Thursday, April 18, 2024

Another Oklahoma Update: "Occupation"

Oklahoma has been really interested in immigration this legislative session. (No one will admit it, but this state loves to copy Texas.) I already wrote about one bill to criminalize migration (I'm told this is dead) and one to regulate migration through financial choices (which seems to be chugging along).

Here's the latest: H.B. 4156.

The bill includes this statement of intent:

...the Legislature finds and declares that a crisis exists in Oklahoma. 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. This is particularly common in regard to illegal marijuana grow operations, which have exploded in number in recent years. Often, these persons are involved with organized crime such as drug cartels, they have no regard for Oklahoma’s laws or public safety,and they produce or are involved with fentanyl distribution, sex trafficking, and labor trafficking. Oklahoma agents and law enforcement partners have seized countless tons of dangerous drugs and arrested untold numbers of traffickers, many of whom entered without authorization through our southern border. This crisis of unauthorized entry and presence is endangering Oklahomans, devastating rural, urban, and suburban communities and is severely straining even the most diligent and well-resourced state and local governmental entities, civil and criminal. It is imperative that the Legislature take steps to abate the crisis.

Here is the substance:

A person commits an impermissible occupation if the person is an alien and willfully and without permission enters and remains in the State of Oklahoma without having first obtained legal authorization to enter the United States.

This will be a misdemeanor offense. And, check this out: the convicted noncitizen "shall be required to leave the state within seventy-two (72) hours following his or her conviction or release from custody, whichever comes later."

There is also a felony provision for any noncitizen "denied admission, excluded, deported, or removed, or has departed the United States while an order of exclusion, deportation, or removal is outstanding, and thereafter enters, attempts to enter, or is at any time found in Oklahoma..."

In addition to these new criminal offenses, the bill has an interesting preemption paragraph designed to stamp out any sanctuary localities within the state:

The Legislature finds that the presence of persons who are unauthorized to be present within the State of Oklahoma is a matter of statewide concern. Therefore, the Legislature hereby occupies and preempts the entire field of legislation in this state regarding the presence of persons who have entered and remained in this state without first having obtained the legal authorization to do so. Any municipality or other political subdivision of this state shall be prohibited from adopting any ordinance, regulation, resolution, rule, or policy that conflicts with the provisions of this act.

The bill passed the OK House today on party lines: 77-20. It will now advance to the Senate where it's also expected to pass on party lines.

-KitJ

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/immigration/2024/04/another-oklahoma-update-occupation.html

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