A four-year court battle between the State of Oklahoma and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ended this week when a federal judge approved an agreement between the parties that allows the state to implement certain provisions of its immigration-enforcement law but blocks implementation of other provisions.
Under the agreement signed by U.S. District Judge Robin Cauthron, Oklahoma can implement its law requiring public contractors to use the federal E-Verify system for checking the workplace eligibility of new hires. The agreement, however, blocks provisions of state law that: establish a cause of action against businesses that discharge an authorized worker while retaining an illegal alien; require independent contractors to verify the workplace eligibility of persons before hiring; and enable the state to withhold taxes for the work illegal aliens perform for independent contractors.
In a related statement, Okla. Attorney General Scott Pruitt said, “This joint motion puts into place what the circuit court and U.S. Supreme Court already had decided on these issues. We now can shift our focus to implementing and enforcing the law.”
The Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007 was considered one of the toughest immigration enforcement laws in the nation when enacted. The Chamber and other pro-business groups challenged the law in 2008. Judge Cauthron initially blocked a number of provisions in the law, but the State appealed her ruling to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The 10th Circuit upheld state contractor E-Verify requirements in 2010 but said the Chamber could challenge the cause of action, pre-hiring verification, and withholding provisions. This week’s agreement essentially accepts the Circuit Court’s ruling.
Read here for more information or read the agreement here.
Updated: Fri, Dec 21st 2012 @ 8:53am EST