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The original item was published from 6/19/2019 11:48:24 AM to 9/4/2020 1:49:58 PM.

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Posted on: June 19, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Letter from Chief Chris Skinner

We are aware a recent announcement by the federal government of increased immigration enforcement to begin across the country next week may cause fear and uncertainty in our Eugene community.


Eugene’s vision is a welcoming, safe, and inclusive city for people from all walks of life. It is important to respect and embrace other cultures and wisdom as it makes us collectively richer .


As I commented in the past, just about everyone you meet here is descended from someone who bravely left their country to become part of ours, and then provide amazing contributions to our communities. Some have arrived more recently than others and there are some important things to know about how the City of Eugene has worked and is still working to preserve your safety and make Eugene a comfortable place for you and your family.


The City of Eugene has protection for every individual. Here is our promise:


• Resolution 5174 that we, as a City, are committed to being a welcoming, inclusive and safe community for everyone

• Resolution 5073 that we have a supportive Statement of Principles for Immigrant Integration


On March 13, 2017 the Eugene City Council unanimously passed the Protection for Individuals Ordinance (Council Ordinance Number 20579). This ordinance provides certain protections for all Eugene residents, including immigrants. This action puts provisions into City Code preventing the use of City resources (money, equipment or personnel, including from Eugene Police) to detect or apprehend individuals whose only violation of the law is that they are present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws.


Furthermore, Eugene also abides by Oregon law, not federal law, on immigration matters. Specifically, ORS 181A.820 prohibits our involvement in any administrative or civil immigration matter. The statute does give some limited latitude for local police to: exchange information about immigration matters with federal authorities when a crime is involved, or arrest a subject wanted on a federal arrest warrant for an immigration crime signed by a federal judge.


The Eugene Police Department has had and will continue to have a prohibition on using its resources, whether personnel or other, for immigration and customs enforcement efforts.


My commitment as chief is to these resolutions, ordinance, and law, and to making sure that regardless of documentation status, you feel safe to report crime, be a witness, and engage with the community, without fears of immigration enforcement. All of my employees have this same commitment to you, reflecting the same values as I and the City hold regarding this matter.


I want our police force to be culturally responsive so that every officer, dispatcher, records specialist or other employee understands the cultures and concerns of Eugene immigrant communities and interacts with them in a respectful and empathetic manner. Eugene Police recruitment and training is aimed at cultivating a workforce that is reflective of everyone in our community, and we have committed to providing field-based language access for individuals who are more monolingual by providing incentives for Spanish-speaking employees to undergo competency testing prior to being listed for response.


Thank you for being a part of our community and please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions.

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