All of us are immigrants
Every daughter, every son
Everyone is everyone
All of us are immigrants
Everyone-from City of Immigrants by Steve Earle
What Arizona can do, we can do stricter.
That could be the rallying cry for a group of Oklahoma legislators who want to pass a stricter anti-illegal immigration law than the controversial measure recently passed in Arizona.
The Arizona bill, which requires police officers to check documents of anyone they suspect is here illegally, has drawn lawsuits, protests and economic boycotts, but that’s not going to stop conservative lawmakers here from going down the same road.
In a tangible sense, the Arizona bill sanctions racial profiling, primarily of Hispanic people, and creates a type of police state that should alarm everyone no matter what they feel about illegal immigrants. (The bill was modified Thursday supposedly to prevent racial profiling.) Will we all have to carry extra paperwork soon and be subject to random questioning by police because we look or talk a certain way? It’s really not that far-fetched.
According to media reports, state Rep. Randy Terrill (R-Moore) and other lawmakers want the same law here only they want to up the ante by confiscating vehicles of illegal immigrants and preventing automatic citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants. They want to pass it this session.
Terrill, of course, is the author of controversial House Bill 1804, passed in 2007, which gave Oklahoma the strictest anti-illegal immigration law in the country. That bill has also drawn legal challenges and protests.
Oklahoma faces a major budget crisis. Next year’s budget has a gaping $800-$850 million shortfall. State employees, including educators, face furloughs and layoffs. Mental health services have been cut.
Yet the law-and-order conservative crowd here wants to drag this state deeper into a financial hole through hateful, intolerant legislation that reeks of racism. If such a bill passes, expect the same reaction Arizona received. The state will have to fight costly lawsuits, the convention business in Oklahoma and Tulsa will experience cancellations, American cities, such as San Francisco, El Paso and New York, could literally stop doing business here.
Does Oklahoma really want to isolate itself from the rest of the world? Why doesn’t the corporate power structure in this state come to the rescue and stop propping up the GOP? Is this type of controversial legislation good for businesses here? Is there a breaking point?
The American Civil Liberties Union denounced the proposal and state Rep. Ryan Kiesel (D-Seminole) spoke out forcefully against it, but historically Oklahomans have supported strict anti-illegal immigration laws and this is an election year. If the bill is passed, the best chance to stop it will be in the Senate, which consists of 26 Republicans and 22 Democrats. If it makes it through the Senate, Gov. Brad Henry should veto it.
Congress has failed the American people by refusing to pass comprehensive immigration reform that would bring illegal immigrants out in the open and give them a chance for citizenship. The Arizona bill and the Oklahoma proposal is what you end up with.