Oklahoma's new anti-illegal immigrant law is working, said its author: Hispanics are leaving Oklahoma.
Despite claiming repeatedly that the measure, formerly House Bill 1804, is "nationality neutral," state Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore, clearly identified Hispanics as the law's target during his speech at a recent luncheon before Oklahoma City conservatives.
The law took effect Nov. 1, and gave new power to state law enforcement officials:
" to arrest and detain illegal immigrants,
" to refuse to grant identification or licenses to them, and
" to charge with a felony those who might try to help, shelter or transport illegal immigrants.
Asked to talk about the impact of his law by luncheon organizers, Terrill pointed out " to applause " that 1804's effect is best measured by reports of large numbers of Hispanic people leaving Oklahoma. He cited a drop in enrollment in the Tulsa Public Schools as proof.
"That decline in enrollment concentrates primarily in the Hispanic population, and in the illegal subset of it. "¦ From a taxpayer's point of view, you should be happy about that," Terrill said.
Terrill made the remarks Nov. 7 before the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee, which met at an Oklahoma City Asian restaurant. The group hailed Terrill with a standing ovation.
"It's clearly costing taxpayers millions of dollars to educate kids who are here illegally and then the anchor babies, as well," Terrill said. "I also want to ban bilingual education, making English the official language." "Ben Fenwick