An Oregon DMV employee purportedly made a comment about shooting immigrants on Facebook, leading the Department of Transportation to investigate the situation. Credit: The Oregonian/Facebook

In this week’s roundup: Alongside the chaos unfolding at the nation’s borders, hate has continued to flow toward immigrants across the country. This week, we are combining two of our newsletters to track this: The Hate Report and Kids on the Line.

With the country’s eyes focused on the crisis unfolding at America’s borders, where immigrant children were being separated from their families and, in some cases in Phoenix, even housed in office buildings, hate has continued to flow toward immigrants in America.

In late June, just as the border controversy was heating up, the leader of a fraternity council at Texas Tech University had to step down after it was revealed that he had shared messages in a group chat suggesting that they “hunt” illegal border crossers.

Inside Higher Ed reports that Kyle Mitchell, the Interfraternity Council president, declared the “hunting” would create “a new ‘sport’ and ‘tax revenue stream’ for the government.”

Also last month in Chicago, a man unleashed a racist tirade against 24-year-old Mia Irizarry for wearing a T-shirt featuring the Puerto Rican flag. As a police officer stood by, apparently ignoring Irizarry’s pleas for help, 62-year-old Timothy Trybus shouted at Irizarry, “You shouldn’t be wearing that,” and “You’re not going to change us.”

Irizarry, who had a permit to be at the park and was trying to celebrate her birthday, posted a video of the attack on Facebook. It quickly went viral. After public outcry, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office filed felony hate crime charges against Trybus. The officer who apparently neglected to help Irizarry also is being investigated and has since resigned.

The incident in Chicago is just the latest in a long line of attacks against Latino Americans and immigrants that has coincided with the Trump administration’s increasingly aggressive immigration policies.

A report released last week by the California attorney general’s office showed that hate crimes – particularly against Latinos – have surged in the nation’s most populous state. Overall, hate crimes increased more than 17 percent from 2016 to 2017. Anti-Latino or Hispanic bias events rose nearly 52 percent over the same time period.      

The entire West Coast has seen an increase in hate incidents against immigrants. In late June, a DMV worker in Oregon was placed on leave after she purportedly wrote on Facebook about immigrants that immigration officials should “shoot them all at the border.”

Also in Oregon, an organization that has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center is tapping into this misinformed sentiment to try to overturn the state’s 30-year-old sanctuary law.

Oregon’s sanctuary status under fire from hate group  

Despite its “Portlandia”-driven reputation as a bastion of lefty liberalism, Oregon has a deeply racist past. Oregon Country (which became Oregon state) officially was designated as “whites only” in an 1844 law that ordered all non-whites to leave or face a severe whipping every six months until they left.

By 1987, however, political views in this still predominantly white state had changed enough that the Legislature passed a sanctuary law that cut ties between the federal government and state and local law enforcement agencies. The law pledged that no state or local law enforcement agencies would help search for  or apprehend people just because they had violated federal immigration laws.

Thirty years later, the political tide may be shifting again.

Earlier this month, a group called Oregonians for Immigration Reform submitted more than 100,000 signatures in support of a motion that would repeal the 1987 law. The organization, founded by a white nationalist, is a hate group with a long racist history, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The center has found 18 hate groups active in the state.

Nancy Haque, executive director of one of the organizations that form the immigrant advocacy coalition One Oregon, said the push to overturn the state’s sanctuary law is adding to racial tensions in Oregon.

“This law adds to a climate of hate,” she said. “I was born in the United States, I’m a citizen, my parents were citizens. But they immigrated to the U.S. I’m a person of color. Just last week, I was in a park with my 4-year-old son and some drunk teenagers thought it would be really funny to yell at me, saying they would call immigration on me.”

The signatures submitted last week will have to be verified by Oregon’s secretary of state before a repeal measure can be put on the ballot. Another advocacy group, Our Oregon, filed a complaint with the secretary of state accusing signature gatherers of misinforming people to get them to support the measure.

The complaint alleges that signature gatherers admitted they were being paid for each signature collected, which is prohibited under state law. In addition, as Haque told Reveal, signature gatherers allegedly informed potential signatories that the measure would let Oregonians vote on a sanctuary law. In reality, the measure would have repealed a law that has been on the books for decades.

Nigel Farage gets owned on Twitter

Apparently not content with sowing discontent in his own country, British politician Nigel Farage decided to retweet a shocking image last week: a woman in Canada apparently wearing a premade sign reading, “My legs are open for refugees.”

“What an insult to the victims of sexual abuse in Cologne and rape in Malmo,” Farage wrote. “These people are sick.”

The image, however, was a hoax. It was a shoddily altered version of a photo taken three years ago by Canadian photojournalist Lasia Kretzel. The sign around the woman’s neck originally read, “My door is open for refugees,” Kretzel wrote in The Guardian this week.  

I had first seen this doctored image about a year ago. It was frustrating to see my work altered, taken out of context, and used to serve someone else’s agenda. It didn’t matter what that agenda was. It mattered that they were spreading false information. At the time, it was being shared by random people on Facebook. I saw them as internet trolls having a laugh, and thought it would be better to let it pass. To demand that it be taken down would draw attention and risk it spreading further.

But on Sunday, it was different. It was a public figure, a current broadcaster, and a man who still has the ears and eyes of thousands of people daily.

Farage deleted the tweet.

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Have a hate incident to report? Tell us about it here, or contact The Hate Report team: Aaron Sankin can be reached at asankin@revealnews.org, and Will Carless can be reached at wcarless@revealnews.org. Follow them on Twitter: @asankin and @willcarless.

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And, while you are at it, if you have inside information about what’s going on with detained immigrant kids and families, email us at border@revealnews.org.

Correction on Jul 23, 2018

A previous version of this story misstated the date of the racist incident in Chicago. It occurred June 14.

Will Carless was a correspondent for Reveal covering extremism. He has worked as a foreign correspondent in Asia and South America. Prior to joining Reveal, he was a senior correspondent for Public Radio International’s Global Post team based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Before that, Will spent eight years at the Voice of San Diego, where he worked as an investigative reporter and head of investigations. During his tenure in San Diego, Will was awarded several prizes, including a national award from Investigative Reporters and Editors. He has been a finalist for the Livingston Awards for young journalists twice in the last five years. He surfs, spends time with his family, travels to silly places and pretends he’s writing a novel.

Aaron Sankin is a reporter for Reveal covering online extremism, election administration and technology policy. Before joining Reveal, he was a founding editor of The Huffington Post's San Francisco vertical and a senior staff writer on The Daily Dot's politics team. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Salon, Time, The Motley Fool, Mashable, Business Insider, San Francisco magazine and The Onion. A San Francisco Bay Area native, Sankin studied history and sociology at Rice University. His work at The Daily Dot was a finalist in Digiday's 2015 publisher of the year award, and a story he wrote about a Midwestern family being terrorized by a teenage hacker was labeled by The Atlantic as an essential piece of journalism for 2015. Sankin is based in Seattle.