House votes down immigration bill

Rep. George Faught, R-Muskogee, says he won't bring up his anti-illegal immigration House Bill 1446 again this session, which could end as early as Friday. He says he will try to bring the issue up again next year.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: May 18, 2011
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Faught, co-chairman of the special joint legislative committee to develop immigration bills, said his measure targeted human smugglers and others who prey on illegal immigrants.

HB 1446 would have authorized state and local law enforcement officers to recommend illegal immigrants for certain types of three-year visas if they report and aid in the investigation of illegal criminal activity.

Proctor said voting for the measure would be “a yes vote for amnesty.”

HB 1446 also would have allowed the seizure of vehicles used to smuggle people.

Rep. Rebecca Hamilton, D-Oklahoma City, said constituents in her district were mostly terrified of the measure. She said the measure looks good on campaign material for legislators wanting to say they voted to crack down on illegal immigration, but significant legislation would go after employers who draw illegal immigrants to the state by offering them jobs.

“If you want sincerely to do something about the problem of immigration ... then you have to take care of the causes of it,” she said. “You have to deal with the engine that's driving them” to Oklahoma.

‘A federal issue'

Rep. Richard Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City, urged members to vote down the bill, arguing that if it became law it would draw a costly legal challenge.

“It's flawed, it's not fair, it's unjust,” Morrissette said. “Immigration is a federal issue.”

Terrill called the measure a “do-nothing bill.”

“This is a sham bill,” he said. “It is window dressing that is designed to convince the public that we have done something meaningful about illegal immigration when actually we have not.”