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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Speaker Steele Misses Mark (Again)

Immigration reform was a pretty big deal in the 2010 election cycle.  Even Governor Mary Fallin came out in support of Arizona's illegal immigration law and her supporters ripped then Lt. Governor Jari Askins for not being tough enough on illegal immigration.  But now, it appears that House Speaker Kris Steele will spend his last two years in office ensuring promises made during campaigns will not, in fact, be kept.

Speaker Steele sent out this email to House members...accompanied by my commentary, of course:
Given the potential significance of the immigration debate this year, the House, Senate, and Governor’s office are forming a special joint committee to develop a comprehensive immigration reform proposal.
Translated:  They are putting together a committee that will talk big, but do little.  It is to appease the masses, to make us all think that something will be accomplished.  Of course, Steele fails to mention that there are already "Arizona-plus" types of legislation already filed.  This will give him an out to be able to kill those bills.  Remember what President Bush did with "comprehensive immigration reform?"  Nothing.  Not a damned thing. 
The group will include four members from the House and four members from the Senate (three Republicans, one Democrat from each body), as well as representation from the Attorney General’s office. Rep. Faught, Rep. Ortega, and Rep. Peterson have agreed to serve as the House Republican members on this committee.
Representative Ortega and Pam Peterson?  Really?  Neither of these Republicans are known for their tough stance on illegal immigration.  Steele appointing these two to the committee is tantamount to appointing Rosie O'Donnell to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Nutrition.  I can't wait to see who the Senate members will be or who will represent the Attorney General's office.

Next, Steele will tell us that former Governor Brad Henry will chair the committee on tort reform.
As I have often said, there must be appropriate consequences for those who intentionally break the law, particularly for those who endanger public safety or divert taxpayer resources. To achieve that goal, the committee will carefully consider proposals and develop a comprehensive reform package that truly meets the needs of Oklahoma.
This is rich.  "Intentionally break the law..."  Illegal immigrants have already broken the law intentionally by there mere presence here, failing to follow legal immigration policies.  Illegal immigrants "divert taxpayer resources" already - we have schools that teach children exclusively in Spanish because of the increase of illegal immigrants.  They receive state health care, they receive free or reduced lunches at school.  Either Steele is completely ignorant of the impact of illegal immigration, can't understand what "illegal" means, or he is a patsy for the Chamber of Commerce who absolutely hates illegal immigration reform because many of their members employ illegals.  The bills in the legislature right now, such as Arizona-plus immigration reform and HB1804 meet the needs of Oklahoma.

Why is Randy Terrill not on this committee?  Why is Mike Christian not on this committee - a man whose House District has huge problems with illegal immigration?  Because they want real solutions, not platitudes.

We have been bamboozled.  Hoodwinked.