Oklahoma Legislative Latino Caucus urges veto of HB 4156

Friday, 26 April 2024 06:52

Oklahoma Legislative Latino Caucus urges veto of HB 4156 Featured

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Members of the Oklahoma Legislative Latino Caucus recognize the crisis at the U.S. southern border, and the challenges with the nation’s immigration system, but they have serious concerns about the constitutionality and unintended consequences of House Bill 4156. They have called on the governor to veto the measure.

Sen. Michael Brooks is chair of the caucus and said while their members have offered solutions and invitations to address these problems with common sense policy, they’ve been rejected.

“The opportunity to create thoughtful policy is at our doorstep, but instead, the Legislature passed this expensive bill that only criminalizes hard-working families and will inevitably do nothing to address the issue of illegal immigration,” said Brooks, D-Oklahoma City. “This bill puts our state at risk of losing revenue and skilled labor, and we are urging the governor to stop this.”

Rep. Annie Menz, D-Norman, noted that while immigration has traditionally been a federal issue, because of failed bipartisan attempts at the federal level to address the problem, many states have taken matters into their own hands.

“Nobody is denying that we have a problem. We all want fair and comprehensive immigration reform, and until the federal government acts, it is up to Oklahoma to find real solutions—but this legislation misses the point entirely,” Menz said. “If this becomes law, HB 4156 will be challenged in court, and we will all have to foot the bill for that. It also puts more on the shoulders of our law enforcement without providing tools and resources. We are prayerful that the governor considers these facts and vetoes this measure.”

Caucus members in both chambers offered amendments to HB 4156 in an effort to address numerous concerns about the vague language and those of various law enforcement entities about public safety risks.

“We attempted to amend this bill numerous times,” said Rep. Arturo Alonso-Sandoval, D-Oklahoma City. “Part of our job as legislators is to protect our communities and place people over politics. We need thoughtful, comprehensive immigration policy, but this bill is not the answer.”

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