IRLI Wins Oregon Ballot Language Challenge
Putting American Workers First
March 03, 2016
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, the Oregon Supreme Court handed down a decision in the case of Kendoll v. Rosenblum in favor of our client Oregonians for Immigration Reform (OFIR). IRLI, along with local counsel Jill Gibson of the Gibson Law Firm, brought a challenge in the Oregon Supreme Court to the biased ballot language certified by the Oregon attorney general for a citizen initiative (Initiative Petition 2016-52 or IP 52) filed by OFIR. IP 52 would require all Oregon employers with five or more employees to use E-Verify to verify with the federal government that every new employee is authorized to work in the United States.
In its decision, the Oregon Supreme Court found that the ballot language certified by the attorney general obfuscates the true purpose and effect of IP 52. The court stated regarding the ballot title, “We agree with petitioner that the caption fails to substantially comply with ORS 250.035(2)(a). Federal immigration law requires that employers review certain documents to ‘establis[h] an employee’s eligibility for employment,’ and it prohibits employers from knowingly hiring unauthorized aliens. … IP 52, if enacted, would add an additional requirement to that federal law. It would require, as a matter of state law, that employers use a federal website to verify the authenticity of the documents that federal law requires only that they review. That additional requirement is one major effect of the measure. The caption, however, does not highlight that effect.” The court likewise found the questions that will be posed to voters and summary of the law defective and misleading. The court ordered the attorney general to re-draft the ballot language consistent with its decision.
Dale L. Wilcox, IRLI’s Executive Director, commented, “The ballot language certified by the attorney general hid the true purpose and effect of IP 52 and would have only served to confuse voters.” Wilcox continued, “We are very pleased that the court rectified this wrong. This is a great victory for Oregonians and the American worker."