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Okla. Lawmaker Files Guest Worker Program Measure (Dec 06, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A Republican state lawmaker has filed legislation that would allow illegal immigrants to legally work in Oklahoma.

Sen. Harry Coates of Seminole filed the Oklahoma Guest Worker Program Act on Monday. Coates says the measure would stop immigrants from fleeing to Texas and other states and encourage them to return to Oklahoma and jobs that are chronically unfilled.

Coates says that since the passage of tough anti-illegal immigrant legislation in 2007, many illegal immigrants have moved to surrounding states where they pump millions of dollars into those economies.

Under the bill, people living in the country without legal permission could stay in Oklahoma if they purchase a guest worker permit for $2,000. They would have to find a sponsor to hire them and provide them with basic health insurance coverage.

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