Religious Leader Calls Immigration Forum
Wednesday, September 26th 2007, 8:20 pm
By: News On 6
House Bill 1804, Oklahoma's immigration reform law, goes into effect a little over a month from now, but Hispanic leaders in eastern Oklahoma say the bill has already had a devastating effect on their community. Some still hope to keep H.B. 1804 from becoming law. The News On 6â€™s Chris Wright reports those leaders say H.B. 1804 continues to polarize the entire Tulsa community, and they want to bring everyone together to discuss the issue this weekend.
"Every single family that I have talked to, everyone, 100%, have plans to leave this city come November 1st or before," Mike Feliciano, Redemptive Word Ministries said.
Mike Feliciano, the head of Redemptive Word Ministries, still has hope that this exodus can be stopped, but it's fading. He says thousands of Hispanics have already fled Tulsa, leaving behind a struggling community, and struggling businesses.
Hispanic leaders say empty stores more than anything else shows the devastating effects 1804 is already having on the Hispanic community. In the middle of prime business hours many Hispanic shops in East Tulsa are already locked up and closed.
"I think come November 1st, I think come October 15th, we're going to be reach a point where, a point of no return," said Feliciano.
Before that point, Feliciano hopes to at least get the attention of state lawmakers, whom he believes voted for 1804 without properly considering its consequences. Among other things, the law will make it illegal to hire or harbor an undocumented worker. Besides struggling Hispanic businesses, Feliciano says worry over 1804 has also led to a shortage of construction workers, and caused his congregation to dwindle.
"We didn't cover all the bases,â€ Mike Feliciano said. â€œWhy don't we postpone the implementation of this law until we have all those bases covered?"
Redemptive Ministries will host an 1804 forum on Sunday. Feliciano promises it will be more civil than recent protests, and he hopes both sides of the immigration debate will attend.
"Are we too far gone? I don't think so, that's what we're trying to help,â€ said Feliciano. â€œAre we in a place where it's dangerous and fear is running rampant? Absolutely."
The forum will be held on Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Green Country Event Center, located on 31st Street between Garnett and 129th East Avenue.
Meanwhile, it looks like the immigration debate will carry over into the courtroom. On Friday, the National Coalition of Latin Clergy will announce the details of a lawsuit it's filing to prevent 1804 from going into effect.
Watch the video: Immigration Reform Forum Planned
3/5/2007 Green Country Hispanics Fight New Immigration Bill
4/3/2007 Controversial Immigration Bill Closer To Becoming Law
4/16/2007 State Senate Approves Sweeping Immigration Legislation
4/19/2007 Hispanics Speak Out Against Immigration Legislation
5/1/2007 State House Sends Immigration Reform Bill To The Governor
5/1/2007 Hispanic Leaders Say State Immigration Bill Will Not Work
5/2/2007 Governor Henry Still Undecided On Immigration Reform Bill
5/8/2007 Governor Signs Sweeping Immigration Reform Bill
5/8/2007 Controversial Immigration Bill Signed Into Law
5/9/2007 Local Business Could See A Boost Thanks To A New Immigration Law
5/9/2007 Immigration Law Creates New Rules For Oklahoma Employers
5/22/2007 Tulsa City Council Mulls Immigration Plan
5/24/2007 Still No Decision In Tulsa Immigration Plan
5/25/2007 City Council Passes New Immigration Ordinance
5/31/2007 Key Officials Meet To Discuss The City's Immigration Policy
6/2/2007 Debate Continues On Immigration Reform
6/2/2007 Tackling The Immigration Issue
6/19/2007 State Chamber Critical Of New Law
7/31/2007 Group Sets Up Fund To Fight Immigration Law
8/1/2007 Group Uses Billboards To Protest Immigration Legislation
8/22/2007 Immigration Bill Fears Not Affecting Attendance Of Hispanic Students
8/29/2007 - Home Builders Say Immigration Reform Could Cause Delays
9/25/2007 Panel Questions Constitutionality Of Immigration Law