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SPLC-Designated 'Extremist' Group Leads Drive to Shelve Oregon's Sanctuary Status

Oregonians for Immigration Reform petition drive

Jim Ludwick, co-founder of Oregonians for Immigration Reform, points with enthusiasm to his organization’s designation by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an “anti-immigrant hate group.”

“We are very proud of that. I have a button that says, ‘The SPLC Hates Me,’” Ludwick told PJM. “If you are doing what we are doing and you haven’t been called a hate group by the SPLC, then you are not doing your job.”

He didn’t know about the SPLC slam until a neighbor, whom Ludwick described as “a very liberal college professor and a great friend,” came over to his house a few years ago to tell him the news.

The SPLC never called Ludwick to ask him any questions or talk about his group, he said. Not that he felt the need to, but Ludwick said he never had a chance to defend OFIR. It doesn't take a political rocket scientist to detect Ludwick’s disgust with the SPLC.

“They (SPLC) are a leftist, Marxist organization that tries to slur people who disagree with them,” Ludwick added.

The SPLC lists OFIR among “nativist extremist” groups that “go beyond mere advocacy to personally confront suspected undocumented immigrants or those who hire or help them.”

Well, this will give new fuel to the SPLC’s fire: With a successful 2014 campaign to stop Oregon from issuing drivers’ cards to illegal immigrants under its belt, the OFIR is on a new mission in 2018.

Ludwick said the OFIR wants to overturn Oregon’s three decades of tradition as a sanctuary state for those who enter and stay in the U.S. illegally.

OFIR is leading the Initiative Petition 22 campaign. It is an effort to collect enough petition signatures, and then adequate voter support in the November election, to repeal Oregon’s law that stops state agencies, including law enforcement, from using state resources to arrest illegal immigrants.

“Illegal aliens can and do harm the American citizens to whom Oregon owes its foremost responsibility. For this reason, enforcement of U.S. immigration law is central to the duties of Oregon's police departments and sheriff's offices,” read a statement on the website of Stop Oregon Sanctuaries.

The SOS statement also said by lifting the decades-old law that blocked state resources from being used to track down and apprehend illegal aliens, Oregon police would be freed “to better protect Oregonians from criminal aliens.”

But Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility said the proposal to do away with the state’s sanctuary state law involves “racial profiling and scapegoating of a vulnerable population.”

“In addition, deportation of immigrants presents a many-faceted threat to public health,” the OPSR statement read. “Deportation and the threat of deportation negatively affect both mental health and access to healthcare. Children of deportees are at risk of increased health problems due to loss of economic support and familial relationship.”