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Oregon as a Sanctuary State: Look Who Wants It to Stay That Way

CEOs of Nike, Columbia Sportswear speak out against a fall ballot measure that's dividing Beaver State residents

Image Credit: Sean Clancy, Twitter / Screenshot

In an age when politicians are far from the only ones with political pull and outreach leverage, Nike and Columbia Sportswear executives have expressed their opposition to a ballot initiative this fall — known as Measure 105 — that aims to end Oregon’s status as a sanctuary state for immigrants.

The petition for the measure, called “[Repealing the] law limiting use of state/local law enforcement resources to enforce federal immigration laws,” obtained the compulsory number of signature requirements this past July, leading to its presence on the fall ballot.

Here’s the tweet about it from July 17, when it qualified for the November ballot:

If the upcoming vote is a success, a mandate of 31 years will be dismissed and the number of remaining sanctuary states in the United States will drop from seven to six. The other current sanctuary states are California, Colorado, New Mexico, Illinois, Massachusetts and Vermont; the Center for Immigration Studies maintains a map of sanctuary jurisdictions.

The existing Oregon law limits state and local police from enforcing federal immigration law.

In a recently issued statement, the two giant sportswear companies — both headquartered in Oregon — publicly opposed the initiative in an effort to keep their state’s sanctuary status as is.

Nike CEO Mark Parker released a recent statement that said this, according to Oregon Live: “Nike employs people from all over the world; we can attest to the unique value, contributions, and innovations that people from diverse backgrounds add to Nike and to Oregon’s culture and economy. Ending Oregon’s sanctuary law will damage Oregon’s long-standing track record as a place that attracts diverse talent from across the globe.”

“Ending Oregon’s sanctuary law will damage Oregon’s long-standing track record as a place that attracts diverse talent from across the globe,” said Nike CEO Parker.

It’s no secret that today’s athletes are employing their vast platforms in order to push certain social and political agendas, and now these goliath, sports-centered companies are also stepping up the plate.

Nike has appeared to continue down the prickly road of politics since releasing its new “Just Do It” ad with controversial athlete-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback garnered countrywide attention after he protested the national anthem, the flag and the country when he refused to stand during its rendition during the 2016 NFL preseason.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” said Kaepernick in a postgame interview during the 2016 preseason. He did not play professional football in 2017 and he’s not playing now, either.

In addition to Parker’s statement, Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle affirmed, “Oregon is enriched by our diversity, and immigrants living in Oregon are part of our families, communities, workplaces, and places of worship. Measure 105 does not align with Oregon values.”

Related: Study Shows Thousands of Illegal Voters in ‘Sanctuaries’

As an aside, a new independent Oregon survey of a random sampling of Oregon voters has found that Democratic Gov. Kate Brown has a clear lead over her Republican challenger, Knute Buehler — and that the initiative to get rid of the state’s sanctuary law for immigrants “has little support so far.”

The Hoffman Research Group of Portland surveyed 680 likely Oregon voters across two days, September 12-13. It showed that the Democratic governor holds a 10-point lead over Buehler, a state representative from Bend, and that for the sanctuary state initiative, only 31 percent of voters support the measure, compared to 50 percent who are opposed to it.

The poll had a relatively small sample size. But “Democrats in the state have lined up against the measure while tying it to President Donald Trump’s tough policies to limit both legal and illegal immigration,” the Oregon Public Broadcasting website noted.

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