OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. John Pfeiffer, R-Orlando, commented on the governor signing legislation that will require Oklahoma law enforcement to comply with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requests.
House Bill 2774 will help ICE officials locate illegal immigrants who are detained in county or municipal jails.
“We’ve seen multiple cases in our state where illegal immigrants were detained for criminal activity but released because law enforcement did not have clearly defined guidance in statute,” Pfeiffer said. “This has caused great concern for public safety. This law specifies the duties of law enforcement in responding to immigrant detainer requests and will give greater guidance to those sworn to protect the public. It should bring peace of mind to all Oklahomans.”
Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, carried the measure in the Senate.
“With thousands of illegal immigrants pouring over our southern border weekly, it’s imperative that our local law enforcement be clear on their role in working with federal immigration agencies to intercept illegals in our prison system,” Bullard said. “I want to thank Representative Pfeiffer for allowing me to carry this important measure in the Senate to ensure these offenders are brought to justice.”
Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy, a supporter of the bill, also commented on its passage.
“We have millions of illegal immigrants currently in our country, and thanks to current federal policies those numbers are increasing daily,” Roberts said. “There are some serious questions as to the criminal background of many of these individuals, and here in Oklahoma we want to do everything we can to help federal officials identify these bad guys and take them into custody. I applaud Rep. Pfeiffer’s hard work to see this bill across the finish line, and I hope it makes our law enforcement officials’ task of identifying illegal immigrants easier.”
HB 2774 requires all sheriffs, jailers, prison keepers, and their deputies to allow reasonable access to their detention facilities to ICE officials to identify inmates. The local agency must inform those being detained under such federal requests. The bill does not apply to detainees with proof of U.S. citizenship.
According to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), there are an estimated 11 million illegal or unauthorized immigrants in the U.S.
During the 2020 legislative session, Pfeiffer authored House Bill 3195 to accomplish the same goal. The measure passed the House in February but it was stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic, which shortened the legislative session.
“I’m glad to see this measure finally signed into law so that our law enforcement agencies can operate with greater clarity to protect Oklahomans,” Pfeiffer said.