This week the United States filed a federal lawsuit against an Arizona immigration law, however poll results show most Oklahomans would like to see the law instituted in Oklahoma. SoonerPoll found that 77.9 percent of Oklahomans support a measure to pass a similar law for the state of Oklahoma.
Party affiliation does have an affect on opinions about the law, 86.5 percent of Republicans said they would support the measure compared to 72.2 percent of Democrats and only 65.7 percent of Independents. Similarly 87 percent of self identifying conservatives would support the measure compared to only 56.5 percent of self identifying liberals.
SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s Public Opinion Pollster, commissioned and conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 503 likely voters from May 25 – June 8, 2010. The study has a margin of error of ± 4.4 percent.
In April, the state of Arizona passed a law that gives police the power to question anyone they suspect is in the country illegally and requires people to produce documents verifying their status if asked. The law allows officers to detain anyone who cannot do so.
The law has created controversy since its passing as critics believe it could lead to racial profiling and interfere with federal immigration policy.
The Obama Administration filed lawsuit against Arizona over the state’s new immigration law on Tuesday citing that “the Constitution and the federal immigration laws do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local immigration policies throughout the country.”
The lawsuit has framed the creation of the lawsuit as a states rights issue, which has polarized the argument even more.
The Tea Party, an organization known for their support of both states rights issues and tougher immigration laws, lead in support of instituting the Arizona law in Oklahoma. 91.3 percent of Oklahomans who said they have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party said they would support a similar law.
Supporters of the law say that the passage of the law will give Arizona the chance to enforce policies that are already in place but rarely enforced at the federal level. Of those who said they would support a measure to pass similar legislation in Oklahoma, 77.8 percent said they were not confident that President Barack Obama intends to enforce current federal laws on immigration.
Poll respondent Robert N. Goodrich is not confident in Obama to enforce current immigration law “He has not done anything about illegal immigration so I have no confidence in him so far.”
“I think the Arizona law would be a good idea for Oklahoma,” Goodrich said. “The federal government is not doing anything about illegal immigration and the states are going to have to step up and do their job for them.”
Poll respondent Janis Isbell has little confidence in Obama to enforce current immigration laws, but feels that the Arizona law is a step in the wrong direction.
“I don’t believe the police should be able to pull someone over just because they look like an illegal immigrant,” Isbell said. “I think the law infringes on the rights of legal immigrants and will ultimately create more racial tension.”
Poll respondent Tommy Tupin would like to see Oklahoma adopt the Arizona law as a means to deter illegal immigration. “We have to protect our borders,” Tupin said. “Why even have them if you don’t protect them?”