Media Contact

May 8, 2024

ALBUQUERQUE – The American Civil Liberties Unions (ACLUs) of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, San Diego and Imperial Counties, Colorado, Missouri, Arkansas, and Kansas issued an advisory warning their residents about the threat of civil and constitutional rights violations when traveling in the state of Oklahoma after the passage of an extreme anti-immigrant law. 

Oklahoma’s new law, HB 4156, 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 removed from the U.S. a crime.  

When implemented, this law will pose a risk to any person while in Oklahoma, since travelers and Oklahoma residents, including life-long undocumented Oklahomans or residents of neighboring states, are at risk of arrest and imprisonment. The law also raises the possibility of racial profiling by law enforcement officers who are untrained in complex federal immigration law. 

“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. This is also a threat to New Mexicans who are undocumented, have mixed-status families or are simply a target for racial profiling by overeager and undertrained local law enforcement officers,” said ACLU of New Mexico Border and Immigration Policy Advocate Leonardo Castañeda. “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.”

Countless residents of states bordering Oklahoma have family and loved ones who may be at risk from this law that threatens their civil liberties. This joint travel advisory highlights the solidarity of communities surrounding Oklahoma against punitive and counterproductive policies that harm our immigrant communities and do nothing to welcome people seeking safety and refuge. 

People traveling in Oklahoma are advised to remain calm if stopped by police and encouraged to exercise their right to immediately ask for an attorney and otherwise remain silent. More guidance is outlined in the travel advisory found here.