Mayor Wheeler, Council members: Thank you for the opportunity to testify today.
I am Commissioner Loretta Smith, and I proudly serve as the Commissioner for District 2 on the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners.
I want to start by thanking the Mayor and City Council for standing up for the rights and dignity of all Portlanders, regardless of immigration status.
Today is a day that makes me proud to live in the city of Portland and county of Multnomah.
Today we stand together against the Trump agenda -- an agenda driven by hate and fear.
Today the City of Portland joins Multnomah County to protect the most vulnerable among us against the very real threat posed by the Trump administration.
In fact, it wasn’t long after the fall election, that it became clear that the County needed to publicly reaffirm our own commitment to serving our entire community, regardless of status as an immigrant or refugee. That was the impetus for my seeking a resolution to affirm the County’s commitment.
It was just last December when Chair Kafoury and I co-sponsored the Sanctuary County resolution, which passed with a 5-0 vote.
As local governments, we are direct service providers -- that is, we are the safety-net governments. Our mission is to serve everyone based on need, not based on nation of origin or immigration status.
There is a rising tide of fear washing over our community, unleashed by federal policies designed to frighten and to intimidate those who live and work in the shadows of our society -- those who cannot, because of their immigration status, stand up for themselves.
In the face of the Trump administration using outrageous intimidation tactics -- placing municipalities across the country on “weekly watch lists” for declaring themselves safe places -- the City of Portland is standing up for what’s right.
I am shocked and I am outraged to hear members of our community are making arrangements for the well-being of their children in the event they are deported. Or stories of parents no longer doing simple things such as going to the grocery store all together -- that way one of the parents stays home with their children in case something happens to the other.
As local leaders we have a duty to stand up for the most vulnerable members of our community. It’s no longer just a slogan that “all politics are local.”
All residents should be able to access vital services without reservation or fear that they will be reported to immigration officials.
Homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, our courts, our libraries, and our medical facilities should be places of sanctuary -- safe places for healing.
We press on with our convictions -- and encourage the City of Portland to do the same -- with full knowledge that our actions run counter to the stated policies of the current administration in Washington, D.C.
We know there are some in positions of power who wish to punish localities that make principled stands in defense of their residents.
But we must not cower in the face of threats. We must never compromise our values for fear of reprisal.
Today the City of Portland will take one important step to ensure our friends and neighbors are safe here at home.
I commend this body for its leadership today. By declaring the City of Portland a Welcoming City, a Sanctuary City, and an Inclusive City, the City Council will affirm its place on the right side of history.
Thank you for bringing your voice to this fight. And thank you for this time before you today.