Oklahoma City Archbishop Criticizes State’s New Illegal Immigration Bill

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City released a statement on April 23 criticizing an anti-illegal immigration bill that he says unnecessarily criminalizes honest people.

“According to the bill’s authors, its intent is to target criminal actions committed by some undocumented immigrants in the state, most especially related to illegal marijuana grow operations,” Archbishop Coakley stated. “However, the new law inadvertently will target men and women who are living productive lives with their families, and subject them to jail time, large fines and deportation within 72 hours, separating them from their children.”

The Republican-sponsored legislation passed in both the state House and Senate earlier this week and is currently awaiting Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt’s signature.

According to the bill, any illegal immigrant discovered in Oklahoma will be sentenced to up to one year in prison, or fined up to $500, or both. Upon release, the immigrant will be required to leave the state within 72 hours. A second offense would double both the prison time and the fine.

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TAKE ACTION: Contact Archbishop Coakley and let him know what you think about his comments.