“That is a reality and we know it,” Lankford said.
“I'll take my chances,” a woman yelled.
Lankford kept the meeting orderly, reading questions submitted in writing from those in attendance.
A few people shouted out questions or comments, but the congressman for the most part didn't acknowledge them.
Alex Haley, of Oklahoma City, said she is worried about the thousands of illegal immigrants entering America yearly and the lack of action by the federal government.
“We're invaded,” she said.
She said illegal immigrants, most of whom are entering through Mexico, are taking jobs away from American citizens.
“They're ruining our economic system and demanding to stay and be made citizens,” Haley said. “Nothing against these people personally, but they're strangling our economy.”
Lankford said the country's immigration policies haven't been enforced in decades, with Republicans and Democrats both to blame.
He assured the crowd that the House of Representatives won't approve the Senate's sweeping immigration measure.
Lankford said the House is more concerned about security issues involving immigration.
“We've got to find out who's actually here,” he said.
He said more emphasis should be placed on how immigrants can help the country's economy than on family ties to attain citizenship. But he cautioned against demonizing illegal immigrants.
“Every person has values,” Lankford said.
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They're ruining our economic system and demanding to stay and be made citizens. Nothing against these people personally, but they're strangling our economy.”