Friday, June 22, 2007

Illegal Immigration Not OK in Oklahoma

Oklahoma's Governor Brad Henry has signed a sweeping immigration reform bill entitled The Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007 [House Bill 1804]. Its sponsor believes it will go a long way in dealing with the illegal alien problem in the state.

House Bill 1804 was passed by overwhelming majorities in both the House and Senate of the Oklahoma Legislature, and reluctantly signed by the governor.

The measure's sponsor, State Representative Randy Terrill, says the bill has four main topical areas: it deals with identity theft; it terminates public assistance benefits to illegals; it empowers state and local police to enforce federal immigration laws; and it punishes employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens.

Oklahoma is no longer "OK" for illegal aliens, Terrill observes. "When you put everything together in context," he contends, "the bottom line is illegal aliens will not come here if there are no jobs waiting for them, they will not stay here if there is no government subsidy, and they certainly won't stay here if they know that if they ever encounter our state and local law enforcement officers, they will be physically detained until they're deported. And that's exactly what House Bill 1804 does."

The Oklahoma legislator is pleased the bill he sponsored into law was signed by Governor Henry and believes it will go a long way to curb the illegal immigration problem in the state. "I would remind people that states are separate sovereigns in our federal system," Terrill points out. "Anyone who doesn't understand that needs to go back and take an American federal government class in college," he says.

As a result of that sovereignty, the Oklahoma lawmaker insists, "we have as much right - in fact, I would argue, a responsibility - to protect our taxpayers against that sort of egregious waste, fraud and abuse as the federal government should have a responsibility to protect that international border, but doesn't do it."

Terrill says as long as the federal government refuses to do its job of protecting the international borders of the United States, states like Oklahoma must take action to deal with the problem that is costing taxpayers in the state $200 million a year in public benefits, law enforcement costs, and other resources.

Groups representing illegals claim the law is unconstitutional and, naturally, threaten to sue.