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Tulsa businessman says immigrant labor essential

Updated:
A day after Tulsa's immigration protests, some are wondering how important of an issue it is in Oklahoma.

Nationwide, undocumented workers pay billions in taxes, but many argue it's not enough to offset the negative economic impact of immigration.

News on 6 anchor Terry Hood says a Tulsa businessman says immigrant labor is essential to Tulsa's economy.

Folks at Monday's Tulsa protest estimate the crowd topped out around a thousand people. That's just a small percent of estimated 80,000 Hispanic immigrants living in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma's immigrant population more than doubled between the year 1990 and 2000. The US Immigration and Naturalization Service estimates that 46,000 immigrants are living in Oklahoma illegally.

Homebuilder David Blackburn says he's sure there are a couple of illegal immigrants working on his crew in Jenks. He says since his labor comes through another contractor, it's up to them to check on workers' legal status.

Blackburn says most of his crew is legal and even though he is concerned about those who aren't, he still has no problem giving them a job. “From that standpoint, I admire the heck out of these people. They put their lives on the line; just to come over here to have an opportunity to work, so how can you fault somebody for that? I don't. Not at all."

Many Americans say they have no problem with people wanting to come to work in the United States, as long as they do it legally and First District Congressman John Sullivan says he agrees.
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