Oklahoma's immigration law halted; AG Drummond says he will appeal

The United States Department of Justice, Padres Unidos de Tulsa and several individuals sued to stop the law.

Published: June 28, 2024 11:02pm

(The Center Square) -

(The Center Square) - A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction of Oklahoma's immigration law on Friday, setting up an appeal from Attorney General Gentner Drummond.

The Oklahoma Legislature passed a bill that would make "impermissible occupation" a state crime, allowing state law enforcement officers to arrest people found to be in the country illegally. Gov. Kevin Stitt signed the bill into law, which would have gone into effect Monday.

The United States Department of Justice, Padres Unidos de Tulsa and several individuals sued to stop the law.

U.S. District Judge Bernard M. Jones said in his order that Oklahoma “may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration . . . , but the State may not pursue policies that undermine federal law," a referral to a 2012 Arizona case.

Drummond said he is appealing.

"While today’s court ruling is disappointing, I will not stop fighting for Oklahoma and our right to protect our borders," Drummond said. "The Biden Administration’s complete failure to enforce federal immigration laws made House Bill 4156 a necessity."

The House of Representatives Latino Caucus praised the decision and called the law "political theater."

“This bill was a clear political stunt meant to secure the primary elections of our Republican leaders and it wasn’t even successful,” said Rep. Annie Menz, D-Norman. “Instead, it targeted a large portion of Oklahoma, angered law enforcement officials, and attempted to bypass the constitution. An injunction is the obvious choice.”

The ruling is the third time a federal judge has stopped a state from creating its own immigration law. A federal court is deciding whether an illegal immigration law in Texas should take effect.

Earlier this month, a federal judge issued an injunction halting a similar law passed by the Iowa Legislature. Attorney General Breanna Bird is appealing the decision.

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