For Immediate Release: April 16, 2007
Senator James A. Williamson
Full Senate Approves Illegal Immigration
On Monday, the evenly divided Oklahoma Senate
passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill by a 41 to 6 vote.
If the House of Representatives accepts the Senate’s amendments
to House Bill 1804, the legislation could be on Gov. Brad Henry’s
desk by the end of the week.
Sen. James A. Williamson is the Senate author of HB 1804, “The
Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007.”
He said the bill is designed to protect jobs for citizens as
well as addressing concerns about taxpayer supported benefits.
“The failure of the federal government to address the
problem of illegal immigration has brought this issue before
us,” said Williamson, R-Tulsa. “HB 1804 represents
our effort to deal with the areas we can through legislation
at the state level.”
The bill would prevent illegal immigrants from taking advantage
of taxpayer funded services except in cases such as a medical
emergency or natural disaster. The legislation also includes
language that mirrors federal law on transporting or hiding
illegal immigrants. That language would give state law enforcement
the authority to take action in such cases.
Williamson said the bill addresses another area of concern for
Oklahomans—protecting the jobs of American citizens.
“Under this bill, if an employer releases 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,” Williamson said. “In addition,
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. Businesses
acting in good faith to verify status would be protected against
Children of immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for at least
two years and graduated from an Oklahoma high school would still
be eligible for in-state college tuition under the legislation,
but the bill includes provisions to ensure those students are
taking steps to become citizens. Students currently in college
would not fall under the new provisions.
Williamson said the legislation now goes back to the House for
consideration of Senate amendments.
“I believe this is a fair, even-handed approach to problems
Oklahoma is facing as a result of illegal immigration,”
Williamson said. “It is my sincere hope that when this
reaches Governor Henry’s desk, he will sign HB 1804 into
For more information contact:
Senator Williamson's Office: (405) 521-5624