Court Delays Enforcement of HB 1804

A U.S. District Court judge postponed enforcement of employer-related portions of an Oklahoma immigration law because it is “substantially likely” that the provisions of the law unconstitutionally interfere with federal regulation of the employment of unauthorized workers.

Joining as co-plaintiffs are The State Chamber of Oklahoma, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, Tulsa Metro Chamber, Oklahoma Restaurant Association and Oklahoma Hotel and Lodging Association.

A final judgment in Chamber of Commerce of the United States et al. v. Henry is still pending.

The Oklahoma law requires employers doing business with the state to use the “Basic Pilot Program” (also known as “E-Verify”), the federal government’s voluntary and error riddled experimental program for electronically verifying work eligibility.

The court’s decision to issue a preliminary injunction was based on its finding that it is “substantially likely” that the state law unconstitutionally imposes civil sanctions on employers who fail to comply. The Oklahoma law’s sanctions include increased tax rates, the loss of contracts, and exposure to litigation if an employer “should have known” that an employee was unauthorized to work.

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