As Other States Get Tough, Immigrants Turn to Texas

Thousands of illegal immigrants are flooding into Texas, but they're not crossing the Mexico-United States border.

As states such as Oklahoma and California toughen up on immigration, many are opting to relocate to the Lone Star State.

"They are working people, and they're going to go find a job, and if they got to travel across the nation to find a job, then that's what they are going to do," community activist Renny Rosas said.

While there is no way to know how many illegal immigrants have come to Texas from other states, experts say the number may top 1 million.

Work for illegal immigrants in Oklahoma dried up after the state passed one of the strictest immigration laws in the country.

"When laws like that are passed, (and) they have that kind of an attitude, they really look to hide," Rosas said.

Oklahoma's House Bill 1804 makes it a felony to transport or shelter illegal immigrants.

Oklahoma residents such as Merle Owens, of Colbert, Okla., said they support the law.

"If they are here illegally, then they need to go; that's my opinion," he said.

Towns such as Colbert, which sits just across the Texas border, lost half of their population.

"We don't need a house full of illegals taking jobs, welfare, whatever, when we got people that need those services," Owens said.

Illegal immigrants say the laws in Texas are friendlier.

One illegal immigrant who left California two months ago after the state got tough on immigration said he came straight to Texas, where it is "a little better."

He said in Spanish that he came to Texas "out of necessity" to find work.

"When they come down here, they feel a lot more comfortable being here," said Corina Ortega, the daughter of an immigrant.

Ortega, a U.S. citizen, said she has many family members who are in the country illegally.

"All they want to do is work," she said.

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