Cargill frugal on immigration
BY MICK HINTON World Capitol Bureau
Thursday, December 06, 2007
A law making English
the state's official
language is all that is
needed now, he says.
OKLAHOMA CITY -- House
Speaker Lance Cargill said Wednesday that he thinks a bill to make
English the state's official language
is about as far as the Legislature
ought to go next session in toughening laws on illegal immigration.
Fellow Republican Rep. Randy
Terrill, who successfully sponsored
a stringent immigration reform bill
last session, said he wants more
laws passed, including one authorizing the seizure of property and
assets of people who hire illegal immigrants or knowingly rent property to them.
On the other side of the issue, Republican Sen. Harry Coates of Seminole is calling for repealing sections
of last session's House Bill 1804
dealing with penalties against those
who harbor and assist illegal immigrants. Portions of that legislation
went into effect Nov. 1.
"Some on the right would like additional employer penalties," said
Cargill, R-Harrah. "Some on the left
clearly want to repeal House Bill
1804 outright, or at least significant
sections. But I don't think the people of Oklahoma want the law to go
Making English the official language in Oklahoma, like 30 other
states have done, would be a unifying force for the state, he said.
"English as the official language
would have broad support," Cargill
But the speaker raised doubts
that there will be widespread support for further immigration legislation.
"I don't know what the support
level would be for additional restrictions," he said.
Terrill said Wednesday that he
has not had a chance to talk with
the speaker about proposed legisla
tion for the upcoming session that
Terrill has labeled "Son of 1804."
"I am sure the speaker is aware of
what I have put on the table," he
said. "But I am absolutely thrilled
that the speaker would give his
blessing to proceed with a bill making English the official language."
The Rev. Victor Orta of Tulsa,
president of the American Dream
Coalition, said he is pleased that immigration legislation in the coming
session might be limited. However,
he said there is no need to make
English the official language.
Regarding Terrill's proposal to
seize the property of those who violate the new immigration law, Cargill said this is "a very complicated
issue, and I don't know what the
support would be at this juncture."
Terrill also has talked about
denying the issuance of birth
certificates for children born
to parents who are in the United States illegally.
Some people question
whether such a move would
violate federal law, which recognizes the children as U.S.
"We need to tone down the
rhetoric and try to work in a
constructive way to do what is
best for the state," Cargill said.
He noted that a provision affecting private employers
does not go into effect until July 1. He said the legislation's
effective date was intentionally
set so that there would be time
to "examine and refine to the
extent that there are rough
edges that can be smoothed."
Cargill said now is the time
to listen to employers and find
out how the legislation will affect their businesses.
"Certainly the business
community will have thoughts
and comments on further
sanctions," he said, "and I
think the majority of the Legislature will be cognizant of that
Mick Hinton (405) 528-2465