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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Children > GOP’s inaction on immigration enables OK lawmakers to make felons out of undocumented children

GOP’s inaction on immigration enables OK lawmakers to make felons out of undocumented children

LatinaLista — Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is hopping mad — just like the rest of his party over the passage of the President’s healthcare bill. The only difference between Graham’s anger versus his colleagues is that he’s going to take it out directly on undocumented immigrants.

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With so many news outlets reprinting Graham’s remarks it’s hard to tell just how many times he’s made the threat/promise that:

“Immigration is not going to happen in the Senate. There is no desire to do immigration in the United States Senate in 2010.”

U.S. Senators South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham and Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat used to be partners in crafting a new senate version of immigration reform. Yet, Graham has pulled back from immigration saying that as far as he’s concerned it’s a dead issue given the way Democrats pushed through healthcare reform. (Photo: Reuters)

Congressional sources tell Latina Lista that, unlike healthcare, there has to be a bi-partisan vote on the immigration bill, otherwise the votes just aren’t there to pass it.

If Graham steps away as he is threatening to do, it will make it harder, not impossible, but harder for other Republicans to come forward and work on immigration.

While Graham and his colleagues may think this is the perfect way to get back at the Democrats, please their Tea Party aggressor followers and avoid getting embroiled in an issue that is bound to be as volatile as healthcare, they’re wrong.

Because while they want to act less like statesman and more like vindictive sore losers, their inaction is enabling states to continue on the wayward course of implementing their own immigration laws — the latest such law would charge any undocumented child playing with a toy gun with a felony.

It’s called House Bill 3341 and would make it unlawful for undocumented residents in the state of Oklahoma to possess “any pistol, imitation or homemade pistol, altered air or toy pistol, machine gun, sawed-off shotgun or rifle, or any other dangerous or deadly firearm.”

The innocent idea behind it is that no one wants guns in the hands of true criminal aliens — people who have no conscience when it comes to taking another’s life. There’s not a decent person anywhere — immigration advocate or not — that doesn’t want that.

Yet, where this bill ceases to be innocent and becomes over-the-top mean-spirited and vicious is when it includes the terms “imitation, homemade pistol and toy pistol.”

Technically, that would apply to any undocumented child who wants to play cops and robbers or superheroes or whatever game that captures the imaginations of children who play out, like generations before them, with toy guns.

Under this law, because no age limit is set, the technicality exists that an undocumented child found with a toy gun would be charged as a felon.

One would hope that common sense would set in and innocent children would not be dragged away from their families and traumatized because they violated this law, but in these times of rampant paranoia and outright prejudicial hostility towards Latinos, that kind of assumption unfortunately can no longer be made.

It especially can’t be made in a state that is awaiting Senate approval on a bill that would require school districts to report the number of students who are undocumented immigrants.

States like Oklahoma feel empowered to set their own rules on immigration because no one from the federal government tells them otherwise — the White House and Justice Department are strangely silent as each state legislative body impedes on federal territory and now we have Republicans who shamefully are putting politics first, rather than acting like legislators and creating legislation to make this country stronger and more just.

Unfortunately, it’s just too easy to victimize the most vulnerable who live among us.

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Comment(8)

  • Karen
    March 26, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    I hate to break this to you, but Graham never had any intention of passing comprehensive immigration reform. What he’s interested in is some kind of guest worker program that alllows businesses to exploit immigrant workers without giving them the rights of citizenship.
    Moreover, Obama never had any intention of passing it either. He brought it up last week to make sure that Gutierrez and other members of the Hispanic Caucus voted for his health insurance reform bill.
    Obama is a liar. Get a clue.

  • Texan123
    March 26, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Toy guns are not a good idea anyway. Criminals have committed crimes with real looking toys and kids have even been shot because their toy gun looked real. If you buy a toy gun for your kid make sure it LOOKS like a toy.
    It appears you agree with the Obama method of politics. Twist arms, make threats, or bribe to get votes. This is not the American way. If you approve the use of corruption to get what you want, you can expect the use of corruption to take what you have.

  • Juliee
    March 26, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Thank God for the GOP.
    No Jobs for high schoolers
    No Jobs for college kids
    No Jobs for college grads
    Declining wages for the middle class.
    We simply have too many workers for the low number of jobs available.
    We can not take on more workers until this country shows some signs of improvement.

  • Alonzo
    March 26, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    The summary for Oklahoma HB3341 reads as follows:
    (http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/WebApplication2/WebForm1.aspx?Bill=HB3341)
    “The measure prohibits illegal aliens from possessing any kind of firearm or being in a vehicle or living in a residence where there is any kind of dangerous or deadly firearm. Persons who have been issued a concealed handgun license and intentionally allow an illegal alien to possess or have control of a handgun will be charged with a felony and subject to a fine and revocation of their handgun license.”
    Furthermore, the Fiscal Summary reads as follows:
    “The penalty for non-citizens and illegal aliens convicted of possessing a firearm is 1-10 years imprisonment. Illegal aliens must serve at least one-third of their sentence before being eligible for transfer to the custody and control of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation. The cost of incarceration is approximately $56 per day. The fiscal impact of the proposed committee substitute for HB3341 would be dependent upon the number of adjudicated cases and the length of the sentence imposed by the court.”
    I see no intent to prosecute anyone for carrying a toy pistol in the course of child’s play. I suggest that you’re exaggerating this for the purpose of stirring up sympathy. Such exaggerations do nothing for your credibility as a journalist. If I’m wrong, and you’re just accepting hyperbole from other sources as fact, I suggest that you do your own research instead of relying of others.

  • Bryan J.
    March 27, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Wow. This is unbelievable. What in the world is going on in Oklahoma? I must find out. THanks for the news, Marisa.

  • Aaron
    March 30, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Yes, Bryan, unbelievable indeed!

  • Juliee
    March 31, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    It has become illegal to bring toy guns to school for awhile. Some look so real that parents put their child’s life by allowing them to have toys guns. If they point it at law enforcement they could be killed. Wake up parents.. buy your kid a balloon.

  • larry
    April 10, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    one can became a felon without doing a crime, think not, read 18 USC 922 G8, do not stop there, read the case law, no notice required by state agent judge to male he must sell his guns or go to federal prison, still say ,not true, Okay, read US v Larry W.Campbell , that is me .we lost our rights and never knew it

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