Oklahoma Becomes Latest State To Give Police Authority To Arrest Illegal Immigrants
Kevin Stitt, governor of Oklahoma, speaks during the SelectUSA Investment Summit in National Harbor, Maryland, US, on Wednesday, May 3, 2023. The summit is to establish new connections and opportunities to grow through investing in the US, according to the organizers.
Credit: Photographer: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

Oklahoma Republican Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill on Tuesday that makes illegal immigration a state crime punishable by fine and imprisonment. 

The legislation permits Oklahoma 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. 

“I am disappointed this bill is necessary. Since President Biden took office in 2021, more than 10 million people have poured over the southern border,” Stitt said. “Countless individuals from across the globe, including thousands of Chinese nationals as well as people affiliated with terror organizations, have illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border.”

The legislation, HB 4516, is set to go into effect on July 1. The measure was passed 39-8 in the Senate and 77-20 in the House.

Similar laws have been passed in other Republican-led states like Iowa and Texas but have faced court challenges. Texas’s law is currently on hold while a federal appeals court considers a challenge to it. 

The text of the bill said that it was necessary in part due to the influx of Chinese-backed marijuana farms that have cropped up across the state. 

“Throughout the state, law enforcement comes into daily and increasingly frequent contact with foreign nationals who entered the country illegally or who remain here illegally,” the bill says. “This is particularly common in regard to illegal marijuana grow operations, which have exploded in number in recent years.”


State Attorney General Gentner Drummond said he was grateful that the measure was passed, saying it would aid law enforcement.

“Oklahoma has reaped the consequences of the Biden Administration’s utter failure to secure our nation’s border, as evidenced by the flood of illegal marijuana grows and other criminal activity connected to Chinese syndicates and Mexican cartels,” he said

In his statement announcing his signing of the bill, Stitt said he would create a work permit and visa task force “to find ways to bolster our workforce” to help “those who are here contributing to our communities and economy.” According to the governor, the task force will make recommendations to the governor and state legislature about making it easy for immigrants to work and find jobs in Oklahoma. 

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Oklahoma Becomes Latest State To Give Police Authority To Arrest Illegal Immigrants