Democratic Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, the first openly LGBTQ governor, issued a executive order Thursday making clear that her state would refuse to participate in President Donald Trump’s ban on refugees and travelers from some Muslim-majority countries, as well as in any future Muslim registry.
“I will uphold the civil and human rights of all who call Oregon home,” Brown said a statement. “It is also my duty to prevent any undue harm to our economy and ensure the ability of Oregonians to support their families. These new policies from the White House show no regard for the values Oregonians believe in or the economic realities Oregon faces.”
Oregon has effectively barred law enforcement from using state resources to seek out undocumented immigrants since 1987, when it became the first “sanctuary state” in the nation. The new executive order extends that directive not to criminalize otherwise law-abiding immigrants to all state agencies. It also bars state agencies from participating in the creation of a faith-based registry.
Brown also called on Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to take legal action against Trump’s order. Other states including Minnesota, New York, Virginia and Massachusetts have already filed suit against the federal government’s immigration actions.
In an earlier statement on Trump’s recent executive orders Brown, a former attorney and longtime activist, said the President’s actions do not reflect the values in the U.S. Constitution or the principles for which Oregonians stand.
“In Oregon, where thousands have fought for and demanded equality, we can not and will not retreat. As Governor, I will uphold the civil and human rights of all who call Oregon home,” Brown said in a statement. “My staff is studying the recent Executive Orders to determine what effects they may have on Oregonians, and I will explore options to keep Oregon a safe place for everyone.”
All but one member of Oregon’s congressional district — its sole Republican, Greg Walden — have spoken out against Trump’s immigration ban, as well as Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley. Oregon’s senate delegation has also pledged to block Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch.
“Now, more than ever, we must stand together guided by the enduring belief in freedom, liberty, and justice for all,” Brown said, “and make our voices heard.”
In other efforts to protect the state’s progressive gains from a regressive federal administration, Oregon lawmakers have introduced a bill that would require insurers to cover contraception at a no cost, a move intended to shore up protections currently offered by the embattled Affordable Care Act. It would also require no-cost coverage of other reproductive health services.
The New York Times editorial board called the Oregon bill “a powerful defense, at the state level, of necessary reproductive health care.”