By David Rogers, Executive Director
Earlier this year, I told you that we were fighting three anti-immigrant ballot initiatives that were the work of the extremist group, Oregonians for Immigration Reform (OFIR,) and their allies. Today, I am happy to tell you that all three measures failed to qualify for the 2016 ballot.
However, our work is not over. OFIR has vowed to return next election cycle with their anti-immigrant agenda. Through their deep ties to white nationalist groups and funders, OFIR will continue to target immigrant families in Oregon.
The three measures they failed to qualify for the ballot were efforts to drive wedges between our communities and to fan the flames of division that have been front and center this election cycle. And, what did the measures have in common besides anti-immigrant sentiment? They would have harmed all Oregonians.
One attempted to make English the official language of Oregon preventing critical programs and services from being delivered in multiple languages. Another would have mandated that businesses use a flawed federal program to screen employees. The last one would have rolled back the right to vote by cancelling all voter registrations in the state and requiring everyone to re-register with physical proof of citizenship.
We challenged the proposed ballot language for all three measures in court, in an effort to make it clear to Oregon voters exactly what the proposals would do. Also, thousands of Oregonians came together for a ‘decline to sign’ campaign to reject the politics of hate and division and instead say, ‘these initiatives don’t reflect Oregon’s values.’ Thankfully, the measures won't see the light of day as the backers failed to gather the signatures necessary to place them on the ballot.
While it is important to celebrate our victories, we are very mindful that there is still so much more work to be done. Our goal is not only to stop regressive policies like we see from extremist groups like OFIR, but to ensure that every person in Oregon is treated with fairness and equality. The path ahead will not be an easy one, but with your support we will continue to make strides forward. Together, we will work to ensure that Oregon treats everyone with justice, dignity, and respect.