The Biden administration has filed a lawsuit against Oklahoma, seeking to block a law that permits local authorities to arrest migrants who are in the state illegally.

Biden’s Department of Justice has filed lawsuits against Texas and Iowa over similar laws.

“The lawsuit in federal court in Oklahoma City challenges a law that makes it a state crime — punishable by up to two years in prison — to live in Oklahoma without legal immigration status,” the Associated Press reports.

Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signed House Bill 4156 into law last month, making it a crime for illegal migrants to enter Oklahoma.

“The Justice Department today filed suit against the State of Oklahoma to challenge House Bill 4156 (HB 4156) under the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause and Foreign Commerce Clause,” the U.S. Department of Justice announced in a press release.

“The Constitution assigns the federal government the authority to regulate immigration and manage our international borders. Pursuant to this authority, Congress has established a comprehensive immigration framework governing noncitizens’ entry, reentry and presence. Because HB 4156 is preempted by federal law and violates the U.S. Constitution, the Justice Department seeks a declaration that HB 4156 is invalid and an order enjoining the state from enforcing the law,” it continued.

“Oklahoma cannot disregard the U.S. Constitution and settled Supreme Court precedent,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton.

“We have brought this action to ensure that Oklahoma adheres to the Constitution and the framework adopted by Congress for regulation of immigration,” he added.

From the New York Post:

The suit, filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, listed Stitt, state Attorney General Gentner Drummond and state Department of Public Safety Commissioner Tim Tipton among the defendants.

The new law against “impermissible occupation” goes into effect July 1.

A first offense would result in a misdemeanor charge, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $500 fine. Migrants convicted of illegally entering the US would be required to leave the state within 72 hours.

A second offense would result in a felony charge, punishable by up to two years in prison and a $1,000 fine.

In May, the Biden administration sued Iowa over a law which allows state authorities to arrest migrants who were previously denied entry or deported from the US.

The Biden Justice Department also sued Texas in January over a law which authorizes state authorities to arrest, jail, prosecute and deport migrants who enter the country between ports of entry.

“President Biden’s DoJ is now suing Oklahoma for a state law that simply imposes criminal penalties for aliens who are living ILLEGALLY in our state. Congress needs to use the power of the purse to hold President Biden’s rogue DoJ accountable!” Rep. Josh Brecheen (R-OK) said.

The Associated Press noted:

The federal action was expected, as the Department of Justice warned Oklahoma officials last week that the agency would sue unless the state agreed not to enforce the new law.

In response, Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond called the DOJ’s preemption argument “dubious at best” and said that while the federal government has broad authority over immigration, it does not have “exclusive power” on the subject.

“Oklahoma is exercising its concurrent and complementary power as a sovereign state to address an ongoing public crisis within its borders through appropriate legislation,” Drummond wrote in a letter to the DOJ. “Put more bluntly, Oklahoma is cleaning up the Biden Administration’s mess through entirely legal means in its own backyard – and will resolutely continue to do so by supplementing federal prohibitions with robust state penalties.”

Texas was allowed to enforce a law similar to Oklahoma’s for only a few confusing hours in March before it was put on hold by a federal appeals court’s three-judge panel. The panel heard arguments from both supporters and opponents in April and will next issue a decision on the law’s constitutionality.

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