite her request for an audience with him.
In a speech at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Portland, Sessions castigated sanctuary cities as promoters of “lawlessness.”
Meanwhile, Brown spoke with reporters in her office at the Capitol.
The governor said she requested a meeting with Sessions but received no response from his office. She said she would have appealed to preserve Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which the Trump administration wants to rescind. The program allows undocumented young adults brought to the United States as children to legally work and attend school.
“He clearly did not have time to meet with me and hear my strong views about how I feel about making sure that Dreamers are able to go to school, to work and to lead lives in this state,” Brown said.
Sessions’ office did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment on why he decided against meeting the governor.
In his speech, the attorney general said the nearly 500 sanctuary cities across the nation “hinder the work of federal law enforcement” and “promote lawlessness.”
“That makes a sanctuary city a trafficker, smuggler, or gang member’s best friend,” Sessions said.
Brown said she is “appalled by the position of the attorney general.”
“I want to make it very clear that Oregon is a state that welcomes and wants to encourage our immigrant and refugee communities,” the governor said. “We see them as a very important part of Oregon’s cultural and economic fabric, and they’re part of what makes Oregon unique.”
A 1987 law effectively made Oregon a sanctuary state. Brown reinforced that law with an executive order in February barring the use of any state resources to enforce federal immigration policy.
Sessions announced this month that the Trump administration would phase out DACA in the next six months, unless Congress chose to enact the program legislatively.
The administration asserts that the program, created through executive order by President Barack Obama, is unconstitutional because it circumvents congressional powers.
Oregon is one of 16 states that sued the Trump administration earlier this month claiming that the dissolution of DACA violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause.
If Brown had met with Sessions, she said: “I would tell him that his position on DACA is absolutely counter to Oregon values and Oregonians.”
The Capital Bureau is a collaboration between EO Media Group and Pamplin Media Group.