Oklahoma Supreme Court upholds state anti-illegal-immigration law

posted at 2:35 pm on June 15, 2011 by Tina Korbe

The Oklahoma Supreme Court yesterday upheld a law that makes it illegal to knowingly transport undocumented immigrants, creates state barriers to hiring workers who are in the country illegally and requires proof of citizenship before a person can receive government benefits.

The decision comes as states across the country confront illegal immigration with similar laws, several of which have or will surely also face legal challenges.

The highest court in Oklahoma defended the decision critics called “political”:

“It is not the place of the Supreme Court or any court to concern itself with a statute’s propriety, desirability, wisdom or its practicality as a working proposition,” the 25-page ruling states. “Such questions are plainly and definitely established by fundamental laws as functions of the legislative branch of government.”

By an 8-1 vote, the Oklahoma Supreme Court did strike down one provision of the law — a provision that would have denied bail to illegal immigrants arrested on felony counts or driving under the influence complaints. Trial judges — not the legislature — should determine whether a defendant is a flight risk and set bail, the court decided.

Overall, a sound decision by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, not least because it reinforces the proper role of each branch of government. The Oklahoma court didn’t overstep its bounds by legislating, nor did it allow the legislature to step on the judicial branch by setting particular terms of bail. So, kudos to the court.

In general, legal challenges to these clearly constitutional state laws across the country are counterproductive — and don’t strike at the heart of the immigration debate. Of course states ought to be able to enforce the federal law, especially when the administration refuses to do so. To challenge that just seems unsophisticated.

States that have passed laws to double up on federal law haven’t introduced new criteria to decide who is allowed to come into the U.S. and how long they are allowed to stay. That is, with these laws, states, just as they should be, are seeking to secure their borders and minimize illegal immigration — they aren’t setting national immigration policy. But somebody needs to be — and, for once, that somebody is the federal government.

James C. Thomas, the lawyer who filed the lawsuit in Oklahoma, described Oklahoma’s anti-illegal-immigration law as “draconian” — but legislation rightly aimed to uphold the rule of law is not the problem. Perhaps Thomas and others who sympathize with the plight of immigrants who come into the country illegally because they feel they have no other recourse should turn their attention to immigration law itself, which desperately needs reform to ensure as many deserving applicants as possible receive citizenship in an efficient and sensible manner.


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Good on Oklahoma, but I hate that newfangled dome over the capitol building.

J.E. Dyer on June 15, 2011 at 2:37 PM

This week just gets better by the day.

katy the mean old lady on June 15, 2011 at 2:37 PM

Good job, Okies!

Tony737 on June 15, 2011 at 2:40 PM

I guess San Francisco should expect a flood of illegals seeking haven.

darwin on June 15, 2011 at 2:44 PM

Between all the prisoners that CA has to release and effective illegal immigration laws being written in other states, I don’t think CA will be even a tolerable place to live on any level very soon. Too bad I’m stuck. But good for OK.

oddjob1138 on June 15, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Count it!

carbon_footprint on June 15, 2011 at 2:46 PM

Way to go OK! Doing the job bho and team refuse to do. Many many other states are following suit.
L

letget on June 15, 2011 at 2:47 PM

Hey Obowma and Holder…

… SUCK ON IT!!!

Seven Percent Solution on June 15, 2011 at 2:47 PM

One small step for sanity!

Uncle Sams Nephew on June 15, 2011 at 2:47 PM

“Draconian” is the Left’s term of choice to describe anything which inhibits the growth of the leftist-democrat party franchise or upholds constitutional sovereignty and basic common sense.

rrpjr on June 15, 2011 at 2:49 PM

Notice how the news isn’t giving this too much coverage.

Oil Can on June 15, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Yahoo!

cmsinaz on June 15, 2011 at 2:50 PM

The correct term is “illegal aliens” not “undocumented immigrants”. You just gave up half the battle by using their terms.

GardenGnome on June 15, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Woot! Let’s see…. Arizona, Georgia, Alabama, Oklahoma …. the list is growing.

Stuff it Holder.

Cody1991 on June 15, 2011 at 2:51 PM

Yepper oil can

Crickets chirping all around

cmsinaz on June 15, 2011 at 2:51 PM

James C. Thomas, the lawyer who filed the lawsuit in Oklahoma, described Oklahoma’s anti-illegal-immigration law as “draconian”

Someone call this clown a whaaaambulance.

darwin on June 15, 2011 at 2:53 PM

The correct term is “illegal aliens” not “undocumented immigrants”. You just gave up half the battle by using their terms.

GardenGnome on June 15, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Agreed!

And I am sick to death of local landscapers insisting they need illegals…they used to hire high school boys. Now these teens are finding jobs very hard to come by.

clnurnberg on June 15, 2011 at 2:54 PM

By an 8-1 vote, the Oklahoma Supreme Court did strike down one provision of the law — a provision that would have denied bail to illegal immigrants arrested on felony counts or driving under the influence complaints. Trial judges — not the legislature — should determine whether a defendant is a flight risk and set bail, the court decided.

I’ll disagree here on principle.

A trial judge should be responsible for determining bail in normal cases, but illegals operating a car under the influence clearly have means of transportation and no ties to the community that would guarantee them staying in Oklahoma.

Most trial judges would probably agree, but you’ll occasionally get a real sh!tbird who will ignore common sense and let them off.

In Baton Rouge, we have one particular idiot judge, Trudy White, who is the reason why I want certain things spelled out in bold letters. She ended up letting off as District Court Judge Don Johnson after he got drunk, slammed into a utility pole, and fled the scene despite leaving his wallet, briefcase, and judge’s robes in the car.

She let Johnson off on a technicality because his Breathalyzer reading was on the very edge of the standard deviation, meaning that his reading of .107 had a very outside shot of actually being below the state’s legal limit of .10

teke184 on June 15, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Good on Oklahoma, but I hate that newfangled dome over the capitol building.

J.E. Dyer on June 15, 2011 at 2:37 PM

I don’t know that it’s any sillier looking than the domeless pedestal that was there while I was in college.

lizzie beth on June 15, 2011 at 2:57 PM

Expect Obama to sue Oklahoma now. Hope the day comes when Oklahoma demands birth records, school transcripts, and passport records for all potential presidential candidates to aapear on state ballots.

Shut these “progressives” down at the source.

Roy Rogers on June 15, 2011 at 2:57 PM

We’re told that they do jobs Americans won’t do, but Oklahoma has one of the lowest unemployment numbers in the nations. As usual, a liberal lie is brought forth.

SouthernGent on June 15, 2011 at 2:59 PM

More Activist SC Justices.

Although 8-1 doesn’t exactly define “bitterly divided”.

Del Dolemonte on June 15, 2011 at 3:01 PM

How unfortunate that it took getting a country/economy devastating socialist in the WH – with accompanying lackies tainting up the rest of the government – to get states to start finally get around to doing the right thing on illegal immigration.

On the one hand, it’s good to see that some states/folks still have cajones and a sense of Constitutionality and right vs. wrong – but on the other, it’s a shame we had to endure the destruction of so many lives, businesses, jobs, retirement plans, and futures of a few generations for them to ‘get it’.

I pray it isn’t all happening too late to make a difference at this point, though I suspect in the end, it will be.

Midas on June 15, 2011 at 3:05 PM

I guess San Francisco should expect a flood of illegals seeking haven.

darwin on June 15, 2011 at 2:44 PM

San Francisco has an opportunity to remove the welcome mat for ILLEGAL immigrants when it elects a new Mayor, District Attorney and Sheriff in November 2011.

But sadly I don’t see any candidates running for these offices yet, who are campaigning on their willingness to enforce our immigration laws.

wren on June 15, 2011 at 3:07 PM

In OK, we are a right to work state so we naturally have lower unemployment, but we also lead the nation in per-capita teacher whining about their low pay, fwiw.

The only area of the state this specific statute could theoretically pose a problem is in the panhandle, where our large “industrial” hog barns and operations are located. There are jobs that most low-skilled Americans can’t or won’t do – they are jobs in those hog barns and slaughterhouses. You have to be able to show up for work on time and pass a drug test, something that appears to be virtually impossible for the anglo equivalent of the jobs these specifcia immigrants (mainly Honduran) do. One of my friends happens to own a great many of these operations, and he’s complained about the complete absence of good, non-immigrant help for years.

Also – Hatin’ on the dome, J.E. Dyer – what a shame, what a shame…

elcapt on June 15, 2011 at 3:11 PM

And I am sick to death of local landscapers insisting they need illegals…they used to hire high school boys. Now these teens are finding jobs very hard to come by.

clnurnberg on June 15, 2011 at 2:54 PM

Agriculture whines about the same thing.
In reality, they want CHEAP labor. And they want people they do not have to give benefits to.
And honestly, most illegals do have a very good work ethic for the most part.
But there are lots of legal citizens & non-citizens who would gladly take the job of an illegal & be happy for it.
I remember several years back when the Swift plant in Greeley CO was busted. Local news, Laramie, was reporting how Swift was inundated by locals applying for the vacant jobs the illegals had left behind.

Badger40 on June 15, 2011 at 3:11 PM

How unfortunate that it took getting a country/economy devastating socialist in the WH –
Midas on June 15, 2011 at 3:05 PM

i knew this was going to happen.
And I’m still not convinced America has learned her lesson.
Bcs even in my small conservative communities, I still see the addiction to the govt teat.

Badger40 on June 15, 2011 at 3:13 PM

Perhaps Thomas and others who sympathize with the plight of immigrants who come into the country illegally because they feel they have no other recourse should turn their attention to immigration law itself, which desperately needs reform to ensure as many deserving applicants as possible receive citizenship in an efficient and sensible manner.

Why citizenship? We definitely need a sensible immigration policy, but we already give American citizenship out like candy. How about legal residency? Guest Workers? Most people coming to work in this country only want to send money home to their families … a much more noble act than foreign aid. Let them do that without allowing them to determine the course of this country.

JSGreg3 on June 15, 2011 at 3:14 PM

Prediction: Los Thunder

Christien on June 15, 2011 at 3:14 PM

Hey Obowma and Holder…

… SUCK ON IT!!!

Seven Percent Solution on June 15, 2011 at 2:47 PM

Ditto.

Jaibones on June 15, 2011 at 3:19 PM

Anyone told Holder yet? He needs a few more gray hairs.

GarandFan on June 15, 2011 at 3:21 PM

I’m really beginning to like Oklahoma.

lonestar1 on June 15, 2011 at 3:22 PM

That is, with these laws, states, just as they should be, are seeking to secure their borders and minimize illegal immigration — they aren’t setting national immigration policy.

What the argument against state enforcement boils down to is that a dereliction of the laws of the United States by the administration is a legitimate political exercise of the federal prerogative to set immigration policy.

This is ridiculous on its face.

HitNRun on June 15, 2011 at 3:24 PM

HitNRun on June 15, 2011 at 3:24 PM

THIS.

Badger40 on June 15, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Anyone told Holder yet? He needs a few more gray hairs.

GarandFan on June 15, 2011 at 3:21 PM

He’s too busy covering his a** over the Project Gunrunner debacle.

BuckeyeSam on June 15, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Also – Hatin’ on the dome, J.E. Dyer – what a shame, what a shame…

elcapt on June 15, 2011 at 3:11 PM

Boomer Sooner. Semper Domeless, that’s my motto. Thought I was leaving the state in good hands when I joined the Navy, but then y’all had to go and put a dome on the capitol building, just as if it was any other $5-latte state.

J.E. Dyer on June 15, 2011 at 3:40 PM

Boomer Sooner. Semper Domeless, that’s my motto. Thought I was leaving the state in good hands when I joined the Navy, but then y’all had to go and put a dome on the capitol building, just as if it was any other $5-latte state.

J.E. Dyer on June 15, 2011 at 3:40 PM

I actually like the dome. I was against building it, because I thought it was a waste of money (although it was built with private donations, iirc, but money I thought could have been used better elsewhere). After it was finished, though, I decided I liked it. The Indian statute on top is impressive, IMO, and the dome itself just seems aesthetically pleasing to me for some reason. It’s pretty, lol.

mbs on June 15, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Eric Holder is going to have to assign more deputies to suing the states over immigration.

novaculus on June 15, 2011 at 3:46 PM

requires proof of citizenship before a person can receive government benefits.

Does that include voting, unemployment, welfare, foodstamps and public school education? These are all government benefits.

dogsoldier on June 15, 2011 at 3:50 PM

mbs on June 15, 2011 at 3:45 PM

I do like the Indian statue, and might be heard acknowledging (if you listen really hard) that it needs a dome to rest on. But the dome and I remain unreconciled. :-)

J.E. Dyer on June 15, 2011 at 3:58 PM

nor did it allow the legislature to step on the judicial branch by setting particular terms of bail

I wholeheartedly disagree. Bail should be consideed for citizens and legal residents ONLY. Illegal aliens are inherent flight risks. This murdering illegal alien was previously given bail for felony charges, once in CA, and once in NV, before he murdered a good samaritan.

No bail for illegal aliens. Period.

fred5678 on June 15, 2011 at 4:01 PM

One of my friends happens to own a great many of these operations, and he’s complained about the complete absence of good, non-immigrant help for years.

elcapt on June 15, 2011 at 3:11 PM

Your friend will find that raising wages will find plenty of legal labor. Just a matter of supply/demand at higher wages. And if he “can’t afford” to pay wages for legal workers, he shouldn’t be in business. It’s a marketplace, not a serfdom.

fred5678 on June 15, 2011 at 4:08 PM

to ensure as many deserving applicants as possible receive citizenship

On some level I disagree with this. The US has the right to say NO to ALL imigration if it so desires. Therefore there is no “deserving” applicants. Now, if we choose to allow for some imigration, we can also choose to be selective, in which case a doctor might be deemed to be more deserving than a bricklayer, but I still think deserving is the wrong word.

AnotherOpinion on June 15, 2011 at 4:11 PM

Now we need the same law in Texas. We are overrun.

Unfortunately, our governor is weak on the issue. He’s good on a lot of things, but not this one.

We did at least finally get a voter ID law, and Perry signed it, so it’s a start.

iurockhead on June 15, 2011 at 4:18 PM

He’s too busy covering his a** over the Project Gunrunner debacle.

BuckeyeSam on June 15, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Ain’t it the truth, and about time. They were getting grilled today, and it looks like several R’s finally grew themselves a pair.

They need to keep an eye on Holder, he may be fleeing the country soon. Venezuela would like him, he’d fit right in.

iurockhead on June 15, 2011 at 4:21 PM

There are jobs that most low-skilled Americans can’t or won’t do

This is exactly like breaking a man’s leg then criticizing the way he walks.

Knott Buyinit on June 15, 2011 at 4:22 PM

Woot! Let’s see…. Arizona, Georgia, Alabama, Oklahoma …. the list is growing.

Stuff it Holder.

Cody1991 on June 15, 2011 at 2:51 PM

Actually, this action stemmed from 2007 when OK enacted SB 1804. As I recall it, OK was the first State to enact anti-illegal legislation. Contrary to the doom and gloom predicted by the pro-amnesty crowd that costs would rise drastically as illegals were chased out of the border, employment went up as Americans here hired to do jobs that they couldn’t afford to take while undercut by low wage illegals. Even construction jobs and wages went up, before the bottom of the housing market fell.

Unforunately for neighboring States, most illegals moved to Texas and others nearby, rather than return home. But that’s not OK’s problem and it’s been up to other States to follow our lead ever since then.

AH_C on June 15, 2011 at 4:27 PM

requires proof of citizenship before a person can receive government benefits.
Does that include voting, unemployment, welfare, foodstamps and public school education? These are all government benefits.

dogsoldier on June 15, 2011 at 3:50 PM

IIRC, our local school began requiring birth certificates along with parents’ ID in the ’08 school year. OK does not issue drivers license without proof of citizenship or Green Card. So about the only way illegals could enroll in school was to forge everything. Nonetheless there was a noticable drop in the Hispanic community by the time the deadline for self-deportation arrived in Nov 2008. The upside, if there were any donk plan to GOTV using the illegal community, it didn’t happen, heh.

OK now needs to enact Voter ID law.

AH_C on June 15, 2011 at 4:36 PM

OK now needs to enact Voter ID law.

AH_C on June 15, 2011 at 4:36 PM

We did in the last election. It goes into effect July 1st of this year. Here’s the language: http://www.oscn.net/applications/oscn/DeliverDocument.asp?CiteID=78560

Meric1837 on June 15, 2011 at 4:42 PM

Everything, I mean EVERYTHING that is going on in this country, your county, city, and neighborhoods is all part of Agenda 21, the UN resolution that GHWBush agreed to in ’92 and Clinton signed as an Executive Order in ’93. There is also an organization called ICLEI, ‘International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives’.If you value your freedom, independence, and this great nation you MUST be informed and mindful of what is happening. I’m posting a short video for your viewing but I urge you all to read up on Agenda 21. It will blow your flipping mind! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXsGGfpYGR8

For a more DETAILED video watch this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEHWsdimVO4

lyfsatrip on June 15, 2011 at 4:49 PM

Individual states are forced to do the jobs that Barack Hussein Obama’s administration are mandated to do but refuses to do. Kind of ironic given former Mexican President Vicente Fox’s remark, “Mexican immigrants are doing the work that not even blacks want to do in the United States.”

 

We’re gonna punish our enemies, and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.” -President Barack Hussein Obama; Oct 2010-Speaking to Latino groups in run-up to November elections

FlatFoot on June 15, 2011 at 5:02 PM

“We are 5 days away from fundamentally transforming America” Barack Hussein Obama, 2008, 5 days prior to the Presidential election.

That’s right..Agenda 21 fast and furious!

lyfsatrip on June 15, 2011 at 5:17 PM

Congratulations Oklahoma and join the club! Georgia’s law starts July 1st and I could not be happier. One has to wonder who would have been motivated to take the stance first if Arizona hadn’t stepped in, but I am sure glad they did. Ours is currently being contested but I have little doubt we will prevail regardless. From what I have read, the illegals have been leaving in droves. Finally.

RDE2010 on June 15, 2011 at 5:30 PM

Roy Rogers on June 15, 2011 at 2:57 PM

I have a feeling he might be too busy considering he’s the one being sued now. Taste your own medicine Obama!

RDE2010 on June 15, 2011 at 5:37 PM

One of my friends happens to own a great many of these operations, and he’s complained about the complete absence of good, non-immigrant help for years.

elcapt

Most likely because he doesn’t want to pay for good, non-immigrant help.

xblade on June 15, 2011 at 5:37 PM

Article on the chinese using our lame interpretation of the 14th Amendment to have anchor babies.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20110614/wl_time/08599207769300

It is totally asinine to think that this is right or really legal.

CW on June 15, 2011 at 7:00 PM

…immigration law itself, which desperately needs reform to ensure as many deserving applicants as possible receive citizenship in an efficient and sensible manner.

Because the best way to handle the illegal immigration fiasco is to speed up legal immigration. Either way, we get 20-40 million new neighbors. Great!

If anyone thought Amnesty died in 2007, you’re wrong. The Repubics will never give this up. I will reward them by voting third party in 2012.

sartana on June 15, 2011 at 7:10 PM

Article on the chinese using our lame interpretation of the 14th Amendment to have anchor babies.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20110614/wl_time/08599207769300

It is totally asinine to think that this is right or really legal.

CW on June 15, 2011 at 7:00 PM

The Chinese case is a good narrative to push, because in looking at it, the liberals can set aside their political correctness re Mexicans and Aztlan and Mecha and La Raza and all that crap and see how the anchor baby exception is being totally abused.

slickwillie2001 on June 15, 2011 at 7:32 PM

The Oklahoma Supreme Court yesterday upheld a law that makes it illegal to knowingly transport undocumented immigrants, creates state barriers to hiring workers who are in the country illegally and requires proof of citizenship before a person can receive government benefits.

CONGRATS OK!!!!

Way to do the job that the over-compensated Federal leeches refuse to do!

Bravo!

Tim_CA on June 15, 2011 at 7:38 PM

Perhaps Thomas and others who sympathize with the plight of immigrants who come into the country illegally because they feel they have no other recourse should turn their attention to immigration law itself, which desperately needs reform to ensure as many deserving applicants as possible receive citizenship in an efficient and sensible manner.

I cannot more strongly disagree, with the electoral college hanging in the balance, and with the unemployment rate well over 10% actual, the R party could do NOTHING MORE SUICICDAL than support immigration reform.

The ability of so called conservatives to load the electoral bases for the left in this country is simply astonishing.

We can win elections against the left in this country. We cannot win elections against the left of SEVERAL COUNTRIES.

Typical Republican base voter, like a cute little harp seal lying on the snow, waiting to get clubbed and skinned.

I cannot tell you how utterly demoralizing it is to read posts like this Tina.

Why fight so hard, when people are so naive? Why even bother?

rightwingyahooo on June 15, 2011 at 8:55 PM

Why citizenship? We definitely need a sensible immigration policy, but we already give American citizenship out like candy. How about legal residency? Guest Workers? Most people coming to work in this country only want to send money home to their families … a much more noble act than foreign aid. Let them do that without allowing them to determine the course of this country.

JSGreg3 on June 15, 2011 at 3:14 PM

Really? You think another 3/5ths compromise is the way to go?

You think we can have 20 million non citizens in the country, and they will be forever content to abstain from political self determination?

They would love nothing more than for you to believe this and pass such a reform. The lawsuits would be filed within a week, demanding citizenship, and a federal court would not take long to order the government to place them on a path to citizenship.

Now, think of the last 5 elections, and which side won and by how much. 3 Democrat electoral landslides, 2 narrow R victories.

Now tell me: Which states can we afford to give up? FL? TX?

Tell me.

More utterly reckless and mindless republicanism, more naive fools like baby harp seals lying on the snow waiting to be clubbed and skinned.

Hopeless.

Bye bye, electoral college.

rightwingyahooo on June 15, 2011 at 9:00 PM

The right in this country is utterly suicidal.

The left needs not fear:

While their political philosophy falls apart in front of the whole world, the right is busy striving to give them a permanent voting majority that will make political debate entirely moot for a century or more.

What a joke.

rightwingyahooo on June 15, 2011 at 9:15 PM

I am gonna have to side with the one judge that thought that Illegal Aliens should not be allowed bail. If you are a citizen then a judge should decide if you should be released on bail, but an Illegal should either be in jail or on their side of the border. Period.

SGinNC on June 16, 2011 at 2:33 PM