‘A LOT OF MISINFORMATION:’ GOVERNOR KEVIN STITT AIMS TO CLEAR CONFUSION ON NEW IMMIGRATION LAW

News 6 - May 4, 2024 4:04 pm

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Governor Kevin Stitt said that he wants to clear up some confusion and misinformation around the new immigration law.

The law, signed by Gov. Stitt this week, will criminalize illegal immigration, and require anybody caught in the state illegally to leave within 72 hours.

“I want the Hispanic community to know that they’re such a great part of our state, huge contributors,” said Gov. Stitt.

News 9 sat down with the governor for an exclusive interview on the new law.

“When this bill hit my desk from the legislature, man I was really conflicted because there’s a lot of misinformation,” said Gov. Stitt. “It kind of broke my heart the fear that I’m hearing from people in the Hispanic community.”

The highly debated House Bill 4156, was fast-tracked to the governor’s desk. Concerns from democratic lawmakers, immigration attorneys, and members of the Hispanic community in Oklahoma, have voiced their concerns with the new law.

One of the main concerns came from an immigration attorney News 9 spoke with, was how this law would be enforced on a day-to-day basis.

“There’s a lot of confusion of people saying well they’re just going to round up, go door-to-door search and frisk,” said Gov. Stitt.

The governor says he’s working closely with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, and law enforcement across the state, to ensure there is a clear understanding of the law.

“They said in practicality, nothing is going to change,” said Gov. Stitt. “They don’t have time to go door to door, they’re not going to do that.”

Gov. Stitt said that he’s hoping to calm some of those concerns with a new task force he created when signing the law.

The governor and lawmakers say this will only impact illegal immigrants who are already arrested, or being investigated for another crime.

“If you’ve got asylum, if you have a green card, if you have a visa, that’s no problem at all,” said Gov. Stitt.

Gov. Stitt announced the Oklahoma State Work Permits and Visas (OSWPV) Task Force “to find ways to bolster our workforce and create opportunities for those who are here contributing to our communities and economy.”

The governor says they are still in the early stages of this group and are still working out the logistics, but says the main goal will be to find ways to ensure legal immigrants, or people working on their legal status, can still come to or stay in Oklahoma.

“They’re going to be studying how can we issue maybe a state-issued ID, how could we do a workforce permit because if you’re chasing the American dream and you want to be an Oklahoman an American, you want to pay taxes and work hard, we want you here said Gov. Stitt.

Gov. Stitt said that his main goal is to ensure every law-abiding citizen still has the chance to move to the state if they choose to.

“If you’re chasing the American dream. and working hard and raising your family, this is who we want in Oklahoma,” said Gov. Stitt.

The law is expected to go into effect on July 1, but lawmakers have said they do expect this to be tried in court.

 

 

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