Sheriff Tom Bergin’s take on Oregon’s sanctuary law is a dog whistle and strangely myopic (“Clatsop County sheriff takes leading role in sanctuary debate,” The Daily Astorian, Aug. 28.). The sheriff’s argument is the classic “us vs. them” spook-speak, implying that illegal immigrants can break the law with impunity, while legal residents have to toe the line.
President Donald Trump’s campaign of fear found its way into the Oregon sheriffs’ letter by referencing Mollie Tibbetts, murdered by an undocumented immigrant. The sheriff sees this as evidence of violence lurking in the hearts of illegal immigrants. Interestingly, he did not see that evil in the native citizen father who killed his pregnant wife and two children, nor did he see the violence in the native citizen who killed 10 and wounded 10 in the Santa Fe, Texas, shooting spree.
Here are some hard facts: enforcement of immigration law is a federal responsibility; no evidence exists that illegal immigration is a “gateway drug” for a life of crime, including identity theft. Mostly, illegal immigrants commit the crime of creating false identities. Finally, the retort that it’s “insulting” to fear racial profiling is a denial that it goes on, including by our other favorite sheriff — Joe Arpaio.