Federal judge dismisses lawsuit challenging Oklahoma immigration law

[JURIST] US District Judge James Payne of the Northern District of Oklahoma [official website] Monday dismissed a federal lawsuit which alleged that a recently approved state law limiting government privileges to illegal immigrants is unfair to all immigrants. The lawsuit [complaint, PDF; JURIST report] was filed last week against Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry and Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson. Payne ruled that the plaintiffs, including the National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) [advocacy website], did not have standing to sue because none of them had suffered a cognizable injury as a result of the Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007 [HB 1804 text, DOC], which denies illegal immigrants state identification cards and requires all Oklahoma government agencies to verify immigrants' citizenship before conferring benefits. The constitutionality of the law can still be challenged in other proceedings as Payne did not rule on the merits of the case. The bill is considered one of the toughest on illegal immigration [JURIST news archive] in the country and is set to take effect November 1. AP has more.

Henry signed the bill [JURIST report] in May. Supporters praised the measure as a way to save taxpayer money, but immigrant groups criticized it for saddling Latinos with new discriminatory barriers in housing and jobs. Along with CONLAMIC, the League of United Latin American Citizens [advocacy website] and other advocacy groups have said they may challenge the law's constitutionality on the grounds that immigration policy is the responsibility of the federal, rather than state, government.

 

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