A bill that would require Oklahoma police departments to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement passed in the state House of Representatives along party lines.
Republicans said the bill will help ICE agents in combating illegal immigration. Democrats said the bill has no teeth and is nothing more than political posturing.
House Bill 3195 passed overwhelmingly with Republicans supporting it and Democrats opposing it.
“(I’m) very familiar with racial profiling that often happens in America, certainly in Oklahoma. So, folks are going to be targeted. Will it be brown skinned folks because we’re talking about immigration? Probably,” said Representative Regina Goodwin (D) Tulsa.
The bill requires police to adhere to detainment requests by ICE, but there are no penalties if they don’t. Democrats said this is all about politics.
“Bills like this are particularly useful during an election year,” said Representative David Perryman (D) Minority Floor Leader. “They make an electorate feel like they’re doing something up there…and we see bills like this that make people so afraid of their shadows.”
The bill’s author, Representative John Pfeiffer (R) Orlando replied saying, “unbeknownst to me currently I’m the boogey man. I’m a fear monger and of other things.”
Pfeiffer said the bill just solidifies what’s expected of police.
“This is a simple bill that fixes a simple problem. Not a scary problem. Just one of the many things that we do in state legislature that we have to address,” said Pfeiffer.
The bill now heads to the state Senate.