The Oklahoman online has put together a look back at the May 3, 1999, tornado that cut a path of destruction through Oklahoma.
Part of this destruction occurred in Moore, OK, whose state legislator, Rep. Randy Terrill, has been the main proponent of harsh state based immigration laws in Oklahoma. The destruction created two things that greatly boosted the economy of central Oklahoma. First, the rebuilding of so many homes and other structures created an economic stimulus that has helped insulate the Oklahoma City metro area from the harsh realities of the worldwide recession we are currently experiencing. Second, the desperate need for construction workers brought in unprecedented numbers of Hispanic workers (citizens, lawful permanent residents, and those unlawfully present in the USA) to help rebuild Oklahoma City, including Moore. Looking back 10 years, I wonder. Is it irony? Is it bad form? Whatever it is it is disturbing that the champion of anti-immigrant state laws (and those who so proudly support him in great numbers) should come from a town which so greatly benefitted from immigrant labor.
The important, lasting thing about the May 3, 1999, tornado has been the rebuilding effort. As it does many times, the Oklahoman gets part of it right but fails to see the two big elephants in the room: 1. The stimulus the rebuilding gave to Oklhoma City; and 2. The immigrant influx that came about due to the overwhelming demand for workers to help rebuild.