MAY 11, 2007
Hours after Oklahoma passed the nation’s toughest immigration reform bill to deal with a statewide illegal alien crisis, lawsuit threats began pouring in to challenge the law.
Created to deny jobs and public benefits to the state’s estimated 100,000 illegal immigrants, the sweeping legislation overwhelmingly passed the state’s House and Senate before Governor Brad Henry signed it into law this week.
The Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007 denies illegal immigrants state identification and requires all state and local agencies to verify residence status before authorizing public benefits. It also requires public employers to verify an applicant’s legal status through an electronic immigration database.
Gov. Henry was less than enthusiastic about signing the bill because he believes the federal government should enforce immigration laws. Since it isn’t, illegal aliens are costing Oklahoma taxpayers about $200 million a year in public benefits, law enforcement and other resources. The governor also believes illegal immigration is a serious national security issue.
Advocates of illegal immigrants have already announced plans to fight the Oklahoma law in court. One national group called the League of United Latin American Citizens will lead the litigation because it believes the measures “dehumanize” humans and are reminiscent of the Jim Crow laws against blacks in the south.
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