Federal Court Temporarily Blocks Oklahoma’s Anti-Immigrant HB 4156

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2024 

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, NILC, 213-375-3149, [email protected]
Inga Sarda-Sorensen, ACLU National, 347-514-3984, [email protected]
Cassidy Fallik, ACLU of Oklahoma, 913-748-1278, [email protected] 

Federal Court Temporarily Blocks Oklahoma’s Anti-Immigrant HB 4156 

OKLAHOMA CITY — A federal court has temporarily blocked Oklahoma’s HB 4156, a harmful and far-reaching law that would have devastating consequences for Oklahoma’s immigrant communities and create a state system to regulate immigration that bypasses and conflicts with federal law. 

The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Oklahoma, National Immigration Law Center, and law firm Rivas & Associates filed a lawsuit in May on behalf of the Oklahoma-based organization Padres Unidos and several individual plaintiffs who live in Oklahoma. Under HB 4156, these individuals could be prosecuted, banished from the state, and separated from their families. 

HB 4156 conflicts with federal immigration law by usurping federal control over the immigration system, regulating people’s entry into the United States, and banishing people from Oklahoma who have a federal right to remain here. Under HB 4156, entire categories of immigrants would be barred from entering the state, or could be ordered to leave, even if they are pursuing asylum or other lawful immigration status. 

The law was set to take effect July 1, but the court issued a preliminary injunction today that puts the law on hold as the case is litigated. 

The following reactions are from:  

Noor Zafar, staff attorney, ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project: “This is a harmful law that threatened to tear apart Oklahoma families and communities, and the court was right to block it. This ruling is a victory.” 

Nicholas Espíritu, deputy legal director, National Immigration Law Center: “This decision is a victory and testament to the resilience of the Oklahoma immigrant community, who stood up against one of the most anti-immigrant laws ever passed in the state. The federal courts have been clear that HB 4156, like similar laws in Texas and Iowa, is unconstitutional. Moreover, it would harm all Oklahomans. We are relieved with this decision to block its implementation and will continue fighting for all immigrant communities that call Oklahoma home.” 

Tamya Cox-Toure, executive director, ACLU of Oklahoma: “The court’s instruction to the State of Oklahoma is clear — it may not enforce HB 4156 while our litigation proceeds. We are grateful for the relief this provides to Oklahoma families while we continue to fight for rights and safety of Oklahoma’s immigrant communities.” 

Lorena Rivas, attorney, Rivas & Associates: “While we understand this is not a final ruling, this initial block fortifies our argument that this law is unconstitutional and for pure political purposes. We thank the court for providing some peace to our clients and other immigrants in our communities.” 

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. 

The ruling is here.  

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