Living on (Borrowed) Tulsa Time

October 12, 2007 · Print This Article · Email This Post

Oklahoma FlagStarting on 1 November 2007 if you hire, house or even give a ride to an undocumented worker, you can go to a prison for up to a year in Oklahoma. Say what? Oklahoma’s draconian HB 1804, otherwise known as the “Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007,” contains the following provisions:



(Is this like “New Rules” on Real Time with Bill Maher?)

  • A. It shall be unlawful for any person to transport, move, or attempt to transport in the State of Oklahoma any alien knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that the alien has come to, entered, or remained in the United States in violation of law, in furtherance of the illegal presence of the alien in the United States.

  • B. It shall be unlawful for any person to conceal, harbor, or shelter from detection any alien in any place within the State of Oklahoma, including any building or means of transportation, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that the alien has come to, entered, or remained in the United States in violation of law.

  • C. Nothing in this section shall be construed so as to prohibit or restrict the provision of any state or local public benefit described in 8 U.S.C., 1621(b), or regulated public health services provided by a private charity using private funds.

  • D. Any person violating the provisions of subsections A or B of this section shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections for not less than one (1) year, or by a fine of not less than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment.

OKlahoma State Representative Randy TerrillAn estimated 20,000 Hispanics have fled Tulsa, with estimates including another 10,000 by the time the bill goes into effect in a few weeks. Many of the departing are apparently headed to Arkansas and Kansas, but Arkansas is about to adopt a similar law and Kansas is considering the idea. Representative Randy Terrill (R-Moore), who authored the bill, commented: “This isn’t about whether you are for or against immigration, or for or against immigrants. It doesn’t matter what your skin color is or if you speak with an accent. What matters is if you are in the country legally or illegally. The only people threatened by House Bill 1804 are those who choose to break the law.”

The Latin American and Hispanic Affairs Advisory Council, a state panel, is already questioning the constitutionality of the new law, and voted to send Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry a letter saying that the state law attempts to supercede Federal law. Tulsa businessman and council member Guillermo Rojas told KOTV: “Everybody is worried and seriously concerned. . .This is not just about immigration, this is racism.” State Rep. Al Lindley (D-Oklahoma City), who also opposed the bill, has already asked the state’s attorney general, W.A. Drew Edmondson, to render an opinion on HB 1804’s constitutionality, but a spokeswoman for his office, Emily Lang, said it’s unlikely that the opinion will be released before 1 November.

Attorney Carole Wangrund has also requested an opinion from Edmondson. She says it’s impossible to enforce HB 1804 without racial profiling. “We are giving up all of our rights in the name of national security. . .And for some bizarre reason, we are picking on the Hispanics…They passed this incredibly unconstitutional mess, without understanding that federal law preempts it.”

Next year, Rep. Terrill plans to compound the error follow up with a bill making English the official language of Oklahoma. He might want to read our recent News for the English-Only Crowd to see what others have learned about the pitfalls of adopting an official language.

Aside from the fact that immigration enforcement is a Federal concern, most Americans don’t seem to realize that the immigration system is broken in another way: if one applies legally to enter the country, the wait can be anywhere from 20 to 100 years. Undocumented workers also have taxes withheld from their paychecks but are either too afraid to file tax returns — although they would most likely receive tax refunds — and/or don’t stay in the country long enough to collect Social Security. Vicente Fox Quesada, former President of Mexico, estimates that the tax monies thus retained by the government amount to $80,000 per worker, or a $50 billion annual windfall to the U.S. government.

Living on Tulsa Time

Well, I left Oklahoma
Driving in a Pontiac,
Just about to lose my mind.
I was going to Arizona,
Maybe on to California
Where people all live so fine.

Living on Tulsa time,
Living on Tulsa time.
Gonna set my watch back to it,
’Cause you know that I’ve been through it.
Living on Tulsa time.

–Lyrics by Danny Flowers, sung by Eric Clapton

Read more draconian immigration news.

Copyright © 2007


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