Further on the Oklahoma law…

Further on the Oklahoma law… May 29, 2011

In case you’re new to this blog with this post, you need to go back and read my previous posts dealing with Oklahoma HB 1804 that SEEMS to criminalize humanitarian aid to illegal immigrants.  One commenter here has challenged my criticism of the law and its legislative formulators and those who voted for it.  The main response so far is that the law is not being enforced against Christians who provide necessary humanitarian aid to illegal immigrants.  But the law explicitly makes it a felony to provide transportation or shelter knowingly to illegal immigrants.  I am asking those who think the law may contain exceptions to provide proof as I was and still am unable to find proof of such exceptions.  Federal law contains them, but I have not seen proof that Oklahoma law does.  I am open to that and hope it is forthcoming.  In the meantime, based on the research I have done on the internet (reading the law and reports about it), I do not know of any such exemptions or exceptions.

So, imagine this scenario.  A Christian woman in Oklahoma has a licensed day care in her home.  She becomes aware of a single illegal immigrant mother of two toddlers (not born in the United States) who is leaving them home alone (locked in their bedroom) while she works because she cannot afford day care or babysitting.  She works at a menial job that pays minimum wage and, in order to feed herself and her children, she must leave them home alone.  (News reports of this situation have appeared–not only about illegal immigrants but also about poor working mothers.)  Her husband abandoned her and the children after they came to the U.S.  She came with him rather than be left alone in Mexico.  Now she is alone in Oklahoma and doing her best to provide for her children but is desperate.  The Christian day care provider volunteers to take care of the two children rather than have them left alone while their mother works.  She takes them in free of charge while their mother works.

THE LAW AS I AM AWARE OF IT (being unaware so far of any explicit exceptions made for such humanitarian aid to illegal immigrants) would seem to make the Christian woman a felon.  Whether it is enforced or not is beside the point.  The law seems intended to make her and people like her felons.  It seems to be intended to intimidate people who wish to give humanitarian aid to illegal immigrants.

Now, if someone can show me that the law contains exceptions that would NOT make the hypothetical Christian day care provider a felon, I would be very glad to know it.  And I will make sure that information appears here.

In the meantime, I’m glad if the law is not being enforced against people such as the Christian day care provider.  That’s wonderful.  To that I would say “Thank God law enforcement people in Oklahoma are Christians or just compassionate people and are refusing to enforce such a horrible law” (assuming it is as I have read it on the internet and does not contain explicit exceptions).  However, my original complaint and criticism was not about how the law is being enforced or not being enforced.  It was and remains about how the law is written (as I have read it on the internet).  Enforcement of laws is often delayed.  A case in point is the anti-Jewish laws in Germany and German occupied countries of Europe in the 1930s and early 1940s.  It often took months or years before the full extent of the laws were universally applied and enforced and, of course, in some countries, law enforcement personnel perpetually refused to enforce them or cooperate with the occupying forces in enforcing them (as was the case in parts of Denmark throughtout WW2).  Another case is the laws in most Northern states against helping slaves escape their Southern captivity.  Such laws were often not enforced and were flagrantly violated (e.g., by the students of Oberlin College under President Charles Finney in the 1850s).  That does not make them “good laws” or even innocuous because they could be enforced at any time and were often randomly and arbitrarily enforced.

Now, having said all that, let me repeat: I am open to correction if the versions of the law I read online are incorrect or incomplete.  I hope that is the case!  So far, however, no one has come forward with proof of that.

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