Drew Edmondson (D)

OKLAHOMA CITY (Legal Newsline)-Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson has asked a federal appeals court to allow the state's anti-illegal immigration law to be enforced.

In papers filed with the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Democratic attorney general is asking that the state be allowed to enforce a new state law that requires employers to verify the immigration status of their employees and contractors or subcontractors.

The provision was set to go into effect July 1. The Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007 is outlined in Oklahoma House Bill 1804.

"The Oklahoma Legislature had the authority to enact a statute which protects the taxpayers and legal residents of the State of Oklahoma from suffering the adverse effects of illegal aliens," Edmondson said in a court filing. "While HB 1804 is enjoined, the state cannot protect its legal workers."

But U.S. District Chief Judge Robin Cauthron of the Western District of Oklahoma said the law's employer provisions are unconstitutional because they subject employers to penalties for not using a federal online verification system to determine workers' legal status.

The Oklahoma law requires that businesses that have state contracts withhold income taxes of contractors and subcontractors if they do not use the federal verification system.

In court papers, business groups critical of the law argued the state law conflicts with federal law that makes participation in the worker verification system purely voluntary.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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