For Immediate Release: April 3, 2007
Senator James A. Williamson
Senate Committee Approves Illegal Immigration
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted on Tuesday
in favor of legislation aimed at protecting the jobs of U.S.
citizens. The measure also contains provisions to ensure taxpayer
supported benefits are made available to American citizens and
legal immigrants only. Sen. James A. Williamson is the Senate
author of House Bill 1804, “The Oklahoma Taxpayer and
Citizen Protection Act of 2007.” He said the people of
Oklahoma are extremely concerned about the issue of illegal
“They are frustrated beyond any level that you can imagine,
because they have seen that the federal government is not taking
on this issue—they’re not dealing with it in any
way that’s responsible, and so they want us to do what
we can,” said Williamson, R-Tulsa.
Williamson said two issues bring illegal immigrants to Oklahoma—public
benefits and employment. The lawmaker said his legislation addresses
“With only specific exceptions, such as medical emergencies,
this legislation assures taxpayers that their publicly funded
benefits will not go to illegal immigrants,” Williamson
said. “We also have language protecting U.S. citizens
who have lost a job to an illegal immigrant.”
Should an employer release a U.S. citizen while retaining an
illegal immigrant, the citizen could file a discriminatory practice
claim and seek to have both his job and back wages restored.
Businesses contracting with state agencies that do not use an
online program to verify the immigration status of employees
would forfeit the ability to do business with the state.
“We also have mirrored all federal statutes dealing with
knowingly transporting and harboring illegal immigrants,”
Williamson said. “This ensures we can enforce these felony
violations at the state level.”
One change to HB 1804 made by Sen. Williamson deals with state
law on in-state tuition for the children of immigrants who have
lived in the U.S. for at least two years and graduated from
an Oklahoma high school.
“Under current law, those students can receive in-state
tuition as long as they are in the process of becoming citizens.
Rather than repeal that provision, we have simply tightened
it up to make sure they are indeed taking steps to become citizens,”
Williamson said. “Students currently in college would
be grandfathered in under the current statute.”
The next step for HB 1804 will be a vote by the full Senate.
For more information contact:
Senator Williamson's Office: (405) 521-5624