Racism was part of the motive of the author of Oklahoma's anti-illegal immigration law, formerly House Bill 1804, according to an Oklahoma state senator.
Sen. Harry Coates, R-Seminole, said Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore, wrote the law for reasons that aren't "in the best interests of the state of Oklahoma," he said at a Thursday press conference.
"Representative Terrill has two motives that are not totally pure. I think it's getting attention, and I think there is an element of racism," Coates said.
In announcing a bill Thursday that would repeal elements of Terrill's law, Coates said he thought Terrill's stance against prenatal care for pregnant illegal immigrants - and citizenship for those children - are racist at heart and damage Oklahoma's credibility to the outside world.
"You know, when you say that mothers who have dark skin should not receive prenatal care, well, I find that to be racist," he said. "I really do. I know he is targeting primarily the Hispanic community. I think the man has some racist ideas. Maybe we can change his mind."
Terrill did not respond to requests for comment.
Coates filed Senate Bill 1143, which he said would repeal parts of Terrill's law making it a felony to help or transport people who are illegal immigrants. It also would provide for prenatal care for mothers who are illegal immigrants, and rescind requirements for employers to verify legal status of potential employees. -Ben Fenwick
Additional Terrill coverage:
Terrill cites law's victory as Hispanics flee state
State rep denies knowledge of organization's financial ties to alleged hate group
Organization funded by alleged hate group helped write Oklahoma's illegal immigration law