OKLAHOMA IMMIGRATION BILL CASTS WIDE NET
April 24, 2007
Oklahoma, reacting to the rapid growth of the illegal immigrant population and fears for the future, is about to pass one of the nation's broadest state laws restricting illegal immigrants, says the Houston Chronicle.
Under the bill:
- Criminal penalties would be assessed for people who knowingly harbor or transport illegal immigrants, restricts access to identification such as driver's licenses and denies government benefits to illegal immigrants except in medical emergencies.
- State and local police authority would be expanded to enforce federal immigration law and deny bail to illegal immigrants arrested on felony or DWI charges.
- Increased requirements to screen workers for their immigration status would go into effect; firing a legal employee while retaining an illegal immigrant in the same position would subject the employer to a discrimination suit by the legal employee.
State Rep. Randy Terrill, who authored the bill, says he's responding to the concerns of his constituents and that though Oklahoma's problems may be small now, he's wary of the future. Oklahoma voters have been consistently putting illegal immigration near the top of the list of their concerns in recent polling, he said.
"We've been watching what illegal immigration has done to California, Arizona and Texas," Terrill said. "We don't want that to happen here."
Source: Kim Cobb, "Oklahoma immigration bill casts one of the widest nets," Houston Chronicle, April 23, 2007.
Browse more articles on Tax and Spending Issues