City Councilor Proposes Ordinance To Keep City Funds From Going To Illegal Immigrants

The ordinance says city funds are not to be used to house, accommodate, or benefit illegal immigrants, whether directly or indirectly.

Tuesday, February 20th 2024, 10:30 pm



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A Tulsa City Councilor proposes a new city ordinance to keep city funds from benefitting illegal immigrants.

Other councilors wonder if the ordinance is needed and are worried about some of the wording in the proposed law.

Jayme Fowler, who represents District 9, says it would help keep taxpayer money from going to people who are breaking the law by being in the country illegally.

Laura Bellis, who represents District 4, says because of the way it’s written, it would be impossible to enforce.

The ordinance says city funds are not to be used to house, accommodate, or benefit illegal immigrants, whether directly or indirectly.

It was proposed by Fowler.

"It's not some type of gotcha or some type of check, but we just, again, want to make sure that the dollars that we have set aside for our most neediest,” said Fowler. “That those stay focused on those folks."

Fowler believes the federal government hasn’t done enough to secure the border.

He says Tulsa doesn’t have the resources to house, feed, and pay people who are crossing the border illegally.

"We just don't have the wherewithal that these other cities that I've mentioned,” said Fowler. “We just don't have the financial resources that they do. It would be financially devastating to our city and our citizens if we had to take on this responsibility."

Bellis doesn’t think this ordinance is necessary.

Her concern is with the word indirectly and says it would be impossible to figure out all the ways tax dollars might indirectly benefit someone here illegally.

"How would you decide that?” said Bellis. “If someone shows up to put out a fire, we have our fire department that's city funded. If they show up to put out a fire, are they going to stop and check someone's legal immigration status first?"

She believes immigration should be addressed by the federal government instead of the city and doesn't believe this ordinance is the way to do that.

"Of course, we also want people to follow laws, but a policy like this where we're trying to decide who does or doesn't get resources and screen for that creates a climate of fear,” said Bellis.

The City Council plans to discuss this ordinance at its meeting on February 21.

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