DOJ SUES State for Anti-Immigration LAW

The state of Oklahoma was served with a lawsuit on Tuesday by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) for passing laws which impose criminal penalties for illegal immigration, according to the Associated Press (AP). The law in question, which recently came into force, makes it a crime to reside in Oklahoma if one is not a legal resident of the United States. Those convicted of violating the law face a maximum penalty of up to two years in prison.

The DOJ filed suit with the Federal Court in Oklahoma City, and is seeking to overturn the law. The legal move marks the latest chapter in an ongoing lawfare campaign by the DOJ to bring states to heel on the subject of immigration. Other recent actions by the department include similar suits against the states of Texas and Iowa.

The laws passed by Texas, Iowa, and Oklahoma are part of a growing trend among states to deliberately cordon themselves off from Federal authority. Republican-led states have instituted laws on topics ranging from weapons policy to immigration to traveling across state lines for abortions, while Democrat-led states have passed laws on immigration, transgender health services, and restricting interstate commerce for companies doing business within their borders.

Brian M. Boynton, the United States’s Deputy Assistant Attorney General and the Principal on the case stated that the DOJ’s lawsuit is attempting to enforce the constitutional provisions that give authority over immigration to the Federal government. Congress, he said, has already passed a framework of immigration laws. The DOJ sees these moves by the states as inappropriate and unconstitutional.

Oklahoma, Boynton said, cannot simply throw off Supreme Court precedent and disregard the United States Constitution. It is the DOJ’s job to ensure that the states adhere to the existing constitutional and legal framework.

Oklahoma’s Republican governor Kevin Stitt argued in defense of the law, saying that it was a necessary corrective to what he sees as the Biden administration’s dereliction of duty on border security issues.