DOJ sues Oklahoma over illegal immigration law


(The Center Square) – The U.S. Department of Justice followed through with its threat to sue Oklahoma over its illegal immigration law in the U.S. District Court for Western Oklahoma on Wednesday.

The Oklahoma Legislature passed a bill that would make “impermissible occupation” a state crime, allowing the state’s law enforcement officers to arrest people found to be in the country illegally.

DOJ officials said enforcement of illegal immigration falls under the federal government’s jurisdiction.

“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.”

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond said Monday he planned to defend the lawsuit.

“Oklahoma is exercising its concurrent and complementary power as a sovereign state to address an ongoing public crisis within its borders through appropriate legislation,” Drummond wrote in a letter to Boynton after he threatened to sue the state. “Put more bluntly, Oklahoma is cleaning up the Biden Administration’s mess through entirely legal means in its own backyard – and will resolutely continue to do so by supplementing federal prohibitions with robust state penalties.”

Sen. Michael Brooks, D-Oklahoma City, chair of the Oklahoma Legislative Latino Caucus, said he expects the DOJ will prevent the law from taking effect on July 1.

“We are grateful to the Department of Justice and feel the filing of this complaint confirms our position that this law is unconstitutional and would be a violation of the rights of men, women, and children throughout our entire state,” he said.

Oklahoma is the third state the DOJ has sued over immigration laws. Iowa was sued earlier this month over a similar law. A federal court is deciding whether an illegal immigration law in Texas should take effect.

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