Sen. Ralph Shortey on Wednesday announced his intention to introduce immigration reform legislation modeled after a statute approved last year by the Arizona Legislature.
Citing the extraordinary impact of illegal immigration on state resources, Shortey said it was time for Oklahoma to once again step to the forefront on immigration reform.
“I believe it’s time to make immigration enforcement a reality in Oklahoma,” said Shortey, R-Oklahoma City. “In the absence of federal action on the issue, it has become abundantly clear that the states must act to reaffirm the authority and intent of the law. In order to reduce the tremendous and increasing burdens associated with illegal immigration, we first need to empower Oklahoma law enforcement officials to check for immigration status.”
The Arizona measure, Senate Bill 1070, permits law enforcement to check the immigration status of individuals they have encountered in lawful contact, if they have reason to suspect the individuals may be in the country illegally.
“Oklahomans want their government to enforce its immigration laws,” Shortey said. “We understand the costs and dangers of an open-borders approach, and we will do everything in our power to enact meaningful immigration law at the state level. Addressing this issue will be among my greatest priorities as a Senator, and I will pursue it with every tool at my disposal.”
Recently elected by the citizens of District 44, Shortey said voters were insistent on the need for strong immigration reform. Just one day after being sworn into office, the Oklahoma City Republican made it clear he would follow through on his campaign promise.
“Throughout my campaign I assured the people of District 44 that I would fight illegal immigration, and now I’m here to fulfill that promise,” Shortey said. “I will introduce Arizona-style immigration reform, just as the people of my district demanded. A broad majority of Oklahomans supported Arizona’s immigration law, and it’s time for our state Legislature to respond.”