OKLAHOMA CITY -- One day after being sworn in, State Senator Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, is determined to introduce immigration reform legislation similar to the statute approved last year by the Arizona Legislature.
Shortey said if the federal government cannot do more to enforce immigration laws, it is time for Oklahoma to step to the forefront of the issue.
"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," said Senator Shortey. "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."
Arizona Senate Bill 1070 created a law that allows police to determine the immigration status of a person they have detained if they suspect the person is in the country illegally. In July, a federal judge put the law on hold while the Obama administration challenged its constitutionality. Right now, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is considering whether to let the temporary hold on the law stand while the panel weighs its constitutionality.
Shortey said the people in his district are demanding action on the immigration issue.
"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," said Shortey. "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."