Oklahoma Companies Confused Over H.B. 1804 - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Oklahoma Companies Confused Over H.B. 1804

The attorney general's office filed a motion Monday to dismiss a lawsuit challenging House Bill 1804, which goes into effect on Thursday, November 1. The law bars illegal immigrants from getting jobs and state benefits and makes it a felony to harbor or transport illegal immigrants. While the new law has received a great deal of attention, there is still some confusion over what effect it will have. The News On 6 has received several e-mails from private business owners, asking what they have to do this week to comply with the new law. The News On 6's Chris Wright reports the simple answer is nothing, for now.

"Well confusion is rampant for sure, people really don't understand the law," said Homebuilders Association President Glen Shaw.

As head of the Homebuilders Association, Glen Shaw has received plenty of calls from local contractors about House Bill 1804. He says many are not sure what changes, if any, they need to make before the November 1 deadline.

"Technically it won't have an effect on us this week, but it's had an effect on us for several months now," Shaw said.

The effect Shaw is referring to is the reported exodus of thousands of Hispanic laborers from the Tulsa area.

Technically, 1804 will not affect private contractors and other private businesses this week. Come Thursday, public companies will have to begin verifying the immigration of new employees. They are required to do so using the Department of Homeland Security's E-verify System.

Private companies will have to follow suit, but they have a later deadline, July 1, 2008. They will have the option of using E-verify, Social Security number verification system, or of running a criminal background check.

"It also is the easiest way to avoid any financial or legal consequences should an illegal alien slip through the system and end up on someone's payroll," Representative Randy Terrill said.

Representative Terrill, who wrote the new law, and urged his fellow lawmakers to approve it earlier this year, says 1804's deadlines are clear-cut. He also says the law is not as confusing as some people think.

"I'm convinced that it's a very common sense approach to something that's been portrayed as being a fairly complex problems, when in fact it's not," said Terrill.

The exception to the deadlines are private companies who have contracts with the government. Starting Thursday, they must also begin verifying the status of new employees.

For the most comprehensive coverage of House Bill 1804, click here.

Originally aired 10/30/2007 9:25 PM - Updated 10/31/2007 8:01 AM

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