Protecting Our Birthright

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

To be born an American is one of the greatest birthrights in this world, one that has been bought at a high price with the lives of countless soldiers. Our vote is a central part of this birthright, and ensuring elections record each vote properly is one of our duties at the Capitol.

This year I was proud to support a new law that increases the penalties voter and election fraud. To me, few things are worse than using fraud to deprive an honest citizen of the power of his or her vote.

Senate Bill 1921 increases the maximum punishment for those convicted of felony and misdemeanor violations of the election code. It increases the fine from a maximum of $5,000 to $50,000 and the prison sentence from a maximum of two years to five years for felony convictions. It also increased misdemeanor punishments from a fine of $1,000 to $10,000 and expands the type of actions that are considered felony acts.

Another central part of our birthright is the privilege of benefiting from the security and services created by our tax dollars. Due to the federal government’s failure to address illegal immigration, our security has been compromised and services that should benefit Oklahomans sometimes benefit others. Many Oklahomans would like to see the state address this problem.

Before his arrest, Alberto Gomez-Gomez moved to Oklahoma City from Arizona following that state’s tough new immigration legislation. According to The Oklahoman, he is believed to be a high-ranking member of the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel and a major supplier of methamphetamine. Oklahoma is traditionally a territory of the Juarez Cartel and if the Sinaloa Cartel is relocating some of its operations here, we could see an escalation of violence and methamphetamine problems in our state. We must match or surpass Arizona’s zeal in order to protect Oklahoma from these criminals.

Though there are illegal immigrants who do not have a negative impact on the state, there is ample evidence that many are a drain on our state’s resources. The Oklahoman story indicates that cartel members and criminals are among them. We have already began to address illegal immigration problems,. This year, we enacted a fee on wire transfers, to make it more difficult for illegal aliens including cartel members to send back money to their countries of origin. Under 2009 legislation, our state prisons would be able to send non-violent illegal immigrants to federal agents for deportation.

I am prepared to support even tougher immigration and election fraud laws in the upcoming session. It is my pleasure to help protect the birthright so many have sacrificed their lives for.

I will be traveling through the district during the interim and will keep you regularly updated on ideas and problems presented to me by constituents. As always, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at the Capitol at (405) 557-7407.

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