Esquivel to speak at rally in Arizona

Esquivel to speak at rally in Arizona

Oregon Rep. Sal Esquivel will speak at a rally tonight in Phoenix, Ariz., in support of that state's controversial immigration law.

Esquivel, who was in Arizona Friday, said the law — which would allow police to check people's immigration status while enforcing other laws — is a reaction to the federal government failing to take the steps necessary to tackle illegal immigration issues in border states such as Arizona. The legislation was sidetracked earlier this week when a federal judge issued a temporary injunction to prevent portions of the law from being implemented.

"It's about a state doing what it needs to do because the federal government is not doing what it is supposed to do," Esquivel said.

"The federal government hasn't done a very good job down here."

Esquivel, a Medford Republican, said he has considered proposing legislation in Oregon that might incorporate some of the provisions of Arizona's SB 1070, but stopped short of endorsing it entirely.

"I would seriously have to look at this thing," he said.

He said he had reservations about a provision that would allow police to ask for immigration documents during a routine traffic stop. Canadians aren't asked for this kind of documentation, Esquivel said, so why should people from Mexico?

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton blocked the most controversial parts of Arizona's "papers, please" immigration law. Bolton suspended the law's requirement that cops check a person's immigration status during traffic stops, detentions and arrests.

Oregon's current laws restrict law enforcement from spending resources on immigration issues.

In general, according to Oregon Revised Statute 181.850, law enforcement agencies are prevented from making an arrest based solely on an immigration law violation. According to the Oregon law, police agencies can check someone's immigration status only if an arrest is made for another crime.

Esquivel said he proposed a bill that died during the last legislative session that would have penalized businesses that consistently hire undocumented workers.

Esquivel's own father, 91-year-old Sal Esquivel Sr., immigrated to the U.S. legally from Mexico.

"I would welcome people to his country, provided they do it legally," he said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or e-mail

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