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Immigration Law Affects Oklahoma City Hispanic Community

From: Scott Gurian
Length: 04:16

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Business owners in OKC's Hispanic neighborhood describe the impact of strict, new measures cracking down on illegal immigration

02_small For several decades, immigrants from Latin America have been lured to the Oklahoma City area by construction and service industry jobs as well as the cheap cost of living. But recently, things have been a little quieter than they used to be in the Hispanic neighborhood of Capitol Hill. That?s because of House Bill 1804, a new, anti-illegal immigration law that went into effect in Oklahoma last November. It makes it a felony for anyone to transport, conceal or house undocumented immigrants, and people on both sides of the issue have called it one of the strictest measures of its type in the country. The law is still fairly new, so there aren?t yet many hard statistics about its effects. But anecdotal evidence suggests it?s already had an enormous impact. Randy King, the Publisher of the Spanish language newspaper El Nacional (http://www.elnacionalnews.com), gives us a walking tour of Capitol Hill and introduces us to several business owners including Elias Pando of Tortilleria Lupita; Max Gaona, who runs the Mexican sports bar and chicken restaurant Maxpollo and Kay Garner, owner of Budget Foods.

Piece Description

For several decades, immigrants from Latin America have been lured to the Oklahoma City area by construction and service industry jobs as well as the cheap cost of living. But recently, things have been a little quieter than they used to be in the Hispanic neighborhood of Capitol Hill. That?s because of House Bill 1804, a new, anti-illegal immigration law that went into effect in Oklahoma last November. It makes it a felony for anyone to transport, conceal or house undocumented immigrants, and people on both sides of the issue have called it one of the strictest measures of its type in the country. The law is still fairly new, so there aren?t yet many hard statistics about its effects. But anecdotal evidence suggests it?s already had an enormous impact. Randy King, the Publisher of the Spanish language newspaper El Nacional (http://www.elnacionalnews.com), gives us a walking tour of Capitol Hill and introduces us to several business owners including Elias Pando of Tortilleria Lupita; Max Gaona, who runs the Mexican sports bar and chicken restaurant Maxpollo and Kay Garner, owner of Budget Foods.

Broadcast History

A version of this piece aired on Weekend America in December '07

Transcript

If you?ve never been here, the first thing you need to know about Capitol Hill is that it?s not actually anywhere near Oklahoma?s state capitol complex. In the middle of Oklahoma City, which often seems defined by wide streets, chain stores and strip malls, Capitol Hill is a compact little neighborhood with its own, unique character. Like any other neighborhood, there are churches, banks, stores and a movie theater, but most of the signs in their front windows are in Spanish.

(ACT 1/KING): Right now we?re on the corner of Southwest 25th and Harvey.
GURIAN: And is this kind of in the heart of the Capitol Hill neighborhood?
KING: Pretty much the heart of Capitol Hill. Yes ? I would say so.

Randy King is the Publisher of El Nacional, a local Spanish-language newspaper. He points across the street to Tortilleria Lupita, a tortilla factory and convenience store which supplies r...
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Timing and Cues

Suggest lede:

For several decades, immigrants from Latin America have been lured to the Oklahoma City area by construction and service industry jobs as well as the cheap cost of living. But recently, things have been a little quieter than they used to be in the Hispanic neighborhood of Capitol Hill. That?s because of House Bill 1804, a new, anti-illegal immigration law that went into effect in Oklahoma last November. It makes it a felony for anyone to transport, conceal or house undocumented immigrants, and people on both sides of the issue have called it one of the strictest measures of its type in the country. The law is still fairly new, so there aren?t yet many hard statistics about its effects. But anecdotal evidence suggests it?s already had an enormous impact. Scott Gurian reports from Oklahoma City.

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Scott Gurian is the News Director at public radio station KGOU in Norman, Oklahoma.