Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Illegal Immigration Law Involves More Than Economics

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Illegal Immigration Law Involves More Than Economics

Article excerpt

Saying Oklahoma's new illegal immigration act is having unintended consequences is a bit premature and may result more from misconceptions precipitated by opponents than its actual provisions. It is far too early to determine the ultimate results of HB 1804, a good part of which does not go into effect until July.

Regardless, projections are rife, speculation is epidemic, predictions of economic calamity are rampant and some opponents are stretching the bounds of hyperbole as to its dire results.

The law's author, state Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore, severely criticized a recent study titled "A Computable General Equilibrium Analysis of the Impact of the (Act)" conducted by the Economic Impact Group LLC for the Oklahoma Bankers Association, which has announced its neutrality toward the law. That study projected a $1.8 billion economic loss to the state.

Terrill said seven of the report's assumptions were false.

"The most basic flaw of the report," he said "is that it assumes the illegal immigration debate is about nothing more than pure economics. In fact, it is about unquantifiable things much more important than that. It is about a fundamental respect for the rule of law, upholding our state and national sovereignty and about the immorality of employing cheap, illegal alien slave labor."

His comment may be the most defining statement of the act's intent to date.

The president of the company conducting the study defended the results and the methodology used.

Studies - particularly economic ones - are curious creatures. Just as surely as one study establishes a point, another one either has been or will be done to contradict it. Only time proves which, if any, are correct. But in reality, many businesses rely strongly on such economic projections.

Certainly the economic issue is important, and understandably the business community's recently developed opposition to the new law is founded primarily on that concern.

No reasonable person will argue the need for federal illegal immigration laws has existed for years, but little has been done at that level. …

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