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What this panhandle county tells us about the future of Oklahoma

by | July 6th, 2015 | Posted in Economy, Immigration | Comments (5)
American Theater in Guymon, Texas County, OK | Photo by Nathan Gunter | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The American Theater in Guymon, Texas County, OK | Photo by Nathan Gunter | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Chan Aaron is an OK Policy summer intern. He is pursuing an environmental policy degree at The University of Tulsa. He is also a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a degree in philosophy and a veteran of the United States Navy.

The average Oklahoman probably doesn’t know much about Texas County, OK (other than that it is next to Texas). Yet this small panhandle county could be a glimpse of the state’s future. A new OK Policy fact sheet lays out the rapid changes happening in Texas County in recent years, and in this post we discuss what they could mean for the state as a whole.

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Sleeping dogs of the 2015 session

Photo by Chris Waits

Photo by Chris Waits

The 2015 session is now underway and it’s clear that this year, as always, will feature heated debates on a multitude of contentious issues, from proposals to expand school choice through vouchers and charter schools to efforts to rein in tax credits to hot-button social issues, such as guns, abortion, and same-sex marriage.

Less noted, but perhaps equally significant, is the low profile of several issues that have been highly contentious in recent years and that many expected to see back on the agenda in 2015. Here’s a review of four issues on which few, if any, bills have been filed and it now appears that minimal legislative action is likely this session.

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What President Obama’s immigration order means for Oklahoma

by | February 12th, 2015 | Posted in Immigration, Immigration Basics | Comments (0)

This post is by OK Policy intern Nikki Hager. She is a senior Political Science and Economics major at the University of Tulsa.

Immigrant Rights Day rally at the US Capitol. Photo by Elvert Barnes.

Immigrant Rights Day rally at the US Capitol. Photo by Elvert Barnes.

In November, President Obama issued an executive order to grant deportation relief to approximately half of the nation’s estimated 11.2 million undocumented immigrants. The Immigration Accountability Executive Action (IAEA) is contentious and its future is uncertain—Oklahoma and 24 other states are suing the President over the order—but it nonetheless will have a significant effect on Oklahoma’s undocumented residents. This post will explore who is affected by the order in Oklahoma and what the order means for them.

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The kids are out of Fort Sill. Now what?

by | September 9th, 2014 | Posted in Immigration, Immigration Basics | Comments (3)
immigration-court

Image via Kids In Need of Defense.

At the end of July, we published a blog post debunking some myths about the unaccompanied children housed at Fort Sill in Lawton. Now that the temporary shelter there has been closed and the children have all been relocated, we talked with the TU College of Law’s Professor Elizabeth McCormick (who spoke about this issue at OK Policy’s Summer Policy Institute) about where the children are now and what their futures look like. We summarized her responses.

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[Summer Rerun] Read This: “Kind of Kin”

by | August 20th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, Immigration | Comments (0)

This post, authored by then-intern Carly Putnam, first ran on our blog on July 25, 2013. It has been updated.

coverIt’s rare to find a novel set in Oklahoma; it’s rarer still to find a novel set in Oklahoma that actually feels like Oklahoma, with all of its quirks, dangers, and beauty. Author Rilla Askew is Oklahoman herself and it shows; Kind of Kin is funny, poignant, and very smart. The novel deftly describes the fallout of immigration politics in a small (but fierce) Oklahoma town. Competing factions of families, faith communities, local politicians, and the migrants themselves struggle to adjust as forces outside their control shape their worlds.

Kind of Kin was inspired by Oklahoma’s HB 1804, signed into law in 2007, which made it a felony to harbor undocumented immigrants (we analyzed HB 1804 here). HB 1804 was considered the nation’s most far-reaching immigration reform law until Arizona passed its own immigration reform in 2010. Although HB 1804 initially created widespread panic in the state’s Latino community, the alarm subsided as its effects proved less disruptive than initially feared.

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Debunking myths about migrant children at Ft. Sill

by | July 22nd, 2014 | Posted in Blog, Immigration, Immigration Basics | Comments (45)

As most Oklahomans have heard and seen on the news, there are currently between 1,000 and 1,500 migrant children being housed in dormitories on Fort Sill, an Army base in southwestern Oklahoma near Lawton (among other places across the country). The vast majority are from three Central American countries: Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

The response by federal agencies has been swift and represents a coordinated effort between agencies with very different missions and mandates – from the U.S. Border Patrol, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Military to Health and Human Services (HHS). The children are currently being cared for by the Administration for Children and Families (a division of HHS) with the assistance of countless volunteers working on behalf of churches and charities.

These children’s entry into the U.S. and into Oklahoma has sparked a large amount of commentary and speculation about their situation. In the hopes of providing some clarity for Oklahomans interested in these developments, this post responds to some common misconceptions about who they are, why they came, and what’s being done.

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Read This: Kind of Kin

by | July 25th, 2013 | Posted in Blog, Immigration | Comments (2)

This post was written by OK Policy intern Carly Putnam. Carly is an undergraduate at the University of Tulsa majoring in Sociology and Women’s & Gender Studies. She can be found on Twitter at @CarlyPutnam.

It’s rare to find a novel set in Oklahoma; it’s rarer still to find a novel set in Oklahoma that actually feels like Oklahoma, with all of its quirks, dangers, and beauty. Author Rilla Askew is Oklahoman herself and it shows; Kind of Kin is funny, poignant, and very smart, deftly describing the fallout of state politics in a small (but fierce) Oklahoma town.

Kind of Kin was inspired by Oklahoma’s HB 1804, signed into law in 2007, which made it a felony to harbor undocumented immigrants (we analyzed HB 1804 here). HB 1804 was considered the nation’s most far-reaching immigration reform law until Arizona passed its own immigration reform in 2010. Although HB 1804 initially created widespread panic in the state’s Latino community, the alarm subsided as its effects proved less disruptive than initially feared.

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Watch This: Illegal

by | June 28th, 2012 | Posted in Blog, Immigration, Watch This | Comments (1)

Illegal is a compelling 6-minute documentary about undocumented American youth.  The film was financed, produced, and directed by a diverse team of independent advocates and professionals from across the country.  Through a series of interviews, this short film illuminates the plight of immigrant youth and urges the viewer to confront the tensions and bald injustice embedded in our current immigration policy.

While the Obama administration’s decision to halt deportations of some undocumented residents was an important first step, executive orders are easily changed by successive administrations, and legislative action is necessary to make permanent changes to repair a broken system.

2012 Session: Prospects look better for immigrants, worse for the poor, loaded for gun enthusiasts

The 2012 legislative session convened last Monday and will run until the end of May (click here for a complete run-though of how this works in our handy Legislative Overview). With 1,934 new bills  filed, it takes awhile before we know for certain which priorities will dominate the session. But now that our merry gang of bill-trackers have taken a first look, a few themes have emerged.

One is a subject more notable by its absence than its presence: immigration. Last year, some two dozen immigration bills were introduced, most looking to impose tighter law enforcement and verification restrictions on undocumented immigrants. Most of the bills were killed by House and Senate leadership over the course of session. Ultimately a single bill, HB 1446, emerged out of conference committee but was defeated on a bipartisan vote in the House.

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Guest Blog (Juan Pedroza): Should I stay or should I go?

by | January 5th, 2012 | Posted in Blog, Immigration | Comments (1)

Juan Pedroza is a Research Associate at The Urban Institute’s Center on Labor, Human Services and Population. This originally appeared on the Urban Institute Metro Trends blog and is reposted with permission. Juan’s research will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Latino/Latin American Studies.

Are immigrants from states passing tough immigration laws leaving in droves? Since Alabama grabbed headlines after passing a restrictive law, accounts and images of idle store fronts, vacancy signs, empty pew aisles, and dips in school enrollment swept the airwaves.  News coverage of similar experiments in Arizona, Oklahoma, and Georgia also featured accounts of imminent flight. The mass exodus storyline is tempting because it stokes immigration control advocates and outrages immigrant rights advocates.

But are these accounts reliable? The answer is more complicated than the headlines. As I wrote in an article for The Journal of Latino-Latin American Studies, growing evidence suggests that most immigrants (especially families with school-age children) are here to stay, except perhaps where local economies are particularly weak (click here for the forthcoming article).

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