Save Oklahoma

ok.jpg Thanks to Flavia Jimenez at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) for sending out the following editorial on the State Initiatives listserve. It's a simple yet clear piece- Oklahoma's anti-immigrant bill is WRONG for the people of Oklahoma.

Oklahoma is considering a comprehensive anti-immigrant bill that would be tougher on our communities than the Georgia anti-immigrant omni-bus bill and the Colorado anti-immigrant legislation of 2006. It's a dark day in OK.

[sidenote: If you are working on state-level immigrant rights and you aren't yet on the States Initiative listserve, shoot me an email ( It's a great list where leading advocates on these issues share ideas and information from across the country.)

Immigration bill fueled by fear


A move by the Oklahoma state Senate to approve what is being called one of the toughest immigration bills in the nation was a move in the wrong direction.It’s as simple as that.Oklahoma’s leadership say they want to present a more progressive image to the nation and global community and then they shut the door to people of color and people seeking better lives in the greatest country in the world — in this instance, the greatest state in the nation, or it was.

Monday’s move is definitely not progressive, not long-sighted, nor humane. It is a continuation of outdated attitudes about Oklahoma and its relationship to the rest of the world.

Much like the Cherokees' recent vote to expel all blacks listed on the Freedman rolls who cannot trace their ancestry to registered Indian blood, the passage of House Bill 1804 reveals an old, restless fear among many Oklahomans of all ethnic backgrounds. They are afraid of the world beyond their borders and those they don’t know.

Thanks to the actions of our elected state legislators, we are now protected against “the others” — the poor, the hungry and, in many instances, the homeless.

Don’t kid yourselves. This action is not about funding a few doctors’ visits for the Mexican mother. It’s not even about preventing collateral losses to drivers who happen to collide with an unlicensed illegal. This action is about mean-spirited, small-minded men and women and weak-kneed legislators who think forcing the less fortunate out of the state will suddenly solve all our problems.

We have done nothing more than show the nation and the world that we are selfish, unkind and unwilling to think beyond what’s good for our own pitiful pocketbooks and dusty backyards.

What happened to all the good Christian values of the conservative right and the let live attitudes of the liberal left? Is it no longer a good thing to be able to give to those who ask and to love your neighbor as yourself?

Be assured, HB 1804 is not the last word on this issue. If the rest of the nation follows our example and continues down this road of isolationism and fearfulness, we will wake up one day and find ourselves alone, standing on the other side of the door, knocking.