Immigration to Oklahoma
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Oklahoma has one of the fastest growing economies in the US, leading the nation in gross domestic product growth. Oklahoma is also 3rd in the country in regards to per capita income growth. Oklahoma’s economic stronghold is in the areas of biotechnology, energy, and telecommunications. In addition, the state is a major producer of natural gas, oil, and food. Oklahoma’s economy is primarily based on Agriculture and Industry. The main agricultural commodities produced include: cattle, wheat, milk, poultry and cotton. The main industrial sectors include: transportation equipment, machinery, electric products, rubber/plastic products and food processing. Oklahoma is predominantly covered with small mountain ranges, prairie lands, and eastern forests. Oklahoma lies in the Great Plains in a region prone to sever weather.
Illegal Immigration to Oklahoma
Oklahoma has the 2nd highest number of Native Americans (11.4%) in the nation. The largest ancestry groups in Oklahoma are German, Irish, English, African American and Native American. Between 1980 and 2000, immigrants to Oklahoma from foreign countries were primarily from Mexico, Vietnam, Germany, India and China. Mexicans alone account for 42.5% of the immigrants settling in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma’s naturalization rate of 34.7% is significantly lower than the national average of 40.1% based upon data recorded during the 2000 Census.
The educational level of Oklahoma residents is approximately equal to the US average for high school and some college education and below average for higher levels of education (Bachelor’s and Advanced degrees) according to data collected in the 2000 Census.
Educational Summary for Oklahoma:
- High school graduate: 80.6% (US Average 80.4%)
- Some college or more: 49.1% (US Average 51.8%)
- Bachelor’s degree or more: 20.3% (US Average 24.4%)
- Advanced degree: 6.8% (US Average 8.9%)
Illegal Immigration to Oklahoma
With a growing illegal immigrant population the state of Oklahoma is taking a firm stance on this issue. On November 1, 2007, a new illegal alien bill became law in Oklahoma. This marked one of the toughest illegal immigration laws in the country. This law keeps illegal immigrants from receiving any public assistance and also requires proof of citizenship or valid visas before being able to apply for government identification. The law also makes it illegal to harbor or transport illegal immigrants. Employers of public companies and their subcontractors are also required to register with the state in order to verify the work authorization status of all new employees.
The annual fiscal cost to Oklahoma taxpayers for emergency medical care, education and incarceration projected by FAIR is currently $207 million and is estimated to rise to $356 million per year in 2010 and $624 million per year in 2020.
Oklahoma Immigration Statistics
In the decade from 1990 to 2000, Oklahoma’s population increased by 10% (305,000 persons). During that same period, Oklahoma’s immigrant population more than doubled, increasing by 101%. From 2000 to 2006, the immigrant population increased by 27% to over 35,000 immigrants. This rapid increase has caused 23% of Oklahoma’s major urban roads to be congested. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2007 Oklahoma’s unemployment rate is 4.1%. This figure is below the national average of 5.0%.