Group promotes rule of law and citizenship, not hate

Letter date: 
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Letter publisher: 
The Register Guard
Letter author: 
Richard F. LaMountain
Letter body: 

In a May 15 editorial, The Register Guard extended “kudos” to a group of University of Oregon students affiliated with the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlan, or MEChA. In a letter to the university’s general counsel, the MEChA students had objected to the “O” logo of Oregonians for Immigration Reform — a group that advocates policies to stem illegal immigration — as too closely resembling the university’s “O” logo.

The impetus for MEChA’s letter: OFIR’s recent designation by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “hate” group. MEChA’s letter, in turn, inspired the university to threaten to sue OFIR for trademark infringement.

We’ll discuss the SPLC and the logos in a moment. But first, let’s take a closer look at MEChA.

The “A” in “MEChA” stands for “Aztlan” — an imaginary nation comprised of a number of Western states including Oregon. Who, maintains MEChA, has the right to this territory?

“Aztlan belongs ... not to the foreign Europeans,” proclaims MEChA’s website ( “The Chicano inhabitants ... of Aztlan” are intent on “reclaiming the land of their birth... . We do not recognize capricious frontiers on the bronze continent... . We declare the independence of our mestizo nation.”

The kicker: “Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada.” Translation: “For The Race, everything. For those outside The Race, nothing.”

This is the group that accused OFIR of trying to “normalize a message of hate”? This is the group whose bidding is done by a university that trumpets fealty to “diversity” and “inclusion”?

MEChA’s letter to the university “bodes well,” posited the editorial, for its members’ “potential as future leaders.” Well, fine — if one considers good “future leaders” members of a group whose website advocates a race-based “reconquista” of Oregon.

As for the SPLC? It exists mainly to slander patriotic Americans and the organizations that represent them as racists and xenophobes. Via “distortion, smear, and character assassination,” writes Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Jerry Kammer, the SPLC “seeks to stifle one of democracy’s most vital functions, the vigorous discussion of important public issues.” Intelligent, informed people don’t take the SPLC seriously — and neither should The Register-Guard or the UO.

And OFIR’s logo? The May 18 Register-Guard printed the university’s and OFIR’s logos side by side. Take a look. Where’s the resemblance? Other than being the same letter of the alphabet, there isn’t any — which is why OFIR has informed the university it will retain its logo.

And now, finally, to OFIR itself.

OFIR is as mainstream as it gets. Its mission, simply, is to advocate for an immigration policy that puts respect for law and the interests of U.S. citizens first. Its members are upstanding, hardworking Americans from all walks of life — and include Hispanics and immigrants. If the SPLC considers OFIR members “haters,” it must think the same of the 63 million Americans, comprising majorities or winning pluralities in 30 of the 50 states, who elected a president who champions stronger border control and an end to illegal-immigrant sanctuary policies.

“Chicano is our identity,” MEChA members have declared. OFIR could not be more different. Its members believe our nation’s identity turns not on race, but on shared citizenship and devotion to country.

The MEChA students, the editorial stated, “chose to channel their ... frustration into a constructive response.” Well, Oregonians frustrated with sanctuary policies that mock American law and sovereignty can do the same.

OFIR activists are collecting signatures to qualify a measure for the November 2018 ballot that would enable voters to repeal Oregon’s illegal-immigrant sanctuary law. To find out more, visit
OFIR is confident that its message of patriotism and respect for law — and, yes, of inclusion — will triumph over MEChA’s message of anger, separatism and rejection of those outside “La Raza.”

Richard F. LaMountain of Portland is a former vice president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform.