Fox Finds Nativist To Attack In-State Tuition For Undocumented Students

Blog ››› ››› SALVATORE COLLELUORI

During a report on diminished Republican opposition to granting in-state tuition for undocumented students, Fox News included the view of a spokesperson for the nativist group, Oregonians for Immigration Reform, to argue against the measure and accuse Republicans of "pandering" for Latino votes. Fox News has long engaged in promoting extreme voices to attack in-state tuition for undocumented students.

Discussing proposals in Oregon and Colorado that would grant certain undocumented students in those states in-state tuition, Fox News' America's Newsroom contrasted approving comments from Oregon state Republican Rep. Mark Johnson with comments from Jim Ludwick, a co-founder and former president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform.

Host Bill Hemmer introduced Ludwick's comments by saying, "Not everyone, I'd imagine, is happy about this shift." Ludwick was identified on-air simply as being with "Oregonians for Immigration Reform."

Oregonians for Immigration Reform (OFIR) has been labeled an active "nativist extremist group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The hate group the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) lists OFIR on its network of "local immigration reform" groups.

According to OFIR's current website, the group was founded in 2000 by Frank Brehm, Jim Ludwick, and Elizabeth Van Staaveren. However, the organization's previous website -- which was hosted on a site for white nationalists called New Nation News (the site was hacked by Anonymous last month and taken down)  -- shows that the group was established in 1997 and listed Frank Brehm as the contact:

The 'publications' section of the group's defunct website links to works by the who's who of the anti-immigrant world including Roy Beck of the nativist group NumbersUSA and Peter Brimlow, the white nationalist founder of VDARE.

In 2011, the group's new president Cynthia Kendoll appeared at a "pizza and politics event" with Ludwick hosted by the Chemeketa Multicultural Center in Oregon. She reportedly admitted that while waiting to testify in front of the Oregon Legislature, she told an undocumented man who said he had been brought into the country as a baby that "she was in her country, and he needed to return to his."

At the same event, Ludwick reportedly stated:

We feel that present immigration levels, both legal and illegal, are too high to sustain -- environmentally, socially, fiscally, and politically. We advocate for strong border enforcement to the point where we believe a physical barrier should be put up on our side of the border, and we are opposed to any amnesty.

In September 2012, county sheriffs in Oregon were forced to disavow the group's ideology when it was reported that they had attended a "border school" hosted by FAIR for which OFIR had covered part of one of the sheriffs' expenses and at which Kendoll was present.

When reminded that FAIR was considered a hate group by the SPLC, Ludwick called the SPLC "the most hateful, bigoted group around" and stated, "If they want to call us a hate group, I'll wear that as a badge of honor."

Ludwick's appearance on the network is just the latest example of Fox continuing to promote extreme voices to attack immigrants and hype anti-immigrant sentiment, as well as advance opposition to in-state tuition for undocumented students.

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