Donate Now: Aid to Latino Families of Baltimore Bridge Tragedy Donate Here
* 100% of the proceeds will go directly to the families impacted by the devastating Baltimore bridge collapse.

LULAC DENOUNCES OKLAHOMA'S ANTI-IMMIGRANT AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL HB4156

Washington, DC - The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) strongly condemns Oklahoma's HB 4156 and its supporters, who are prioritizing political expediency over the well-being of vulnerable migrant populations, particularly innocent children and victims of despicable human trafficking.

Cristian Zapata, President of LULAC OKC #19002

"HB4156 represents an escalation of discriminatory rhetoric and fear-mongering policies that fail to provide reasonable solutions to issues of immigration. Instead, this bill increases the risk of racial profiling, perpetuates fear and anxiety within the community, and threatens to marginalize our Hispanic community further."

Nicole Maldonado Vice-President of LULAC OKC #19002

"HB 4156 is a cruel bill that fails to address the immigration issue. Instead, it will increase racial profiling, create a chilling effect, and bring anxiety and fear to our communities. The language of this bill is overly vague and open to interpretation. It is clear this bill was introduced during an election year, as Republicans often exploit the immigrant community for political gain. Immigrant rights are human rights; we deserve respect and dignity. We come to this country for better opportunities and contribute in countless ways to our society. Immigrants make Oklahoma better."

HB4156 hurts Oklahomans in several ways:

Fueling Profiling and Community Division: HB 4156 introduces the offense of impermissible occupation, allowing individuals to report their neighbors for suspected illegal presence based on alleged statements. This provision grants law enforcement the power to apprehend and detain these individuals until they can prove their legal right to reside in the country. However, this opens the door to racial profiling, increasing the likelihood of unjust targeting of specific communities based on ethnicity or appearance. Apart from exacerbating tensions within communities, such profiling raises serious legal and ethical concerns, potentially leading to legal challenges and erosion of trust in law enforcement.

Unclear Enforcement Guidelines for Minors: HB 4156 lacks adequate protections for minors and remains ambiguous in its treatment of both minors and adults. This ambiguity has left many parents concerned about sending their children to school, fearing they could be mistaken for adults and face arrest.

Human Trafficking Victims and Survivors of Domestic Violence: Under HB4156, human trafficking victims and survivors of domestic violence are at risk of arrest and detention in county jails, undermining their safety and the presumption of innocence. This measure may deter crime victims from seeking help and simultaneously strain law enforcement resources by increasing responsibilities without providing allocated funding or resources.

Constitutional Violations by H.B. 4156 on Immigration Enforcement: H.B. 4156 represents yet another effort by a state to overstep federal jurisdiction on immigration enforcement, directly contravening the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution and established case law. Just as Texas's contentious SB4, which introduced new state offenses, faced legal challenges, H.B. 4156 may encounter similar scrutiny on constitutional grounds.

Pending U.S. Court of Appeals Decision on a Similar Bill: The implementation of Texas's S.B.4, slated for early March this year, has faced delays due to conflicting court rulings, resulting in a temporary block. Despite efforts by the U.S. Justice Department and advocate groups, the law remains in limbo. While the U.S. Supreme Court deferred involvement until the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals deliberates on its constitutionality, a final ruling is pending. This bill proposes a new state crime, "impermissible occupation," targeting undocumented individuals with fines and jail time, similar to laws in Texas, Florida, and Iowa, sparking debate on immigration enforcement's legality and impact.

Economic Impact: Immigrants, representing 7% of Oklahoma's labor force, play vital roles in agriculture, construction, and hospitality. They bring Oklahoma produce and meats to our tables and staff restaurants, and contribute to home construction and repair. Despite 33,000 undocumented immigrants paying roughly $26 million annually in state income tax, HB 4156 exacerbates our existing workforce shortage, leading to substantial tax revenue losses. Moreover, the bill risks driving away workers and consumers, impacting local economies and fostering an unwelcoming atmosphere regardless of immigration status.

Economic and Cultural Contributions of Immigrants: Immigrants are not adversaries to the state of Oklahoma; instead, they are indispensable pillars of its economic vitality. According to a 2021 study by the American Immigration Council, the nearly 70,000 undocumented immigrants in Oklahoma inject over $5.5 billion into the economy and contribute more than $1.7 billion in tax revenue. These figures underscore the significant impact of the over 200,000 immigrants residing in Oklahoma, many enterprising entrepreneurs, stalwart business owners, and vigorous community advocates. Furthermore, it's imperative to recognize that over 40% of Oklahoma City residents are non-white, vividly illustrating the profound diversity and cultural richness immigrants bring to the state's tapestry.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding enforcement has created widespread confusion and fear within the immigrant community across the U.S., leaving individuals anxious about the implementation of the law. Recognizing the need for clarity, LULAC has developed a "Know Your Rights" handout to inform individuals about their legal and civil rights, which will be published soon.

LULAC recognizes the unfortunate significance of Oklahoma's HB4156 and its potential to establish a precedent for adoption in other states. Therefore, LULAC reaffirms its unwavering commitment to opposing this unjust bill and supporting the U.S. Justice Department. We will vigilantly monitor legal developments and steadfastly advocate for the civil rights of Latinos, regardless of immigration status, in Oklahoma and throughout the nation.

Donate

###

About LULAC

The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest Hispanic civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 535 Councils and 145,000 members across the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services, and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting the critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit https://lulac.org/