The Washington Times
November 1, 2007
Oklahoma's crackdown ruled in order
By Jerry Seper, national reporter
The National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBPO) is applauding a decision by U.S. District Judge James Payne in Tulsa, Okla., who denied a request for an injunction by Latino groups to enjoin the state from putting into effect a new law barring illegal aliens from jobs and state assistance, and making it a felony to harbor or transport an illegal alien.
"NAFBPO is pleased to see that Oklahoma is free to proceed; it is a step in the right direction," said Kent Lundgren, coordinator of the 800-member association. "It is the proper role of the states to act when the federal government ignores its responsibilities, as it has for decades with respect to illegal immigration.
"Furthermore, the states have long been laboratories for social and political experiments - Oklahoma's action will explore this for the nation," he said.
Judge Payne ruled on Wednesday that the plaintiffs — including the Southwest regional counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund — had failed to introduce enough evidence to meet the burden of proof required for a preliminary injunction to be issued. The judge threw out an earlier attempt by the group to stop the measure, known as House Bill 1804, saying the plaintiffs could not show they were harmed by a law that hadn't taken effect yet.
Mr. Lundgren, a former Border Patrol assistant chief, said NABPO has predicted that if the things that make it convenient or easy for illegal aliens to stay are removed, they will move on. He said that is being demonstrated in Oklahoma now, "where it is said by some that tens of thousands of illegal aliens have moved out of the state in response to the law."
NAFBPO, he said, expects that after an "initial period of adjustment to new realities," employers will find that there is no labor shortage. He said they may have to pay more to bring domestic workers back into the workforce, but that will benefit the state's economy. He said hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent locally, no longer being sent abroad by illegal aliens to their families back home.
Mr. Lundgren also said that NAFBPO believes an "honest accounting of welfare and education costs a year from now will reveal that they have either diminished to a noticeable degree or that stable funds are able to better support and educate legal Oklahoma residents." He said NAFBPO also predicts the state will see an improvement in public safety issues, from accidents involving uninsured motorists to gang crime.
Immigrant rights groups have decried the legislation, saying it unnecessarily repeats federal law, dehumanizes people and panders to people with racial biases.
But Mr. Lundgren said it was NAFBPO's position that although real immigration reform is possible, "it doesn't begin by legalizing millions of people who got here by evasion and trickery and deceit," he said. "It begins by making it clear to illegal aliens from anywhere that they must go home — and most of them do still have homes and family abroad.
"We don't have to arrest them and deport them; they will go on their own once they understand that they are no longer welcome." he said.
Mr. Lundgren said immigration laws exist for demonstrable reasons, although the government has "ignored those reasons for decades and is now paying a price for it." But, he said, a correction is underway, beginning with the states, and ultimately this is about "Americans making the decisions about whom we will allow to live among us.
"We will not have the decisions forced down our throats by those who have broken our laws and those who profit by their presence," he said.
State Rep. Randy Terrill answers questions about immigration
A little background...
from News OK.com
Wed May 9, 2007
Immigration bill OK'd
By Michael McNutt
Although saying illegal immigration must be addressed by the federal government, Gov. Brad Henry signed an immigration reform bill Tuesday that won overwhelming approval in both state legislative chambers.
"While some will undoubtedly claim this state legislation is a landmark step forward, the truth of the matter is we will not effectively address immigration reform until the federal government acts,” Henry said in a statement.
Henry, who issued a three-paragraph statement after signing the bill less than seven hours before the midnight deadline, had said during his re-election campaign last year immigration was a federal matter.
Opponents pledged to take their case against the law to court.
Rep. Randy Terrill, main author of House Bill 1804, said he is pleased the governor signed it. He and other supporters have said Oklahoma has waited long enough on the federal government to control illegal immigrants coming across the U.S. border and eventually into Oklahoma.
Terrill, R-Moore, led the charge the past two years to win support of an immigration measure, saying illegal immigrants are unfairly using taxpayer-funded benefits such as in-state college tuition and social services.
"I find it quite refreshing to know that a well-informed and engaged citizenry can in fact make a difference by communicating their wishes through the Legislature and to the governor,” he said. "I'm just very pleased that the governor received that message and decided to respect the will of the people.”
Terrill said the bill is "the most meaningful immigration reform bill in the nation” and "would represent the single, most significant step that any state has taken in this area.”"It will put Oklahoma at the forefront of the state level immigration reform movement,” Terrill said.
Had Henry vetoed the bill, lawmakers almost certainly would have overridden his veto. The bill passed in the House, 88-14, and in the Senate 41-6. It would have taken 68 votes in the House and 32 votes in the Senate to override his veto.
Sen. James Williamson, R-Tulsa, a Senate author of the bill, said he was not surprised the Democratic governor signed the bill.
"We had enough bipartisan support to frankly override it if he hadn't,” he said. "The issue is incredibly important to our state and to our country.”
The bill, which takes effect Nov. 1, would set criminal penalties for knowingly and willingly harboring illegal immigrants. No public benefits would be allowed to people in the state illegally, except in cases of medical emergencies or emergency aid. Businesses would need to run all workers through a federal verification system or risk penalties and legal action.
The legislation also would cut off in-state tuition for illegal immigrant students unless they can verify they have applied for citizenship or plan to within one year. Some say that could cut off most illegal students from in-state tuition because once a student enters the country illegally, it is almost impossible to become a legal citizen.
Henry said illegal immigration is "a very serious national security issue” that must be addressed at the federal level. "States can take some actions on their own,” Henry said.
"But until the U.S. Congress enacts a comprehensive, national immigration policy, citizens will see little progress on this issue."
He said the state should closely monitor the impact of HB 1804 to ensure "it doesn't have any unintended consequences.”
What does Bill 1804 do?
This blog by Southwesterngrad shows what the bill does.
Reflections On Life
Saturday November 3, 2007
Oklahoma's Tough Immigration Law Now in Effect..
...Today also marks another milestone for Oklahoma--the institution of one of the toughest immigration laws anywere. Some may remember I blogged about it when the legislature drafted it and our Democratic governor reluctantly signed it.
This piece of legislation has the overwhelming support of the people--some 73% favor it, according to a poll conducted yesterday by one of the local television stations.
Yet, for the past two weeks, different factions have done nothing but moan and groan. Chief among them the ACLU, the Catholic diocese, and law enforcement.
The first two I understand--the ACLU opposes anything that they perceive to violate a person's individual rights. I counter that simply by stating that illegal immigrants have no rights under the law. Naturally the Catholic diocese opposes it. Its churches are packed to capacity with Mexican immigrants, adding money to their coffers. But law enforcement, who whine they don't have the manpower to enforce it! Give me a break!
I have traveled most of this state when I was in the insurance business. I know from experience that three-forths of the highway patrol and most of local law enforcement spend more time drinking coffee and trying to set "speed traps" than they do actually looking for people seriously in violation of the law. Get off your butts and go to work, for a change.
For those who may not remember the blog I did on this subject back when the legislature was in session, this is what the new legislation does.
1. Set criminal penalties for knowingly and willingly harboring illegal immigrants.
2. Cut off public benefits to people in the state illegally, except in cases of medical emergencies or emergency aid.
3. Require all businesses to run all workers through a federal verification system or risk penalties and legal action.
4. Cut off in-state tuition for illegal immigrant students unless they can verify they have applied for citizenship or plan to apply within one year.
5. Empower local law officers to enforce immigration laws, closing the loophole that prevents local officials from holding an illegal immigrant unless that individual has been charged with a crime.
Supporters of the bill say states have waited long enough on the federal government to control the influx of illegal immigrants coming across the U. S. border and eventually into Oklahoma.
I agree. This is a sweeping bill. The first stipulation includes, among other things, renting to illegal immigrants. That means a lot of people currently filling their vacancies with illegal immigrants are in violation of the law and subject to hefty fines.
The second phase of the bill denies Medicaid and other free medical care, except in emergencies, to illegal immigrants who live off the state's welfare system, costing the state government millions each year.
Illegal immigrants in our colleges routinely get their tuition paid by the state because of low family income. That now ceases unless they can prove they have applied for citizenship.
The third phase shifts to the responsibility of employers, who now must run every employee through a Federal screening process to determine if they are legal or illegal immigrants. That should shut down the use of falsified documents, including social security numbers and other forms of identification. If these employers fail to do so, they are in violation of the law and are subject to fines and legal action.
Finally, law enforcement may now hold an illegal immigrant without charging him with a crime until immigration officials find time to pick him up and deport him.
These are all in effect as of today with no "grandfathering" clause. It is going to be interesting to see how this plays out.