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Hispanic Leaders Announce Lawsuit

The Oklahoma Legislature approved H.B. 1804, which goes into effect November 1st The Oklahoma Legislature approved H.B. 1804, which goes into effect November 1st

Oklahoma's Immigration Reform is in the spotlight again. Among other things, House Bill 1804 makes it illegal to harbor or transport undocumented aliens and makes it illegal for businesses to hire them, or for them to receive government benefits. HB 1804 takes effect November 1, 2007, but as The News On 6's Steve Berg reports, Hispanic leaders are vowing to stop it before it starts.

The Reverend Miguel Rivera from the National Coalition of Latin Clergy and Christian Leaders announced Friday it will file a lawsuit in federal court against Oklahoma's Immigration Reform Law, and seek an immediate injunction against it.

"The 1804 is a frivolous law, a frivolous law," Reverend Miguel Rivera, Coalition of Latin Clergy and Christian Leaders said.

Rivera says they will argue the law is unconstitutional and that federal law supersedes state law in this case, sometimes referred to as the pre-emptive doctrine of the constitution.

"We have sufficient evidence that the pre-emptive doctrine, it's being violated by 1804," said Rivera.

Reverend Rivera says while his group opposes the Oklahoma law, it supports some kind of comprehensive immigration reform.

"We support the strengthening of our borders. We are on record, and we support that our borders need to be secure," Reverend Miguel Rivera said. "But in reality, we have also to understand there is no will to deport 12-million people from this country."

Even before the state law is due to take effect next month, Rivera says by their estimates one-quarter of the Tulsa area's Hispanic population is gone, either on their own or through deportation.

"For the reports that I am getting, over 20,000 members of our community have already left," said Rivera.

The News On 6 talked with State Senator James Williamson, one of the supporters of the bill. He feels confident the law will be upheld. Senator Williamson says they worked very hard with legal staff on the pre-emptive issue and says they're sure they met constitutional requirements.

Originally aired 9/28/2007 6:21 AM - Updated 9/30/2007 8:06 PM  

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