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  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

  • Tulsa, Oklahoma

  • Enforcement delayed on immigration law
    Bloomberg News, June 7, 2008

    A federal judge has issued an order delaying enforcement of Oklahoma's anti-illegal immigration law, saying it is "substantially likely" it is unconstitutional.

    U.S. District Judge Robin J. Cauthron issued a preliminary injunction earlier this week prohibiting enforcement of provisions of the law.

    In Utah, an Immigration Interim Committee is evaluating a comprehensive measure which includes some provisions similar to those in the Oklahoma law. Utah's law is set to take effect in July 2009.

    The court decision came on a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Oklahoma Chamber and other business groups.

    State Chamber official Mike Seney said the ruling was timely since the employer portions of the law were to take effect July 1.

    Provisions of the Oklahoma law subjected employers to penalties for failing to comply with a federal employee verification system designed to prevent the hiring of illegal immigrants.

    Saddle maker fined over immigration violations
    AP, May 20, 2008

    MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) — A judge has ordered a saddle and tack manufacturing company in Sulphur to pay $51,000 in fines in connection with violations of immigration law.

    Billy Cook pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors immigration violations and was given a $3,000 fine on each count. The 77-year-old owner of Billy Cook Harness and Saddle also was given two years of probation on each misdemeanor count.

    U.S. Attorney Sheldon Sperling said Tuesday Cook agreed with his longtime employee, Rutilio Osornio, to hire illegal aliens Osornio introduced to Cook.

    Osornio pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count and was given $3,000 in fines and two years of probation.

    In August 2006, a federal search warrant was executed at the business and 51 illegal aliens were found to be employed at the factory.
    Language bill would miss goal
    By MICK HINTON World Capitol Bureau, May 6, 2008

    It couldn't stop driver tests from being offered in Spanish.

    OKLAHOMA CITY -- Even if the people vote overwhelmingly to make English the official language of Oklahoma, the state still would be obligated to provide driver's license tests in Spanish, officials confirmed Monday.

    The bill's author, Rep. Randy Terrill, discovered the loophole in Senate Bill 163 late last week. He conceded that he thought the legislation would eliminate testing being given in Spanish.

    Although this weakens the bill, the measure still contains provisions that could make it more difficult for Hispanics to use the judicial system, pay taxes or receive state services through the use of interpreters.

    The "official English" bill calls for a vote of the people in November. It would assure that driver's tests could not be given in any language but English "unless such other use is specifically required by federal or state law."
    Judge allows lawsuit against illegal immigration law to proceed
    AP, April 4, 2008

    TULSA, Okla. (AP) - A Tulsa County judge has ruled that a lawsuit challenging Oklahoma's new anti-illegal immigration law can go forward.

    District Judge Jefferson Sellers denied requests by Gov. Brad Henry and Tulsa County commissioners to dismiss the case. He postponed arguments until April 11 on a request by the suit's plaintiff, Michael C. Thomas, for summary judgment. Thomas filed the suit Jan. 3.

    Attorneys for Henry and the commissioners had argued that Thomas had no legal standing to file the suit, noting that the commissioners do not enforce the law, the county sheriff's office does. That office is not named in the suit.

    But James Thomas, a law professor at the University of Tulsa and Michael Thomas' father, said the law violates the state's constitution. James Thomas said the state constitution prohibits the appropriation of public money to establish a bureau of immigration.

    The measure, House Bill 1804, was passed by the Legislature last year and was signed into law by Henry. It went into effect for the public sector on Nov. 1 and will go into effect July 1 for private-sector employers.

    Among other things, it bars illegal immigrants from receiving tax-supported services, requires employers to verify the immigration status of their employees and exposes employers to legal action for hiring unauthorized immigrants in place of U.S. citizens.
    We need reasonable immigration laws
    By FLOYD M. SCHOENHALS for the Tulsa Times, March 30, 2008

    I was appalled when I read that Adriana Torres-Flores was recently locked without food and water and forgotten for four days in a tiny holding cell in the Washington County, Ark., jail in Fayetteville. It was reported that Torres-Flores, whose three children were born in the United States, is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico and has lived in this country for 19 years.

    Although many people may not know it, the federal government is detaining people at skyrocketing rates, including thousands who are seeking asylum protection as well as families with young children and hardworking members of our community. In total, more than 320,000 people were detained in more than 400 facilities nationwide last year, costing U.S. taxpayers $1.2 billion.
    Okla. Immigration Bill Will Cost State - Study Finds Anti-Illegal-Immigrant Bill to Cost Oklahoma $1.8B in Economic Losses
    By Ron Jenkins for the AP, March 25, 2008

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A new study estimates that Oklahoma's anti-illegal immigration law will cause $1.8 billion in economic losses as foreign-born workers flee the state.

    The projection is based on 50,000 workers, both documented and undocumented, leaving Oklahoma, causing a 1.3 percent reduction in the gross state product over the next few years.

    The Oklahoma Bankers Association said it has no stand on the immigration measure, but commissioned the study after reports from banks of problems incurred by companies that employ immigrant workers.

    One restaurant that had been making $5,000 payments to a bank each month closed its doors, construction projects have been delayed because of a lack of workers and farm workers have disappeared, banking officials said.

    Oklahoma's House bill, written by Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore, took effect Nov. 1, preventing undocumented immigrants from obtaining driver's licenses and public services.

    It criminalized transporting, concealing or harboring them, and eventually will require employers to check immigration status of prospective employees through an online federal program.
    Immigration Policy in Ok: The tension between liberty and law
    By Patrick B. McGuigan for Tulsa Today, March 22, 2008

    Immigration, not Social Security, is suddenly the third rail of American politics. Most everyone seems to agree it's a major problem of law and culture. There's a widely held belief that the federal government over the past two decades failed us all by losing control of our national borders and ignoring illegal immigrants among us.

    One day we woke up with somewhere between 15 and 20 million illegal aliens domiciled in the United States. In the midst of very reasonable concerns about security in the age of suitcase bombs, the race was on to "do something" about the immigration problem.

    That desire to "do something" is understandable. After all, we are a nation of laws. Many who are less than comfortable with Oklahoma's new immigration law nonetheless support making English the official language of the country, as a way to bind a fractious modern society to a common language and means of discourse.
    Immigration Reform, Revisited - Not quite ready for prime time, "Son of HB 1804" sequel still in production
    BY BRIAN ERVIN for the Urban Tulsa Weekly, March 12, 2008

    It looks like the eagerly anticipated, or loathingly dreaded (depending on who's asked) "Son of House Bill 1804--the sequel to last year's uber-controversial state-level anti-illegal immigration legislation--won't be along this year after all.

    But, a "daughter of 1804" might still emerge, depending on the success of state Rep. Randy Terrill's political strategizing.

    The Republican from Moore told UTW last week that he recently made a "strategic decision" not to carry two immigration reform-related House bills any farther, but to drop one until next session and to reincarnate the other in the form of an amendment to an incoming Senate bill.

    The prospective "daddy"--HB 1804 Terrill authored last year has been criticized by opponents but hailed by supporters nationwide as "the most meaningful and comprehensive" immigration reform legislation in the country.

    Since its passage, it's been the target of three different lawsuits, two of which are still pending, and a catalyst for discussion within the ongoing national debate over immigration reform.
    State business leaders want immigration law reconsidered
    By The Durant Daily Democrat, February 18, 2008

    TULSA (AP) - State business leaders are discussing possible efforts to encourage lawmakers to reconsider parts of Oklahoma's new anti-illegal immigration law.

    Some of those efforts could include a public information campaign about what they say are insidious aspects of the law, which is considered to be the nation's toughest such legislation at the state level.
    Tuesday, July 10, 2007
    Tulsa Is On The Leading Edge of the Immigration “War”
    By JonJayRay
    Oklahoma Political News Service

    Below is an extensive excerpt from an even more extensive article.

    Tulsa is on the leading edge of local and state efforts to crack down on illegal immigration following passage by the Oklahoma Legislature of what is arguably the toughest anti-illegal immigration measure in the nation. The Tulsa City Council also embraced the get-tough approach by adopting a resolution calling on police officers to check the immigration status of “all suspected illegal aliens.” Those actions have sparked a fierce political battle, spread fear among Hispanics — both legal residents and those in the country illegally — and triggered an angry public face-off between demonstrators on either side of the great divide.

    Among the longtime residents shaken by the changes engulfing his city is Gary Rutledge, an reader who said the demographic shift took his family and friends by surprise. “It’s happened so quickly and our neighborhoods have changed so rapidly,” said Rutledge, a political science professor at nearby Rogers State University. In East Tulsa, just across the main thoroughfare from his comfortable brick home, the broad avenues are now peppered with signs in Spanish and malls catering to Latino shoppers — offering everything from soccer wear and piñatas to check cashing services and Latin pop music. “That whole part of the city has become a miniature Juarez or Tijuana or whatever you want to call it,” said Rutledge.