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110,000+ Oregonians Help Make The Arc Of History Bend Toward Immigration Sanity

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Last Thursday and Friday, July 5th and 6th, the stalwarts of Oregonians for Immigration Reform [OFIR] submitted to their Secretary of State more than 110,000 signatures from registered voters. Their aim: Qualify for November's ballot an initiative IP 22 that would allow voters to repeal Oregon's statewide sanctuary policy that heavily restricts cooperation between Oregon law enforcement and the federal immigration agencies. (In late May, I reported on their efforts here.)


OFIR booth

 

As the number of signatures required was 88,184, OFIR has likely succeeded in the signature-gathering phase of their herculean task and must now embark on "making the sale" on IP 22 to all of the state's voters. But the OFIR-ites won't be certain of this first-step success until the Secretary of State has confirmed that enough of the signatures gathered are valid.

On July 8th, I spoke by phone with OFIR Communications Director (and founding President) Jim Ludwick, whom I have known for several years. Jim, who is also a veteran of OFIR's triumphant 2013 - 2014 "NO on 88" citizens'-veto campaign to nullify driver's cards for illegal aliens, was most impressed with the urgency many of his late-responding fellow citizens exhibited over getting their signatures in by the July 6th deadline. "On the steps at the state capitol Friday we had state employees come out to us to sign. We had truck drivers who were servicing the building sign. We had state police sign," he said. "There were people driving 60 miles each way to drop off one-line signature sheets."

"I wish everyone could see how frantic some registered voters were to get their signatures counted so that IP 22 will get on the ballot," Jim added. "There's a sense that ordinary folks are beginning to grasp what the future will be if we don't push back effectively. They know this country is at a tipping point. A lot of these people have been sitting on the sidelines, intimidated about being called 'racist.' The usual ..."

Indeed, there was active intimidation that affected how voters' signatures were obtained. Jim explained that more than 100,000 of the signatures OFIR collected were gathered by volunteers with clipboards or by people downloading single-signature petition forms from the web and mailing them in (or making a last-minute drive to the capitol in Salem!). Meanwhile, fewer than 10,000 signatures resulted from the work of paid signature-collectors because, Jim explained, the best venue for that activity is metro Portland, "where it became exceedingly nasty to collect signatures, especially for women."

Jim is quite optimistic that the 110,445 signatures OFIR submitted will yield the needed 88,184 valid signatures. That would require an 80-percent validity rate, well below the 93-percent validity rate OFIR achieved in the signature-gathering stage of 2014's "NO on 88" campaign. Nevertheless, he and the others in OFIR's battle-tested crew must wait, nervously, to hear from Secretary of State Dennis Richardson.

It's fortunate that they're battle-tested, as Jim expects that "The other side is about to pull out every dirty trick in the book." The dirty tricks will presumably be the work of "Oregonians united against profiling," an umbrella organization established on July 6th, according to an email forwarded to me. With their name presumably also announcing their approach, we can expect a campaign of distortion along the lines of that in 2010 associated with Arizona's SB 1070 law of phony "Papers, please!"-hysteria fame.

It's hard to conjure a nexus between racial profiling and anti-sanctuary policies, so "Ouap" already looks like it's grasping at straws—on their "Get the Facts" page, they trot out this indictment of OFIR and of the Federation for American Immigration Reform:

The groups behind the effort to throw out Oregon’s existing Sanctuary law are Oregonians for Immigration Reform (OFIR) and the Federation of Immigration Reform (FAIR). Both groups have been designated extremist hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Going to the link they provide lands you on a typical SPLC point-and-splutter page.

Meanwhile, assuming the signature-gathering campaign has succeeded, IP 22 will apparently be the only statewide immigration-related ballot measure in the country this fall. Immigration patriots nationwide can keep tabs on the campaign via the OFIR website and the related Stop Oregon Sanctuaries website.

 


 

Related

The SPLC File - An Exclusive Report on the Southern Poverty Law Center, The Social Contract, Spring, 2018.

 

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