JANUARY 28, 2008
Open border advocates are blaming the death of an Oklahoma infant on the state’s new immigration reform law, claiming the sick baby’s illegal immigrant parents didn’t get medical help because they feared being deported even though the law had not yet been implemented.
The two month-old infant had diarrhea for more than 10 days yet the parents didn’t seek medical help because they were afraid they would be deported under the Oklahoma law, enacted in November 2007, if they took him to the hospital. When the fear evidently subsided and they finally took the infant to a clinic, it was too late.
Immigration advocates are blaming the tragic death on the Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007, which denies illegal immigrants state identification cards and requires all state and local agencies to verify applicants’ citizenship status before authorizing benefits. The law also requires employers to verify employees’ legal status by using a federal database.
Now the deceased infant—a U.S.-born anchor baby–has become the poster child for opponents of the measure, which is said to be among the nation’s toughest against illegal immigration because it also makes it a felony to harbor or transport illegal aliens. Civil rights leaders say the measure has created widespread fear among immigrants who say they are scared to drive to church or the market because police might pick them up.
One Latino advocate, who also happens to be an illegal alien, actually said that living in Oklahoma feels like a “Nazi country” where skin color gets people stopped. Other civil rights leaders call the law xenophobic and redundant. The measure’s author, state Representative Randy Terrill, assures there is no connection between the law and the infant’s death, noting the child died months before it took effect and that the law provides an exception for emergency medical care.
Terrill said the illegal immigrant parents should actually be in jail for depriving their own child needed and necessary medical care because of their ignorance of the law. The couple fled to Mexico, however.
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