She’s led an ambitious expansion of Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center’s school-based health center program
By Matt Zdun, Medill, Immigrant Connect
“It’s rare to have a five to nothing vote around here,” said Lacey Beaty, one of five city councilors in Beaverton, Oregon.
But that is exactly what happened on Jan. 10.
Beaty said that after three weeks of discussion and “overwhelming support from the community,” all five Beaverton City Council members voted to designate Beaverton a sanctuary city.
Oregon is already considered a “sanctuary state” because of a law enacted in 1987 that prohibits state and local police departments from using their resources to enforce federal immigration law.
But Beaty said it was essential for Beaverton to make its own sanctuary city designation clear.
“With 1 in 4 people in Beaverton born outside the U.S., we are the most culturally diverse community in the Pacific Northwest,” Beaty said. “Our community needed to hear from our local elected leadership that we stood with them even if their national elected leadership does not.”
A map of all counties across the U.S. that have designated themselves “sanctuary counties.” The data comes from The Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative non-profit research organization that favors lower immigration numbers.
On Jan. 25—fifteen days after Beaverton declared itself a sanctuary city and joined a growing number of sanctuary cities across the country—President Trump released an executive order vowing to “ensure that [sanctuary] jurisdictions that fail to comply with applicable Federal law do not receive Federal funds, except as mandated by law.” The order also provides that the Secretary of Homeland Security is authorized to decide which cities or states are sanctuary jurisdictions, and that such jurisdictions would not be “eligible to receive Federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes.”
However, it remains unclear how the president could go about cutting off funds to sanctuary locations.
“I think there are really strong arguments that he cannot,” said Ted Waters, Managing Partner in the Federal Grants practice at Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell LLP in Washington D.C.
Waters said there is a fine line between persuasion and coercion, and the federal government cannot use federal funds to “strong-arm” states or cities.
He cited the landmark 2012 Supreme Court case on the Affordable Care Act, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, as the first and only time in history in which the federal government was found to be using federal grant funds coercively. The majority of justices found that Congress was not using its spending power correctly and was, instead, coercing states to expand Medicaid by threatening to cut off existing funding.
Waters also cited First Amendment concerns and concerns over what is called the Nonprocurement Suspension and Debarment Common Rule.
Waters said that, under suspension and debarment, the federal government cannot simply declare a “unit of government” to be ineligible for funds.
Instead, to debar a local government, it must find that the state or city is not “presently responsible” and cannot be trusted with funds.
“This might be President Trump’s plan, but it seems like a stretch to me,” Waters said. “It’s not like the grants go to the whole city; they go to specific departments.”
Waters said President Trump would have to find the whole city and all of its individual departments to be “not presently responsible” in order to cut off funding.
“If they cut off Head Start funding and cut off funding to little three-year-olds, for example, and say that is related to immigration, that would not make any sense,” Waters said.
But Laurie Robinson, former Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, sees a potential way President Trump could cut off funds to places that have declared themselves immigrant sanctuaries.
“Within the Justice Department, there are block grants, which go automatically to states and localities, and discretionary grants, which are distributed at the discretion of the executive,” Robinson said. “In the latter category, the administration would have enormous flexibility to deny those funds to sanctuary jurisdictions.”
Robinson also cited a body of law that states and cities receiving grants from the Department of Justice must sign that says they are compliant with the policies of the federal government. That agreement includes being compliant with the policies of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.
However, Robinson, who served under the Clinton Administration for seven years and under the Obama Administration for three years, said she did not fully understand how President Trump would carry out his executive order.
“I don’t know if the current administration has thought this through,” Robinson said. “The Justice Department gives out a lot of grant money to do research, but does that mean research funding gets cut off because of immigration matters?”
Christopher Broderick, the Associate Vice President of University Communications at Portland State University, a self-designated “sanctuary university,” said he does not see this happening.
“[Cutting off federal funding to research universities] would require an act of Congress because there are hundreds of millions of dollars of federal funds that go to universities across the nation for research, student financial aid and other sources,” Broderick said.
Broderick said Portland State University will continue to support its Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students and will ensure that its campus safety officers “will not act as immigration officers in enforcing federal immigration law.”
Meanwhile, Beaty has already begun preparing for what would happen if Beaverton lost its $1.6 million in federal funding.
“Federal funding is less than one percent of our budget, and a lot of the funding centers around the Environmental Protection Agency and women’s rights, which are things President Trump would have cut anyway,” Beaty said. “But we would still have to get a little creative with the budget.”
However, Beaty said she is willing to risk losing federal funds because she knows she is doing the right thing.
“Less than one percent of our funding is no reason to turn our backs on our community,” Beaty said.
Alderwoman Diane Marlin of Urbana, Illinois, a sanctuary city more than 2,000 miles from Beaverton, believes it would be hard for President Trump to crack down on sanctuary cities like her own.
“If he punishes us, he’s gonna wind up punishing just about every city in America,” said Marlin. “Most cities are doing what we are doing.”
Still, Marlin, who is also running for mayor of Urbana, worries that the city will lose federal housing, transportation and infrastructure grants to fund some of the long term projects of redeveloping rundown parts of the city.
“There’s just so much uncertainty,” Marlin said, and added that she believes the uncertainty is just President Trump’s way of scaring sanctuary cities.
Even if it would be difficult for President Trump to cut off federal funding to self-designated immigrant sanctuaries, there is new uncertainty as to whether or not state lawmakers could cut off state funding to sanctuary cities.
Republican lawmakers in states across the country are brainstorming ways to compel their cities and towns to adhere to federal immigration law.
The National Conference of State Legislatures said on its website, “At least 29 states and the District of Columbia are considering legislation in 2017 regarding sanctuary jurisdictions or noncompliance with immigration detainers.”
How effective this body of legislation would be remains unclear.
“I think that’s the plan . . . to just keep everyone wondering,” Marlin said. “We’ll just have to see.”
Beaverton, Oregon, recently announced itself as the Purple Heart City in honor of the veterans who live there. It became official during a ceremony in Veteran’s Memorial Park, where a sign was erected declaring the city’s new title.
City officials award Purple Heart vets with proclamation
A group of veterans had gathered outside the Beaverton City Council, where they asked city officials to consider making Beaverton a Purple Heart City.
After hearing about their drive, Mayor Denny Doyle informed the veterans that he would do whatever he could to ensure that the Oregon League of Cities heard about their request. He was impressed by the dedication and passion that the veterans put into getting officials to include Beaverton in the Purple Heart Cities.
Officials did not hesitate to honor them with a proclamation. Now Beaverton is one of eight Purple Heart Cities in Oregon and is currently the largest in the group.
“Beaverton appreciates the sacrifices our Purple Heart recipients made in defending our freedoms and believes it is important that we acknowledge them for their courage and show them the honor and support they have earned,” stated the proclamation.
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City Councilor Lacey Beaty told The Oregonian that people often forget that these veterans sacrificed so much for them. Including Beaverton in the list of cities will ensure that the residents never forget what these men and women have done to protect them.
Veterans gather and reflect
Joel Dulashanti, a retired Army sniper, told The Oregonian that this proclamation is a great way to spread awareness of the sacrifices veterans have made fighting for their country. Dulashanti was shot four times during his tour in Afghanistan and lost one of his legs, returning home as a Purple Heart recipient. He is one of the leaders of the drive to make more cities Purple Heart Cities with the ultimate goal of turning Oregon into the Purple Heart State.
“I believe that this event is going to be a huge deal that will get the ball rolling for a lot of things legislatively throughout our state that’ll support our veterans,” Dulashanti said in a meeting held to announce the city’s new title, according to the news source.
There were eight other Purple Heart recipients who fought in various wars, from Afghanistan to Vietnam, gathered at the meeting. Other veterans also showed up to support the city’s decision to honor their fellow vets.
Purple Heart veteran Allen Bush was also in attendance. He told stories of how he came to the aid of his fellow soldiers after being seriously injured by two grenade explosions during the terrorist attack on Puerto Rico in 1997. Bush received a Silver Star, one of the highest honors in the military, for his act of bravery. However, Bush was humble about his awards, saying that he may have sacrificed his well-being, but many soldiers who received a Purple Heart
“There are so few people like us here. There is so much education that needs to be done. The thing is, though, people are willing to listen.
“And they showed that.”
Lacey Beaty is talking about her colleagues on the Beaverton City Council.Patch | PromotionCalling All Advertisers!Want an extra 1,000 impressions added to your campaign? Patch is looking for small businesses to participate in customer interviews. Sign up!
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Beaty, an Army combat veteran, was on the phone from California where she was helping coach the George Fox Women’s Lacrosse Team to its fourth victory in six games.
“It’s clear that Beaverton cares about veterans and the sacrifice that they have made,” she said.Subscribe
Beaty, in her first year in office, helped Beaverton earn the designation as a Purple Heart City, one of only eight in Oregon, and helped push through changes in the city’s Minority, Women, and Emerging Small Business Policy so that it now includes veterans with a service-related disability.
“It’s so important that veterans know that their service is appreciated, that they are appreciated,” she said.
“And that they are not forgotten.”
And because of her efforts, Beaty has not been forgotten.
She is being honored as the 2016 Outstanding Woman Veteran of the Year by the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs.
The announcement was made at the department’s conference at Camp Withycombe.
In her five years in the Army, Beaty was a radiology specialist and combat medic and served in the First Infantry Division during the Iraq War.
Beaty, who grew up in San Diego, moved to Beaverton when she and her husband, a member of the Oregon National Guard, finished a tour in 2008.
“We wanted somewhere safe,” she said. “We had both been in combat and we wanted somewhere where we could settle in.”
They started in Central Oregon and worked there way around the state.
“When we first drove into Beaverton, I knew this is where I wanted to live,” she said. “It was even before we learned that it’s the safest large city in the Pacific Northwest.
“There was just something about the city that spoke to us, that said this is where we should live.”
For Beaty and her husband, both combat veterans – he continues to be active duty and was actually deployed back to Afghanistan the day after she was elected – the sense of safety was important.
“But there is more than that,” she said. “Beaverton provides a real sense of community. There are very few veterans here, maybe 200, but the sense of community is so strong.
“I knew that when I brought up veterans issues, they would be met with open minds.”
Beaty says that while she is glad with the steps that were taken last year, her hope is to make sure the city’s policies apply not just to veterans with service-related disabilities but to all veterans.
“I know it’s super cheesy but it’s so important to remember that people who serve are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice so everyone can enjoy freedom,” she says.
Beaty joined the Army right out of high school.
“It was right after September 11,” she said. “I knew it was what I had to do.”
It is that sense of service that led her to the City Council.
She served on the city’s visioning committee and has been active in the community.
Beaty is on the Board of Directors of HomePlate Youth Services, the non-profit in Washington County that runs drop in centers for homeless youth.
She is also the director of the Virginia Garcia Memorial health Center’s school-based clinics.
“It is so important to be involved, to recognize the community around you,” she says. “You need to be able to see what is happening, who needs help.
“And then work to provide that help.”