Signs hit at state's new immigration law
BY BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer
Thursday, August 02, 2007
8/02/07 at 11:01 AM
The billboards' sponsors say the intent is to
humanize the result of the law for families.
Two billboards along Tulsa's
busy stretch of Interstate 44 were
unveiled Wednesday to raise
awareness of the opposition to
Oklahoma's sweeping illegal immigration law that will take effect
One, sponsored by the United
Front Task Force and facing west
near Memorial Drive, asks, "Is it
OK for Oklahoma to have a law
that promotes hate among people?"
The other, sponsored by the
American Dream Coalition and
facing east near Sheridan Road,
features a tearful girl clutching a
teddy bear with the statement,
"My mommy is not a criminal.
She is a hardworking Hispanic
The groups hope the two billboards soon will be followed by
"We want people to know that
families will be torn apart by this
legislation," said the Rev. Victor
Orta II, president of the American Dream Coalition. "I am for
the enforcement of our immigration laws, but there needs to be
legalization for families who
have been here a long time."
The Rev. Luis-Carlos Sanchez of the United Front Task
Force said Tulsa was chosen
for the billboards over Oklahoma City because of the friction here.
"Unfortunately there's a
high-level of discrimination
taking place," he said. "People
are living in constant fear."
State Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore, the author of House
Bill 1804, said critics fail to understand the intent of the law.
"This isn't about whether
you are for or against immigration, or for or against immigrants," he said. "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
The law will eliminate most
taxpayer subsidies for illegal
immigrants, allow state and local law enforcement officers to
verify immigration statuses of
those arrested and crack
down on businesses that employ illegal immigrants,
among other measures.
Terrill said the two Tulsa
billboards will not affect the
new law taking effect.
"It doesn't matter if opponents put up two billboards or
200, that won't change the fact
that House Bill 1804 is the law
and will be enforced beginning Nov. 1," he said.
A "Say No to 1804 Legal Defense Fund" has been established by the United Front
Terrill said the law will be
defended in court, if necessary.
"I'm 99.9 percent confident
that this bill will withstand any
legal challenge brought
against it," he said.
"House Bill 1804 is not preempted by federal law. It does
not exceed the scope of state
authority in this area and is designed to sync perfectly with
federal immigration law."
Terrill has called for the donors to the fund to be publicly
Sanchez would not disclose
the United Front Task Force's
funding sources, even concerning the billboard, saying
attorneys are reviewing that
In a news release, supporting organizations of the
group's billboard were listed
as the Coalition of Hispanic
Organizations, Jewish Federation of Tulsa and Tulsa Interfaith Alliance.
Also cited were the Tulsa Indian Coalition Against Racism,
Islamic Society of Tulsa, Tulsa
Metropolitan Ministries, Pastors for Peace, YWCA Tulsa,
Tulsa Urban League, National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People and
Oklahomans for Equality.
Representatives of many of
those organizations were at
the event about the signs.
David Bernstein of the Jewish Federation of Tulsa was
one of the speakers at the
"HB 1804 seems to be designed to make life miserable
for thousands of immigrants
and promotes mistrust toward
all immigrants, including
those here legally," he said. "It
also fuels racism and discrimination against all Latinos."
Terrill said many of the
groups in question are nonprofit and therefore tax-exempt and could be jeopardizing their tax-exempt status
by engaging in prohibited political activity.
"These groups are walking
a very fine line," he said.
The money for the American Dream Coalition's billboard, amounting to roughly
$3,700 to put it up and $1,600
per month thereafter, has
been raised over months by
individuals and names will be
released if legally necessary,
Brian Barber 581-8322
The United Front Task Force’s billboard faces west near