Our VoiceImmigration

Media Matters exposes Oregon nativists

Lindsay Schubiner • Apr 28, 2015
Source: Oregon Dept. of Transportation

After Oregon’s legislature approved “driver’s cards” for state residents unable to prove their citizenship in Spring 2013, opponents of the bill coordinated a well-funded campaign to force the law to a popular vote. In November 2014, voters blocked the driver’s cards and secured a victory for the anti-immigrant group Oregonians for Immigration Reform (OFIR), which took a lead role in directing and financing the ballot initiative.

Read: Meet Oregonians for Immigration Reform: The “Nativist Extremist Group” Using the Media to Derail Immigration Reform Efforts in Oregon

In a new report, Media Matters for America takes a close look at OFIR and the nativist state group’s close collaboration with Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). OFIR has become a force to reckon with, demonstrating the danger the organized anti-immigrant movement poses to immigrant rights across the country.

The report covers OFIR’s ties to other nativist organizations, the false and misleading claims OFIR has made about immigrants, as well as their policy work against immigrant rights in Oregon. This includes OFIR’s work to overturn a the driver’s cards bill and their attacks on a bill allowing undocumented immigrant students to apply for state tuition aid.

“Oregonians for Immigration Reform is 100% tied to the Federation for American Immigration Reform: One only need visit the latter’s website to understand this as fact,” said Aaron Flanagan, the Center for New Community’s Research Director.

Flanagan said OFIR extends FAIR’s “toxic combination of anti-immigrant bigotry and failed policies”:

“In the past, FAIR has been pivotal in supporting such disastrous campaigns and policies as California’s Proposition 187 and Arizona’s SB 1070. Not only are such policies rooted in profiling and bigotry, they have sparked economic windfalls, as was the case in Arizona and in Georgia, which passed its own copycat of SB 1070. Not only were hundreds of millions in revenue lost, but — and more importantly — lives and families were destroyed. In acting as FAIR’s representative in Oregon, OFIR brings to the state what FAIR always brings: scapegoating disguised as solution, loss and denial disguised as gain.”

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