OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Immigration legislation that would bar illegal immigrants from jobs and public benefits is overwhelmingly approved by the Oklahoma Senate Monday. Opponents described it as a mean-spirited measure that will cost the state more than it will save.
The measure passed 41-6 after supporters said state taxpayers are clamoring for action because of the federal government's failure to act.
The bill's Senate sponsor, Republican Jim Williamson of Tulsa, says an estimated 3-million illegal immigrants flow across the border into the U.S. each year.
The measure is described as the toughest state immigration bill in the nation. It now goes back to the House for consideration of Senate amendments.
Its House author, Republican Representative Randy Terrill of Moore, says he plans to accept those amendments.
An earlier version of the bill passed the House in a bipartisan 88-9 vote last month.
Terrill says that among other things, the measure targets employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens in order to gain a competitive advantage.
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