Debate over immigration laws continues in Oklahoma and at the
federal level, even though the state Legislature adjourned without
passing any such legislation this session.
An organization called Americans for Immigration Reform has
scheduled two business roundtable discussions on Wednesday regarding
"common-sense immigration reform."
Hosted by Kell Kelly, president and CEO of SpiritBank, the
discussions will begin in Tulsa at 9 a.m. and in Oklahoma City at
12:30 p.m. the same day.
The organization was founded this year by a diverse group of
Americans concerned about what they call "destructive measures being
taken or considered related to immigration and its impact on the
business community, employees and consumers."
In its notice, distributed by The State Chamber, AIR says its
mission is to create a "broad-based business, community and advocacy
coalition to educate leaders about the need for sensible immigration
reform." Hopefully they will define what they mean by "sensible."
The State Chamber's policy on federal immigration laws is, in
some respects, equally vague. It calls for continued pursuit of
"comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level to better
secure our borders."
That is scarcely definitive. They advocate improvement of
employment authorization verification systems to ensure a reliable
tool for employers. That is a sound idea to protect legitimate
employers, but they objected to verification language in Oklahoma's
new law, arguing the federal verification system is only about 85
Their specifics are much more revealing. They want a new national
temporary worker program so employers can hire immigrant workers
when U.S. workers are not available, apparently making no
distinction as to whether they are legal or illegal and at what wage
scale the determination is made.
Their next two points indicate an amnesty program to provide "a
reasonable pathway to legal status for undocumented individuals
currently in the United States."
We have such a pathway, but it is one that was blatantly ignored
by millions of illegal immigrants currently in this country with the
help of some employers.
Interestingly the only so-called immigration legislation
seriously considered during this year's legislative session was to
send the voters a constitutional amendment to make English the
official state language. …