A House committee approved a bill Monday that would give law enforcement officials more authority to check the immigration status of motorists. Its author said the measure mirrors some parts of Arizona’s anti-illegal immigrant law passed last year. The House Judiciary Committee also approved a bill that would prohibit foreign laws from being enforced in state courtrooms. Rep. Sally Kern, the bill’s author, said it mirrors a ballot measure approved in November by state voters and has been legally challenged. “The intent is that we have American laws for Oklahoma courts,” she said. Both measures now go to the full House of Representatives.Comments
One immigration billRep. George Faught, R-Muskogee, said his measure, House Bill 1446, would be a wide-ranging anti-illegal immigrant law. It’s intended to be the only anti-illegal immigration measure passed this year, said Faught, who is co-chairman of a special joint committee to develop immigration proposals. “Instead of creating a whole bunch of bills out there, the intent is to just run one immigration bill,” he said. Faught said his measure would not seek to deny citizenship to babies born to illegal immigrants. HB 1446, which the committee passed 12-3, would allow police to question people about their immigration status and to confiscate property — including homes and vehicles — belonging to those in the country illegally. The measure would not allow racial profiling, Faught said. Motorists would have to be stopped for committing traffic violations, he said. Faught said his measure, which is still being developed, incorporates language from Arizona’s anti-illegal immigrant law into Oklahoma’s anti-immigrant measure, HB 1804, that was approved in 2007. Both laws have drawn legal challenges. HB 1446 would give state and local law officers the authority to ask about the immigration status of occupants of vehicles that are pulled over for legal traffic stops. It also would prohibit employers from stopping their vehicles in public roadways to hire illegal immigrants and then take them to worksites. Faught said his bill also would prohibit undocumented students from qualifying for state-funded scholarships. “We want to make sure that those benefits given to our citizens are there for our citizens and not for those who are here illegally,” he said.
American lawsKern, R-Oklahoma City, said her measure, HB 1552, would be a law patterned after State Question 755, which 71 percent of the voters supported in the Nov. 2 elections. A federal judge has blocked the ballot measure from taking effect after an American-born Muslim filed a lawsuit. SQ 755 would forbid state courts from considering or using international law or Sharia law. An amendment described Sharia law as Islamic law based on the Quran and the teaching of Mohammed. Kern said her measure, written by the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., should avoid a legal challenge because it does not mention a certain religion or law. HB 1552 passed the committee 10-3. “The big problem with State Question 755 was that it specifically mentioned one religion,” she said. “This bill has been written in such a way that it won’t do that. We’re talking about foreign law.”