Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: February 15, 2011

Measure targeting birthright citizenship clears Senate Judiciary Committee

A measure that would redefine criteria for state citizenship won approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

“We’re trying to remedy what we consider to be an incorrect interpretation of citizenship requirements by the federal government,” said Sen. Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City. “We cannot change the federal government’s definition of citizenship, but we can change the criteria for state citizenship. We want to urge Congress to reconsider birthright citizenship, while discouraging illegal immigrants from coming to Oklahoma.”

Senate Bill 898 would require that state citizens be born in the United States; be a resident of the state of Oklahoma; be the child of at least one parent who owes no allegiance to any foreign sovereignty, or be a child without citizenship or nationality in any foreign country.

Shortey said the denial of Oklahoma citizenship would prohibit illegal immigrants from owning property.

“This would not deny children access to health care or education – these provisions have been spelled out in federal statutes and court rulings,” said Shortey. “What we can deny is property ownership. Denying that important privilege of citizenship to those who are not citizens would provide a strong deterrent to illegal immigrants.”

House co-author Randy Terrill called birthright citizenship one of the strongest incentives for illegal immigrants.

“Along with jobs and government benefits, birthright citizenship is an incentive for illegal immigrants,” said Terrill, R-Moore. “I applaud Sen. Shortey for his efforts to remove that incentive.”

For more information contact:
Sen. Shortey: (405) 521-5557