The DOJ Sues Red State Over Law That Would Put Illegal Aliens in Prison

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is suing Oklahoma for imposing criminal penalties against illegal immigrants.

The DOJ sued Oklahoma to invalidate new legislation that makes remaining in the state without lawful immigration status a crime. The action, filed in Oklahoma City’s federal court, is part of the DOJ’s larger attempt to challenge similar immigration legislation in Texas and Iowa. The recently approved Oklahoma law mandates a two-year prison sentence for illegally residing in the state.

The new legislation is part of a growing trend in Republican-controlled states to enforce immigration laws on their own.

According to a statement from U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, the government action seeks to protect constitutional principles and the immigration system established by Congress.

“Oklahoma cannot disregard the U.S. Constitution and settled Supreme Court precedent,” Boynton said. “We have brought this action to ensure that Oklahoma adheres to the Constitution and the framework adopted by Congress for regulation of immigration.”

Republican Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt defended the law, arguing it was essential due to the Biden administration’s inadequate border security measures.

“Not only that, but they stand in the way of states trying to protect their citizens,” Stitt said in a statement.

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond has contested the Justice Department’s preemption allegations, claiming the state’s power to enact legislation to address public problems within its borders.

“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 said in a letter to the DOJ. “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.”

By Melinda Davies
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