Interviews

Oregon lawmaker wants to end sanctuary state status

Lawmakers are pushing for the repeal of the designation

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," February 17, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST:  All right, there are a lot of sanctuary cities, just a couple of sanctuary states.

Oregon is one of them.  And a Republican lawmaker there says enough is enough.  

Sal Esquivel joining us right now.  And he wants to end the state's sanctuary state status, also wants to make English the official language of the state.

Sir, very good to have you.

I would imagine you have an uphill battle.  

SAL ESQUIVEL, R-OREGON STATE REPRESENTATIVE:  Well, yes.  

We're in a Democratic-controlled House, Democratic-controlled Senate, and a governor that is a Democrat, so, therefore, pretty much liberalism from the Portland area.  And they pretty much run the show.  So, it's pretty much an uphill battle.  

CAVUTO:  So, why are you doing this?  

ESQUIVEL:  Well, because, I just go up to Salem to do my job.  I don't worry about keeping it.  It's the right thing to do.  

CAVUTO:  You know, how did Oregon get to be such a Mecca for illegals? It's one thing for a city or a couple of cities.  But this is a whole darn state.  

ESQUIVEL:  Well, they did that in 1987.  

They passed a law when the Democratic-controlled House and the Senate at that time and the governor again.  They passed that law, and it's been on the books ever since.  And we have never had -- we haven't had a Republican governor in 30-some years.  

So, we -- consequently, even if we passed the House and the Senate, it would be vetoed by the governor.  So, therefore, it's not -- not been approached.  We have approached it the last two sessions.  This is the second or third session we have tried this.  It always goes down in flames.  

But at least we make a statement and let people know that we need to right the ship.  We need to make sure that our area and our state is, in fact, legalized and going by the federal government.  I think it's appalling that we have elected officials that want to ignore federal law.  

CAVUTO:  But how do they get away with it?  Because there -- as you said, there are laws.  And now we have a president who says, well, you know, I'm going to try and enforce those laws, and that if you are hiding, aiding, abetting illegals or ignoring them deliberately, I might look at your funding.  

I might take greater scrutiny of exactly what federal moneys are going to you.  

ESQUIVEL:  Well, see, that's the problem here, Neil, is that the Democrats that are running the show have elected to play kind of a who's going to blink first with President Trump, because 32 percent of our budget is federal money.  

CAVUTO:  Yes.  

ESQUIVEL:  And if that's the case, that's quite a gamble.

CAVUTO:  Well, what are they -- they must see that reality and see that he's in -- perfectly within his legal right to pursue it.  And he might conclude if -- even if they wanted to look at it crassly, politically, he has nothing to lose politically.  

ESQUIVEL:  Well, the problem is here that they really -- they really pander to a certain segment of the society, and they pander to the progressive thinking.  

And they really don't care what the conservative thinking is, and they don't ask us much.  But they're playing with fire with this man, because this man is a man of his word, and he will do what he says he will do.  

CAVUTO:  Because even if you're reading it just through sheer politics, they must realize that he figures, I'm not going to win Oregon, I'm not going to win any of these prominent cities, I'm going to enforce this because I'm president.  This is the way it is.  And these guys are going to have to take their knocks, because I have nothing to lose if they take their knocks, right?  

ESQUIVEL:  Well, I don't know if they realize that or if they just want to ignore it.  I'm not sure.  I don't know converse with them about the issue.

CAVUTO:  Who do you think blinks first then?  

ESQUIVEL:  Pardon?  

CAVUTO:  Who do you think blinks first?  I like that analogy, someone blinks first here.  

ESQUIVEL:  Someone does what?  

CAVUTO:  Someone blinks first.  

ESQUIVEL:  Oh.

CAVUTO:  Who do you think blinks first?

ESQUIVEL:  Oh, well, yes, because we're -- we're -- we're -- they're pitching the state of Oregon against the president and the Congress.  

Now, the president and the Congress hold the purse strings.  So let's see who will blink first, I guess, because we're playing a dangerous game.  And if we blink first, we're going to lose big.  

CAVUTO:  All right, we will watch very closely.  

Sal Esquivel, Oregon state representative, uphill fight, but an interesting one.  We will watch closely.  Thank you, sir.  

END

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