Stitt signs controversial Oklahoma immigration bill

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Immigrants line up at a remote U.S. Border Patrol processing center after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in December 2023 in Lukeville, Arizona. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) (This image cannot be republished unless you have a Getty subscription.)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday signed a controversial immigration bill that is expected to draw a legal challenge.

House Bill 4156 would create a new crime called “impermissible occupation” for willfully entering the state without legal authorization to be in the United States.

The first offense is a misdemeanor punishable by one year in county jail and a fine of up to $500 or both. The person would be required to leave the state within 72 hours.

A second offense is a felony with up to two years in prison, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.

House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, and Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, are the authors.

Stitt said he was disappointed the bill was necessary.

Countless individuals from across the globe have illegally crossed the border, Stitt said.

“My sole aim is to protect four million Oklahomans, regardless of race, ethnicity, or heritage,” Stitt said. “I love Oklahoma’s Hispanic community and I want to ensure that every law-abiding citizen has the opportunity to pursue the American dream.”

Stitt said the measure does not give law enforcement the power to do racial profiling.

Sen. Michael Brooks, D-Oklahoma City, said the law will result in a loss of revenue and workforce. 

It will also strain law enforcement and result in costly legal challenges, Brooks said.

The bill became effective when Stitt signed it.


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