Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Attorneys Say Immigration Law Concerns Okla. Employers, Others

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Attorneys Say Immigration Law Concerns Okla. Employers, Others

Article excerpt

Business is booming for Oklahoma City attorney Michael Brooks- Jimenez - and he's not happy about it. As the Nov. 1 effective date for Oklahoma's new immigration law approaches, Brooks-Jimenez said he receives an ever-increasing number of calls from employers and individuals worried about how the law will affect them.

"This has opened up a whole new area of my practice - compliance," the attorney told a group of nearly 100 people who attended a panel discussion hosted by the South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce on Thursday morning. "I don't really like it. I'd rather be helping people get green cards."

Some are fearful of the law because they think it will do more than it is written to do; some are fearful of the law because they are only now realizing how far-reaching the language was written to be. Brooks-Jimenez said the law's bark is much worse than its bite, but the bark is certainly bad enough. Brooks-Jimenez said he was told by the owner of a small, local manufacturing company that 20 of his 150 employees had moved to Denver since House Bill 1804 was passed.

Oklahoma City attorney Stan McKay said the worst part of HB 1804 is its effect on the spirit of the community, the fear the law has created. People will be afraid to report crimes or to enroll their children in school if they are afraid of being deported, McKay said.

The attorneys have heard of several instances in recent weeks in the Tulsa area wherein people of Hispanic descent have been pulled over by police for little or no reason, were taken into custody and deported - and almost all such complaints in the area involve just three particular police officers. In one instance, the immigrant was changing a flat tire when he was apprehended.

Employers are protected from prosecution under the bill if they comply with the requirements of the federal I-9 form and check the immigration status of new hires using the Internet or a third-party investigator. …

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