A favorite straw man of the pro-amnesty crowd is that the only alternative to granting illegal immigrants citizenship is mass deportation. As a front page USA Today story on the implementation of Oklahoma’s new ‘Taxpayer Citizen Protection Act’ shows, that is simply not true.

Referred to simply as ‘1804’ by Sooners (a reference to the House Bill’s number in the state legislator), the bill mirrors recommendations by The Heritage Foundation on how states should respond to the federal government’s refusal to enforce national immigration laws. The law denies driver’s licenses and public benefits to illegals, sanctions employers who knowingly hire illegals, and requires all employers with government contracts to check new hires against a federal database.

USA Today reports that since the law took effect November 1, experts estimate that between 15,000 and 25,000 illegal immigrants have left Tulsa County alone. Hispanic grocer Jim Garcia is quoted, “People are leaving to Mexico or Canada or other states.”

The USA Today story is just the latest anecdotal report of illegal immigrants self-deporting in significant numbers. The AP reported December 22, that while “there’s no way to know how many illegal immigrants are leaving Arizona” in light of their new enforcement law, “economists, immigration lawyers and people who work in the immigrant community” all agree illegal immigrants are leaving the state voluntarily.

‘Path to citizenship’/amnesty plans always fail because they communicate to prospective migrants that no matter how they get into our country, as long as they stay long enough, we will eventually reward them with citizenship. If states want to stop importing poverty at great cost to their taxpayers, then they need to pass more laws like Oklahoma’s 1804.Update: More from Heritage Distinguished Fellow The Honroable Ernest Istook here.

Quick Hits:

  • The New York Times reports “the tenor of the argument” in yesterday’s Supreme Court case on Indiana’s voter photo ID requirement case suggests the court “may uphold … the strictest voter-identification law in the country.”
  • Citing NATO’s failure provide adequate numbers of troops, the Pentagon announced about 3,000 additional Marines will be deployed to Afghanistan to combat Taliban insurgents.
  • Responding to public anxiety over inflation concerns, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao announced China would freeze energy prices including prices on oil, natural gas, and electricity.
  • The Department of Homeland Security is preparing 102 court cases against landowners in Arizona, California, and Texas in an effort to secure sites to build a fence along the Mexican border.
  • India’s giant Tata Group unveiled a $2,500 car today. The group hopes the car will revolutionize the transportation market for India’s 1.1 billion people. See Insider coverage here.