Monday 1 July 2024

Judge Blocks Oklahoma Bill Cracking Down On Illegal Immigration After Lawsuit From Biden Admin

 A federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked an Oklahoma law making illegal immigration a state crime after the state was sued by the Biden administration.

In his decision, U.S. District Judge Bernard M. Jones said that Oklahoma’s law giving state law enforcement more power to counteract illegal immigration appeared to conflict with federal law, issuing a temporary injunction against the law. Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond said that he would appeal the decision.

“While today’s court ruling is disappointing, I will not stop fighting for Oklahoma and our right to protect our borders. The Biden Administration’s complete failure to enforce federal immigration laws made House Bill 4156 a necessity,” he said. “We intend to appeal today’s decision and defend one of the most powerful tools we have to fight the criminal activity largely being fueled by illegal aliens in Oklahoma.”

Oklahoma’s legislation permits state law enforcement to arrest people for entering the United States illegally. If convicted, the illegal immigrant would be guilty of “impermissible occupation” and could be punished with up to a year in jail and a $500 fine. The person would also be required to leave the state within 72 hours “following his or her conviction or release from custody, whichever comes later.” A second offense, upgraded to a felony, would allow the illegal immigrant to be held for two years behind bars and fined up to $1,000. Again, the person would be required to leave the state within 72 hours of being convicted or completing a prison sentence.

The legislation was set to go into effect on July 1. The measure was passed 39-8 in the Senate and 77-20 in the House early this year.

After the law was enacted, the state was sued by the Justice Department, which claimed that the law was unconstitutional.


“While this Court may very well be sympathetic to the concerns raised by Oklahoma, such concerns should not — and, indeed, cannot — be allowed to undermine the long-standing, comprehensive federal framework that defines immigration policy. Sensitive matters of immigration policy ‘must be made with one voice,’” Jones wrote. “And for better or for worse, that voice belongs not to one individual state, but to the United States.”

Oklahoma was one of multiple states, including Texas and Iowa, that have passed legislation to give law enforcement more tools to push back against the surge of illegal immigrants who have entered the country under President Joe Biden.

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