Judge declares illegal immigration measures moot
A Columbia County judge has declared an anti-illegal immigration measure and ordinance unenforceable and moot because of conflicts with federal law and various state authorities.
In February, Columbia County Circuit Judge Ted Grove had delayed implementation of the ordinance — which states that any employer caught hiring illegal immigrants would be fined or shut down — after a challenge by a coalition of social justice groups and business owners represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.
According to the ordinance, the Columbia County Board of Commissioners would have to fine an employer that hires illegal immigrants $10,000 for a first violation. For a second violation, the board would seek to revoke all of the employer’s business licenses and building permits.
In a letter dated Monday to attorneys in the case, Grove stated that these provisions violate a section of the Federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1983, which states, "The provisions of this section preempt any state or local law imposing civil or criminal sanctions (other than through licensing or similar laws) upon those who employ or recruit or refer for a fee employment, unauthorized aliens."
Other procedures in Columbia County’s anti-illegal immigration measure and ordinance ignore existing statutes and the autonomy of other political entities, Grove wrote.
Per the measure and ordinance, enforcement against employers who hire illegal immigrants would be conducted by the board of commissioners, with appeals directed to the Justice Court. But Oregon law states all appeals are to be directed to the Oregon Court of Appeals.
Also, neither the board of commissioners nor the Justice Court has authority to order appropriate agencies to suspend licenses, building permits and issue stop-work orders, thus making the ordinance illegal, Grove wrote.
Originally, the ordinance was to have taken effect 90 days after voters approved a ballot measure, 57 percent to 42 percent, in November.
— Gosia Wozniacka