ACLUs in Oklahoma Border States Issue Travel Advisory Warning of Potential Rights Violations

PC: Nick Youngson

By Emeline Crowder 

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) chapters of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, San Diego and Imperial Counties, Colorado, Missouri, Arkansas, and Kansas have all issued an advisory warning to residents about the “threat of civil and constitutional rights violations when traveling in the state of Oklahoma.”

The ACLU said the issuance of these warnings came “after the passage of an extreme anti-immigrant law.”

The law in question is HB 4156, which the ACLU claims “makes entering and remaining in Oklahoma a crime if a person entered the United States unlawfully. It would also make reentering Oklahoma after being ordered from the U.S. a crime.”

The ACLU statement added this law “will pose a risk to any person while in Oklahoma,” asserting everyone, travelers and Oklahoma residents alike, are at risk of being arrested or imprisoned.

The implementation of the law “also raises the possibility of racial profiling by law enforcement officers who are untrained in complex federal immigration law,” explained the ACLU statement.

According to ACLU of New Mexico Border and Immigration Policy Advocate Leonardo Castañeda, “HB 4156 is an attack on immigrants everywhere. By taking on unconstitutional immigration enforcement power, the government in Oklahoma is threatening immigrants who have lived and worked in their communities for decades.”

Castañeda added, “States surrounding Oklahoma, as well as across the border, are issuing this advisory as both a warning to our residents and in solidarity with Oklahomans who believe in treating immigrants humanely, not as political pawns.”

This law has impacted many residents who live in states bordering Oklahoma because they have “family and loved ones who may be at risk,” the ACLU noted, highlighting “the solidarity of communities surrounding Oklahoma against punitive and counterproductive policies that harm our immigrant communities.”

If stopped by police in Oklahoma, the ACLU encouraged people to remain calm and to “exercise their right to immediately ask for an attorney and otherwise remain silent.” The statement includes more information outlined in the travel advisory.

About The Author

Emeline is a third year undergraduate at UC Davis, studying International Relations and French. She is passionate about law, the criminal justice system and international politics, and hopes to pursue a career in diplomacy in the future. In her free time, Emeline loves to read, craft and hike.

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