Lawmakers discuss illegal immigrant issue at state Capitol

State Capitol

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Lawmakers met at the state Capitol today to discuss options for addressing the Obama Administration’s plan for sheltering illegal immigrant children at Fort Sill.

The meeting included members of the House of Representatives Counter Terrorism Caucus, the House States’ Rights Committee, state Sen. Ralph Shortey (R-Oklahoma City), state Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow), and staff from the Governor’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office and the office of U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK).

According to State Rep. John Bennett, the group convened after hearing numerous complaints from citizens.

Bennett says the group is focusing on the long-term impact the Obama Administration’s plan will have on the state.

“As lawmakers, we have an obligation to do what is best for Oklahomans, not what is best for the political aspirations of President Obama,” said Bennett, R-Sallisaw. “Not only do these actions by the Administration threaten our state’s sovereignty by forcing us to break our own laws, but they threaten our citizens’ health and safety and will place a major financial burden on the people of Oklahoma who will have to pay for these illegal immigrants’ healthcare, food and shelter.”

The group intends to meet again to announce details of their plan.

“As the House States’ Rights Committee Chair, I have received a number of inquiries from our committee members and concerned citizens as to how we are protecting Oklahoma’s sovereignty when the federal government doesn’t respect our state’s laws or even communicate with our elected officials,” said state Rep. Lewis Moore, R-Arcadia. “This seems to be an obvious attempt by the president to force his version of immigration reform upon the citizens of Oklahoma who know the only branch of government constitutionally able to legislate is the Congress.”

“I have received numerous calls, emails and social media inquiries from my home district pertaining to the situation at Fort Sill,” said state Rep. Justin Wood, R-Shawnee. “I believe it is the duty of the state Legislature and others in statewide elected office to protect Oklahoma sovereignty while also showing the compassion we are known for. The real tragedy is the loss of life during the trek to America for these young children due to the abuse of power and misguided enforcement of the Wilberforce Act of 2008. We are funding organized crime, such as the drug cartels and human trafficking with this encouragement.”

“It’s our duty as state legislators to be concerned with the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Oklahoma,” said state Rep. Bobby Cleveland, R-Slaughterville. “We have a current law in Oklahoma that is being violated by the Federal government. This is a major concern for me. Make no mistake: this is humanitarian crisis.”

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