Oklahomans Join To Discuss Push For Immigration Reform


Wednesday, July 9th 2014, 6:46 pm
By: News 9


While those immigration reform discussions continue in Texas, Oklahomans are speaking out as well. Business owners and community leaders partnered together Wednesday in hopes of what they call a new American economy.

For metro community leaders, Economics and human rights drive their concerns, and the need for reform drives their desire to speak out on a national day of action.

"We have to keep telling the human story, because that's what it's ultimately about. These are not dollar signs, these are not statistics, these are people," said Rev. Lori Walke with Mayflower Congressional Church.

Walke knows faith-based organizations have obligations for charity work, handing out blankets and caring for individuals like immigrant children. But Walke and her church stand, not just charity, but social justice.

"We see the number of people coming across our borders as a result of a broken system," said Walke.

So in a united call for immigration reform, Walke joined with metro business owners and former legislators to send a message to the president and congress in a bipartisan manner.

7/7/2014 Related Story: Lawyers, Case Workers Begin Helping Immigrant Children At Fort Sill

"We need new policies that protect our borders, recognize the human dignity of all people and allow immigrants to add to our economy," said Kris Steele, former Oklahoma House Speaker.

"The lack of taxes that we could have from the workers we're hiring to the workers other companies are hiring is traumatic," said Craig Parker with Silver Star Construction.

Parker owns Silver Star construction, a company that has contracted work in the metro from nearly 25 years.

"We're not talking about taking jobs away from the workforce that is here right now. We're talking about putting the jobs in the economy and building our economy," said Parker.

Walke wants to build the gospel that human life is at stake, while the battle at the border continues.

"Stop fear mongering. We are people of compassion and fairness because all of us matter, or none of us do," said Walke.

In a response to anyone calling for just deportation, the group said it's not that simple. Deportation hearings as well as citizenship forms take years. And they say the system as a whole must be fixed.

Former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating is also a member of the partnership and took part in Wednesday's press conference.