This is an action alert!
The Oregon Republican Party and Oregonians for Immigration Reform (a recognized hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center) are hosting Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Saturday, June 27th for fundraisers and a rally at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem.
Sheriff Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona has become the national posterchild for the anti-immigrant movement because of his racist tactics and blatant abuse of human rights. He has been found guilty of civil rights violations, racial profiling, abuse of power, and mismanagement of funds, costing Maricopa County taxpayers over $40 million to defend him in court. The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against him in 2012 because he was not changing his behavior. He is notoriously discriminatory and abusive toward Latinos and seeks revenge against those who speak out against him.
It appears Sheriff Arpaio is being brought to Oregon to promote anti-immigrant ballot measures proposed for the November 2016 ballot. More information from our allies at the Center for New Community is below.
Our friends at PCUN, Oregon’s farmworker union, are organizing a counter-rally and we are joining them in sending a clear message: RACISM IS NOT WELCOME IN OREGON!
There are two ways for you to take action!
1. Join the counter-rally!
On Saturday, June 27th at 2:30PM, we will gather at the Oregon State Capitol Fountain (near 900 Court St. NE, Salem)!
Bring signs! Here are some ideas:
Arpaio Doesn’t Speak for Oregon!
We support civil rights in Oregon!
We support our immigrant neighbors!
2. Write the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association (OSSA) asking them to publicly denounce Sheriff Arpaio and his racist tactics!
Email OSSA President Sheriff Jason Myers and Executive Director Ret. Sheriff John Bishop and ask them to publicly denounce Sheriff Arpaio’s tactics, methods, and behavior! Sheriff Arpaio does not represent Oregon’s values!
Get your group together and write a joint letter. Send it to your own county’s sheriff and state representatives! Click here to download a sample letter!
OSSA Executive Director, Ret. Sheriff John Bishop: email@example.com
OSSA President, Sheriff Jason Myers: firstname.lastname@example.org
How will you take action? Send us an email at email@example.com and let us know!
See you in Salem!
Anti-immigrant organizing in Oregon intensifies, with a boost from Arpaio
Lindsay Schubiner • Jun 22, 2015
Members of the Oregon State Legislature with anti-immigrant connections have proposed four new ballot measures for the 2016 election.
In a disturbing sign of increasing collaboration around anti-immigrant goals, the Oregon Republican Party has invited Arizona’s infamous Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to speak at a rally on the steps of the Oregon State Capitol on Saturday, June 27th. Arpaio is well known for promoting anti-immigrant policies that rely on racial profiling to target Latinos.
The rally is being promoted by Oregonians for Immigration Reform. OFIR is an official state contact group of the Federation for American Immigration Reform —which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center — and is behind much of the recent anti-immigrant organizing in Oregon.
OFIR has announced a raffle to “help offset the costs of this event,” with prizes including a book written a signed by Sheriff Arpaio and a private dinner with Arpaio at the home of Oregon State Rep. Greg Barreto. The event organizers will also raffle off a pair of the pink underwear that inmates in Maricopa County are required to wear, a policy Arpaio instituted.
Regarding the pink underwear policy, the ADL noted, “In 2012, a federal appeals court in Arizona criticized this policy, saying it seemed to be ‘punishment without legal justification.’ The court also said that it was fair to infer that the jailers’ choice of the color pink for the underwear was a way to stigmatize male prisoners as feminine.”
A TROUBLING DECISION FOR THE OREGON REPUBLICAN PARTY
In a state in which several GOP members of the legislature voted for SB 833, successful legislation to expand access to driver’s licenses for undocumented Oregon residents, the Oregon Republican Party’s decision to provide a platform for Arpaio and apparently, to work closely with OFIR, is deeply distressing.
Arpaio has become a figurehead of the anti-immigrant movement because of his high-profile work to implement discriminatory policies across Maricopa County. These policies have been contested by the Justice Department, and a federal judge has ruled that Arpaio’s office must stop using racial profiling and must end its immigration enforcement patrols. Arpaio has allegedly violated this court order.
Billboard in Beaverton, Oregon. (Credit: VDARE via Cynthia Kendoll)
The Oregon Republican party’s apparent working relationship with OFIR similarly does not bode well for immigrant rights in Oregon. In 2014, OFIR and its partner group, Protect Oregon Driver Licenses, expended considerable effort to defeat Oregon Ballot Measure 88. This veto referendum subjected SB 833 to a popular vote, with the intention of taking away the newly won access to driver’s licenses for all Oregon residents, regardless of their immigration status.
Due in large part to OFIR’s organizing efforts and support from the national anti-immigrant movement, Ballot Measure 88 failed by a margin of two to one, ensuring that undocumented Oregon residents won’t be able to access drivers licenses.
Measure 88’s failure gave fuel to the national anti-immigrant movement, and we are already seeing their attempts to replicate this success in other states. That makes Oregon a particularly important battleground state where wins for immigrant rights–or failures–can reverberate nationally.
A SIGN OF MORE ANTI-IMMIGRANT ORGANIZING TO COME
To build on the momentum from Measure 88’s failure, members of the Oregon State Legislature with anti-immigrant connections have proposed four new ballot measures for the 2016 election. Two ballot measures would designate English as the official language in Oregon, and two would, in effect, mandate the use of E-Verify by Oregon employers. It is likely that these proposals are placeholders, and that only one ballot measure on each topic will actually move forward.
The measures were proposed by Rep. Sal Esquivel, a primary opponent of Measure 88 with strong ties to the anti-immigrant movement; Sen. Kim Thatcher, a member of the anti-immigrant group State Legislators for Legal Immigration; Rep. Mike Nearman, a member at large of OFIR’s board; and Jim Ludwick, a founder and former president of OFIR, as well as OFIR’s current director of communications and legislative liaison. Each of them was active in the Measure 88 fight.
So, why are these new ballot measures anti-immigrant?
E-Verify is an important tool in the anti-immigrant movement’s quest to achieve “attrition through enforcement,” also known as “self-deportation.” It is an electronic employment-verification program that is primarily voluntary, although certain states have made its use by employers mandatory. The anti-immigrant movement hopes to use E-Verify to make life so impossible for undocumented immigrants that they are forced to leave the U.S.
These renewed initiatives incite fear of immigrants and generate popular support for broader measures to exclude immigrants.
Similarly, efforts to designate English as the official language have long been part of the organized anti-immigrant movement’s strategy. The U.S. remains an English-majority country, and English-speakers in the U.S. are not in danger of losing access to government services or benefits based on language skills. So why is the anti-immigrant movement introducing “English as the official language” initiatives? Because these initiatives incite fear of immigrants and generate popular support for broader measures to exclude immigrants. They can also restrict non-English speakers’ access to government services, and even prevent government agencies from reaching out to non-English speaking communities.
These ballot measures are indeed worrisome, but with a strong immigrant rights community in Oregon, the anti-immigrant movement has their work cut out for them. Imagine2050 will continue to track the ballot measures and the anti-immigrant organizing around them, so stay tuned.
Lindsay Schubiner is the Senior Program Manager at the Center for New Community.