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U.S. government suing Oklahoma over immigration law

Posted at 4:16 PM, May 21, 2024

TULSA, Okla. — The United States Department of Justice is suing the state of Oklahoma over an immigration law.

In August 2024, Governor Kevin Stitt signed House Bill 4156 into law. The bill gives authorities the ability to incarcerate someone in the state based on their undocumented status if suspected of a crime.

2 News talked to rights groups that opposed the bill.

Rights groups urge Gov. Stitt not to sign immigration bill

The DOJ is challenging the law citing the U.S. Constitution's Supremacy Clause and Foreign Commerce Clause.

“Oklahoma cannot disregard the U.S. Constitution and settled Supreme Court precedent,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “We have brought this action to ensure that Oklahoma adheres to the Constitution and the framework adopted by Congress for regulation of immigration.”

The suit was filed on behalf of the United States, including the Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security and Department of State.

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond is defending the bill.

"This is a law and order issue. I am the chief law officer for the state of Oklahoma. I need a tool to combat illegal operations in the state of Oklahoma," he said.

Staff at the YWCA Tulsa is concerned about what the law could mean for immigrant families.

"The idea of tearing families apart, of forcing children into a foster care system, of children being able to be prosecuted under this bill," said Alex Gavern, Director of Legal Services. "There's a lot of fear."

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