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Tulsa Group Says Immigration Enforcement Is A Federal Thing, Not The City's Concern

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Members of the Coalition for the American Dream held a news conference in front of city hall Members of the Coalition for the American Dream held a news conference in front of city hall
Tulsa city councilor Jim Mautino talking at the city council meeting Tuesday Tulsa city councilor Jim Mautino talking at the city council meeting Tuesday

By Craig Day, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Tuesday morning, the Tulsa city council discussed a proposal that is drawing fire from Latino groups and some who think the city council is wasting its time.

Others say the city of Tulsa ordinance would strengthen the city's stand against illegal immigration and is needed to help protect jobs locally.

Read the proposed city ordinance draft.

During its meeting Tuesday, the council talked about a proposal by Councilor Jim Mautino that would require the city to verify the immigration status of all new city employees, contractors and subcontractors.

6/13/2010 Related story: Tulsa City Councilor Wants Stronger Enforcement Of Immigration Laws

"So that the legal citizens of the city of Tulsa have the ability to get the job and they are not undercut by illegal immigrants," said Jim Mautino.

He believes city contractors are hiring illegal immigrants to cut labor costs. But his proposed ordinance is being blasted by the Coalition for the American Dream, a Latino advocacy group.

"It's truly, truly a proposal that is targeting people," said Marvin Lizama.

The group says immigration policy is a federal issue, not one the city should tackle, especially with other pressing issues, and it would be hard to enforce.

"Who's going to go around asking all of the contractors show me your books, line up your employees," said Marvin Lizama.

The Coalition for the American Dream says there are existing federal and state laws that already prohibit the hiring of undocumented workers, and that Mautino's proposal lacks substance and is a duplication of efforts.

State House Bill 1804, which became law in 2007, already requires employers to verify immigration status and makes it a felony to hire illegal immigrants.

"He was asked a question about what is in this that is missing from 1804 and the answer is nothing," said Marvin Lizama, Coalition for the American Dream.

Despite that criticism, Councilor Mautino says the ordinance is needed and will bring it to a city council vote Thursday night.

"Our constitution gives the people the right to come here as legal citizens, and when you subvert this, you are destroying the very country the very country that has been the greatest country," said Jim Mautino.

You can let us know what you think of the proposed immigration ordinance by posting in the TOPIX section.

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