Oklahoma’s Tough Anti-Illegal Immigration Law Survives Supreme Court Scrutiny

Oklahoma’s sweeping immigration law, HB-1804,  passed constitutional muster by the Oklahoma Supreme Court.  The Court, 8-1, rejected claims that the law overstepped Federal Jurisdiction and wrongfully wasted tax payers hard earned money.

State and local officers of the law, including judges, teachers, and all state employees were authorized and ordered to enforce federal immigration laws.  Employers were required to verify the immigration status of workers by referring to a federal data base.

Governor Brad Henry signed HB-1804 into law in 2007 and the law generated immediate controversy.  For its time, the HB-1804 was the toughest anti-illegal immigration law in the country.  According to the Supreme Court: “HB 1804 mandates compliance with federal immigration laws and it seeks to establish cooperation with the federal government.  States are permitted to enforce immigration laws.”  The author of HB-1804, Randy Terrell, R-Moore, said that the law would prevent illegal immigrants from getting state-issued identification cards and driver’s licenses as well as access to most public services.

The federal courts were not amused by HB 1804 and early on blocked enforcement of two sections of the law.  According the the Federal Judge, blocking complete application of HB-1804, Federal Law preempted enforcement of two sections of HB1804.  The blocked sections required state income tax to be withheld at the top marginal rate if the contractor failed to proved verification of the contractor’s employment authorization.  The other blocked provision created a discriminatory employment practice for an employer to discharge a U.S. citizen or permanent resident while retaining an unauthorized immigrant in the same job category.  Tsk, tsk, tsk…

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