Oklahoma GOP leaders push immigration reform
By SEAN MURPHY, Associated Press
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Former Republican officials in Oklahoma joined a coalition of business groups from across the country on Wednesday in urging Congress to pass new immigration laws they say are vital to the nation’s economy — even while acknowledging the political difficulty the issue presents.
Former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating and ex-House Speaker Kris Steele were among those who decried the current immigration system as woefully inadequate and pointed to the massive influx of children from Central American countries as evidence of the need for immediate congressional action.
More than 1,000 unaccompanied teenagers from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala are being detained at a facility in Fort Sill in southwest Oklahoma after being caught trying to enter the country illegally.
Keating, a two-term governor in Oklahoma until 2003 and now president of the American Bankers Association in Washington, D.C., said he believes the crisis involving an estimated 57,000 children picked up at the U.S.-Mexico border since October could serve as the impetus for meaningful legislation this year.