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Oklahoma Anti-Illegal Immigration Law Takes Effect (Nov 01, 2007)
After immigrant advocacy groups failed to secure a last minute injunction, an anti-illegal immigration law characterized as among the strictest in the nation went into effect in Oklahoma today. The law makes it a felony to knowingly aid, transport or conceal undocumented immigrants, creates barriers to hiring them and requires proof of citizenship for immigrants to receive certain government benefits including drivers’ licenses. Anecdotally, the measure has already had an enormous impact by creating a climate of fear in some immigrant communities. Hispanic leaders claim as many as 20,000 people may have fled the Tulsa area in recent weeks in advance of the law taking effect.

Bill co-author and State Representative Randy Terrill said US District Judge James Payne’s decision last night to reject the injunction request was “great news for the citizens and taxpayers of Oklahoma,” and “means those on the side of meaningful immigration reform in Oklahoma have been vindicated.” The judge did not rule on the law’s constitutionality but will hear on Tuesday Attorney General Drew Edmondson’s request to dismiss the lawsuit entirely.

Meanwhile, Hispanic activists opposed to the measure are planning a rally on the steps of the state capitol at 11 this morning, and religious leaders from across the state – including the Archbishop of Oklahoma City -- have delivered to Governor Brad Henry a Pledge of Resistance to the new law.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Read the text of HB1804

View the Community Action Project’s detailed analysis
of the provisions of the new law

Listen to our report on the issue, including comments from Oklahoma City Attorney Steven Langer; Hispanic Action Coalition President Franco Cevallos; Fr. Steve Irwin of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Warr Acres and State Rep. Randy Terrill:

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