Feds Face Off With State Over Migrant Bill

(RightWing.org) – The Biden administration’s battle against state immigration policies shows no signs of easing off. A federal judge has just blocked an Oklahoma law that would have made it illegal to be an illegal immigrant in the state.

On April 30, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (R) signed House Bill 4156 into law. The bill creates a new offense of “impermissible occupation” for anyone in Oklahoma who’s in the US illegally. For first offenders, it’s a misdemeanor that carries a possible sentence of a year in jail and a $500 fine. For subsequent offenses, those penalties are doubled and the crime becomes a felony. Anyone convicted under the law would have to leave Oklahoma within 72 hours of conviction or release from custody.

Oklahoma legislators say the law is needed to, among other things, tackle the state’s problem with marijuana-growing operations, many of which use illegal immigrant labor. Human rights activists object because the new offense would impact people who have been in the state illegally for years and have family members there.

Meanwhile, the federal government is arguing that it has exclusive responsibility for immigration policy and that states have no authority to legislate on illegal migrants. That’s the argument the Justice Department used when it filed a suit against Oklahoma in May, and it’s also the one US District Judge Bernard M Jones cited on June 28 when he granted a preliminary injunction blocking the law going into effect. Judge Jones acknowledged that Oklahoma has “understandable frustrations” with illegal immigration, but ruled that it couldn’t “pursue policies that undermine federal law.”

The Biden administration’s failure to deal with illegal immigration has certainly frustrated many states, and some of them are taking matters into their own hands. The Justice Department has also succeeded in blocking a similar bill in Arizona and is fighting an ongoing battle with Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) over his efforts to secure the border with Mexico.

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