Worshippers in hiding

NewsOK reports on the effect of the Oklahoma immigration reform law on church attendance.

When the Rev. Leonel Blanco looks out into the pews of his south Oklahoma City church on Sundays, he sees only half the number of his predominantly Hispanic congregation

Attendance at Blanco’s Santa Maria Virgen, called the fastest-growing church in the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma, has dwindled sharply — a 50 percent decrease that Blanco blames on the Oklahoma immigration reform law that goes into effect Thursday. “Four months ago, this church was very full, but now the people are nervous. They don’t like going out,” Blanco, a native of Guatemala, said in Spanish through an interpreter.

Read about the situation and what the churches in Oklahoma are doing here

Category : The Lead

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3 Comments
  1. Undocumented immigrants generally work pretty hard. I wonder what sort of state benefits they are allegedly taking, given that you can’t get on Medicaid or Medicare without a proper SSN or documentation of past earnings? Plus, many of these folks are paying their state income, FICA, and maybe Federal taxes, and they’re certainly paying sales tax if OK has one.

    The bill states in part:

    The State of Oklahoma finds that illegal immigration is causing economic hardship and lawlessness in this state and that illegal immigration is encouraged by public agencies within this state that provide public benefits without verifying immigration status. The State of Oklahoma further finds that illegal immigrants have been harbored and sheltered in this state and encouraged to reside in this state through the issuance of identification cards that are issued without verifying immigration status, and that these practices impede and obstruct the enforcement of federal immigration law, undermine the security of our borders, and impermissibly restrict the privileges and immunities of the citizens of Oklahoma. Therefore, the people of the State of Oklahoma declare that it is a compelling public interest of this state to discourage illegal immigration by requiring all agencies within this state to fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

    –Weiwen Ng

  2. This is happening all over the country – in Jackson Hole, WY people (even with valid i.d. and work permits) are afraid to go into the National Parks in Wyoming (Grand Teton and Yellowstone) for fear of being picked up by Immigration authorities.

  3. TomRightmyer

    When I served as interim at Smithfield, NC, 2001-2002 the Spanish congregation there baptized a number of children refused by the local Roman Catholic church because they did not have proper documentation.

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