HB1804, the Citizens and Taxpayers Protection Act, dealing with clamping down on illegal immigration was signed into law by Governor Henry on May 8th.

This legislation is a product of several years' consultation with state legislators from both parties. It is an important step for the IRLI strategy on incremental state-by-state reform. IRLI provides technical assistance to legislators based on successful measures from other jurisdictions.

HB 1804 is tough on employers violating the law and prevents illegal aliens from obtaining drivers license and benefits, while still protecting the privileges and immunities of U.S. citizens and respecting constitutional rights for all persons. HB 1804 includes a mix of criminal, fiscal and anti-fraud provisions that collectively restrict the ability of illegal aliens to unlawfully work and reside within the state.

The Statement of Legislative Intent (Section 2) declares the states compelling interest in immigration law compliance, finding that illegal immigration causes economic hardship and lawless and has been improperly encouraged by public agencies within the state.

Section 3 replicates the federal provision that makes it a felony punishable by imprisonment for not less than 1 year or a fine of $1000.00, for any person to transport, harbor, or shelter an alien in reckless disregard for their illegal immigration status. State and local prosecutors now have the tools to stop illegal aliens from "residing" in Oklahoma, or traveling instate in search of unlawful employment.

Section 4 restricts issuance of most official identification documents to U.S. citizens, legal permanent resident aliens or holders of valid unexpired visas. Illegal aliens cannot operate in-state if they lack official documentation. Use of foreign consular cards issued to illegal aliens has been prohibited.

Section 5 requires police to verify the immigration status of persons who have been arrested and detained at a local jail for felony crimes, and report all illegal aliens to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Section 7 requires all public employers to use the Basic Pilot electronic work authorization verification program. State and local public contractors are prohibited from commencing work on a taxpayer-funded contract before they register with the Basic Pilot Program.

Section 8 requires every public agency to verify the lawful presence of aliens aged 14 years or older who applies for state or local public benefits, using the online SAVE system, as authorized by the 1996 Welfare Reform Act. Standard federal exceptions for emergency health care treatment or other public health services apply. This measure builds on similar provisions developed by IRLI that have been successfully adopted by Virginia, Colorado, and Georgia.

Section 9 provides that employers shall withhold state income tax for independent contractors who failed to provide a Social Security number. Reduces the incentive to hire illegal aliens as cheap day laborers and "contractors," and helps safeguard workers compensation and other labor law protections against abuse.

Section 10 directs the Oklahoma Attorney General to negotiate a "287(g)" cooperative agreement between the State of Oklahoma and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to increase state and local police joint enforcement of federal immigration law with DHS. 287(g) agreements help insure that illegal aliens discovered by Oklahoma police officers are quickly and safely transferred into federal custody. Helps fight "catch and release" abuses that allow criminal aliens back into the neighborhoods where they were arrested.