A Republican politician in Oregon pushing to repeal an immigrant-friendly law is the vice president of an anti-immigrant hate group, the group told The Daily Beast on Monday, despite his previous denial.
Oregon House Rep. Mike Nearman is vice president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform, an anti-immigrant coalition with ties to eugenicist John Tanton, who has pushed white nationalist politics through a series of anti-immigrant organizations. When the Oregon alt-weekly Corvallis Advocate revealed Nearman’s ties to OIR last week, the politician claimed he was a lowly board member, not vice president.
That’s news to OIR, which told The Daily Beast on Monday that Nearman was very definitely their vice president. OIR and Nearman are spearheading an effort to repeal a 31-year-old Oregon law that prevents state and local police from arresting people whose only crime is being in the country without proper documentation. Prior to Nearman’s vice presidency, OIR’s political action committee gave more than $20,000 to the Repeal Oregon Sanctuary Law campaign committee that Nearman is a member of.
“He’s vice president of OIR,” the group’s communications director Jim Ludwick told The Daily Beast of Nearman. Last week, Nearman denied being vice president, despite being listed as such on the group’s website. He told the Advocate that he was an OIR board member.
“Sometimes the protocols of who’s what and who’s not what gets lost in the shuffle,” Ludwick said, adding that “maybe next meeting we should sit down with badges” explaining their job titles.
Cached versions of OIR’s website reveal Nearman became vice president some time after early March 2017. Nearman did not return voicemail or email messages on Monday.
The post puts him second in command at what the Southern Poverty Law Center and local news organizations have characterized as a hate group. On its website, OIR calls for slashing immigration rates, claiming that current immigration patterns “dissuade assimilation of new immigrants into becoming Americans.” Its actual history is more explicitly racist.
By Kelly Weill for DAILY BEAST
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