Immigration Law Could Become Tougher

Tuesday, January 22nd 2008, 4:38 pm
By: News On 6

While the current Oklahoma Immigration law is still in its infancy, its author says plans are already in the works for the son of H.B. 1804, which could include a challenge to the U.S. constitution's 14th amendment. News On 6's Dan Bewley reports there could be changes for the state's immigration reform law.

The birth of House Bill 1804 saw protests and rallies but was ultimately signed by Governor Brad Henry in May and went into effect November 1st. Its author, Republican Representative Randy Terrill, says less than two months later he's already seeing proof of its success.

"There is significant anecdotal evidence that illegal aliens are beginning to leave the state of Oklahoma, particularly in the northeast part of the state, in and around the Tulsa area, moving around to northwest Arkansas, southern Missouri, and southern Kansas," said Representative Randy Terrill.

A recent Oklahoma Poll shows 28% of Oklahomans think the immigration reform bill has had a negative impact. Sand Springs resident Debbie Spears is one of them. She says the law puts undue pressure on small business owners.

"If you increase the cost to do business in Oklahoma by putting these requirements on to employers then that's just an increase to the cost of their goods and services," said Spears.

Judy Wilson also opposes the law, saying she's seen first-hand the devastation it brings to families who have loved ones deported over a traffic ticket.

"I'm talking about a mother, pregnant girl, and a child that's not even a teen yet," said Judy Wilson.

Representative Terrill says he's already working on the next stage of 1804.

His plans include making English the official language of Oklahoma, strengthen the current law to give law enforcement more power, force schools to report the number of illegal immigrants in its district and take a closer look at challenging the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which grants citizenship to anyone born in the U.S., even if their parents are not citizens.

Terrill admits that last provision is still in the research phase. "So we are going to proceed in a very careful, thoughtful, and deliberative manner and we're going to produce something that's going to be airtight and withstand any legal challenge that's brought against it," said Representative Terrill.

The Oklahoma Poll is a partnership between The News On 6 and the Tulsa World. For a look at other poll results, pick up a copy of Sunday's Tulsa World.

Originally Aired: 12/29/2007 5:14 PM - Updated 12/31/2007