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To support state immigration enforcement

Every state in the Union faces the threat to public safety posed by the Biden administration’s total inability to secure the border. Even so-called “sanctuary cities” have been overrun and overwhelmed, with their elected leaders calling for action and reform. New York Mayor Eric Adams said the crushing of illegal immigrants “will destroy New York City.”

If that’s how the Democratic mayor of America’s largest city feels, imagine the chaos in the state of Texas — ground zero for border states. Their lawmakers took decisive action to address the crisis and introduced Senate Bill 4.

This new law authorizes Texas law enforcement agencies to arrest illegal immigrants and take appropriate action to protect their citizens. The logic is simple and unmistakable: If the federal government refuses to enforce Congress’s immigration laws, Texas will enforce Texas’s immigration laws.

I am currently working with attorneys general from across the country to help defend Texas law against a lawsuit against the Biden administration. Additionally, I have called on legislative leaders here in Oklahoma to pass a similar law so that we can arrest illegal immigrants involved in the commission or furtherance of a crime. I am proud that they responded by introducing House Bill 4156, which criminalizes the “inadmissible occupation” of our state.

In other words, if an alien does not have legal permission to stay in the country, the new law would make it a crime for him or her to be present in the state of Oklahoma, allowing my agents to arrest those who promote illegal drug organizations and activities.

This authority would provide a powerful new tool for law enforcement to protect our communities from the massive criminal element of illegal aliens that has invaded Oklahoma. A direct example: my Organized Crime Task Force would be significantly more effective.

One of the most dangerous consequences of a porous national border that has hit Oklahoma is an influx of organized crime. Mexican drug cartels and Chinese foreigners have set up numerous illegal marijuana farms in our state. These illegal facilities not only produce and distribute marijuana for the black market, many also engage in human trafficking, money laundering, and the distribution of deadly opioids such as fentanyl.

My Organized Crime Task Force routinely works with other state, federal, tribal, county and local law enforcement partners to drive illegal actors out of Oklahoma, but the saturation of cartels is so out of control that we need additional action to combat the problem. If legislative leaders are successful in passing HB 4156, my agents on the Organized Crime Task Force will be given enormous powers.

It is important to understand that HB 4156 is necessary to address foreign nationals who commit crimes while in our country illegally. It would not impact legal immigrants who follow our laws and enrich communities across Oklahoma. You’ll probably hear a lot of high-pitched squeals from liberals who favor open borders. I am confident that our legislature will value public safety over political correctness.

I will continue to do everything in my power to protect my fellow Oklahomans. Passing HB 4156 is a much-needed step in the right direction.