Law Professor Takes On HB 1804

Thursday, April 3rd 2008, 10:14 pm
By: News On 6

A TU law professor and his son are picking a fight with the state.  They're fighting to abolish Oklahoma's new immigration law.  News On 6 anchor Latoya Silmon reports the two are suing the governor and Tulsa County Commissioners to get House Bill 1804 reversed.

Professor James C. Thomas and his son, Michael, say the law is unconstitutional.  As taxpayers, they also take issue with the cost for the county and state to implement and enforce the law.

It's a debate that's moved from the streets to the courtrooms of Oklahoma.

"We want the court to determine 1804 is totally unconstitutional and that would mean it's off the books," said James C. Thomas.

The University of Tulsa School of Law professor argues 1804 establishes what equates to a Bureau of Immigration, allowing the public and agencies on the local and state level to investigate, detain, and remove illegal immigrants.  He says that's something the state's constitution prohibits. 

James Thomas's son, Michael, is also a plaintiff in the case.

"This is clearly persecutory law against a helpless people and that's my main motivation.  Plus, I'm concerned that we have a legislature that's basically behaving recklessly when it comes to the state constitution," said Michael Thomas.

Then, there's the right of the taxpayer.  Michael questions how his tax dollars are appropriated.

"Where in the world would someone come off with the idea that it's hard on that taxpayer or unfair to that taxpayer to remove illegal immigrants and criminals from their town. We're paying for that.  It's not unfair to them," said Ron.

Ron, a Minuteman, who asked that his last name not be used, says he's confident the judge will side with the state and the Board of Tulsa County Commissioners.

Until then the debate continues.

The state and county commissioners hoped the judge would dismiss the case, saying the plaintiffs had no standing as taxpayers to file the suit.

Judge Jefferson Sellers denied the motion.  Court will resume next week.