Council Requests "Fair & Sensible" Immigration Reform

Release Date: 
02/11/2013

The Hermiston City Council agreed Monday through a 7 to 1 vote to write a letter to the city’s federally elected officials to, “request that you (Federal elected officials) make fair and sensible immigration reform laws a priority and work to make fair and sensible laws allowing for the legalization of worthy un-documented immigrants.”  The vote came after many comments from a crowd of nearly 100 people supporting the request.

“This isn’t just immigration reform,” said City Councilor George Anderson, “it is asking for the legalization of worthy un-documented immigrants.”

Councilor John Kirwan was the dissenting vote.  Kirwan questioned using the City Council as a vehicle to support or oppose various Federal-level political issues.  “Once we open the door, how do we close it,” Kirwan asked.

Hermiston officially became the largest city in eastern Oregon after the 2010 U.S. Census, due largely to the growth of a young Hispanic population.  The student population in the Hermiston School District now stands at approximately 43% in the 2012-13 school year, while the overall population of Hermiston has changed from 24% Hispanic in 2000 to 35% Hispanic in 2010.

The growing representation of the Hispanic community in Hermiston prompted the City Council to form the Hispanic Advisory Committee in 2012.  This committee is made up of bi-lingual Hermiston-area residents and makes recommendations to the City Council while holding their meetings in both English and Spanish. 

The Hispanic Advisory Committee, at its December 11, 2012 meeting, unanimously approved a motion that, “the Hispanic Advisory Committee of the City of Hermiston respectfully requests that the Hermiston City Council and the Mayor of the City of Hermiston formally ask the President of the United States, United States Representative Greg Walden, United States Senator Ron Wyden, and United States Senator Jeff Merkley to make fair and sensible immigration reform laws and to make fair and sensible laws allowing the legalization of worthy undocumented immigrants.”

View a copy of the letter HERE

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