…all of us at OLCV [Oregon League of Conservation Voters] know we have to fight for what we believe in. I wanted to send you today’s guest opinion in The Oregonian from myself and Erica Stock of the Oregon Sierra Club. I hope you will take a moment to read it and share it with others.
Thank you for taking the time,
Doug Moore, Executive Director OLCV
Anti-immigrant ballot measures have no place in Oregon (Guest opinion)
By Doug Moore and Erica Stock
Everyone deserves clean air and water, and a chance for a healthy and vibrant life. Through our organizations, we work to protect our environment and we try to do the right thing. Right now, we need to speak up.
What has happened to immigrants since the election of President Trump is nothing short of appalling: xenophobia given center stage and real harm to people in our communities. In five months, President Trump has directly attacked people and the planet with his inhumane and ineffective executive actions. His actions and boasts, whether on Twitter or TV, have emboldened the small, but very real, segment of Oregon that propagates hate and feeds off bigotry.
A potential ballot measure, Initiative Petition 22, is one example of the frightening national anti-immigrant agenda gaining ground in Oregon. The proponents just submitted 1,000 signatures to begin the ballot title drafting process. If passed by Oregon voters, it would abolish a law dating back 30 years, which has been called a model for protecting local resources from being used to supplant federal immigration enforcement. For 30 years, this law has ensured our local police are able to focus on public safety, instead of being held hostage to the whims of federal immigration policy.
At the epicenter of attacks like IP 22 is Oregonians for Immigration Reform (OFIR), which uses false appeals to environmental concerns to propagate their particular form of hate. OFIR tries to appear mainstream, hiding behind a tree logo and a tagline referencing environmental sustainability. Don’t be fooled.
The Southern Poverty Law Center designated OFIR a “nativist extremist group” because they promote a bigoted, anti-immigrant agenda. At their last membership meeting, OFIR hosted a hate group, a designation their president called a “badge of honor.” They’re an extremist anti-immigrant group, with a dangerous agenda that doesn’t belong in Oregon.
Environmentalism, at its heart, is about both people and places. As our climate crisis worsens, more and more people will be torn from their communities and lose their homes and livelihoods. Our humanity demands of us to not only combat the effects of climate change on a policy and political level, but also to recognize and stand in solidarity with people most affected. How can we not welcome those forced from their homes or who move in search of a better life?
The environmental community has a responsibility to speak out. It’s why our organizations are proud members of the One Oregon Coalition, where we stand with our partners in defending Oregon against anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim policies and ballot measures, like IP 22. We work to ensure all Oregonians, regardless of country of birth, are treated with dignity and respect.
The stakes are too high for us to fail now. We need environmental solutions rooted in hope, not fear. We need solutions that will bring each and every one of us into a better, greener future. Immigrants make Oregon stronger and are essential to finding workable solutions that make that future a reality.
Doug Moore is executive director of the Oregon League of Conservation Voters. Erica Stock is director of the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club.