Why Is Oklahoma Trying to Be California?


March 28, 2023

By Dale Wilcox

As the U.S.-Mexico border continues to be overrun with foreign nationals entering our country illegally, an unlikely state is looking to pass legislation that would allow illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses.

Lawmakers in Oklahoma are moving forward with Senate Bill 669, which would give illegal aliens living in the state the ability to get driver’s licenses. The bill is sponsored by Democratic State Senator Michael Brooks-Jimenez, an immigration attorney, and has garnered bipartisan support in the Republican-dominated state legislature.

The bill passed out of committee by one vote late last month, and is expected to come to the floor for a final vote soon. If it passes, Governor Kevin Stitt would have to decide whether to sign or veto the bill. So far, Stitt has not taken a public position on the bill, but his ultimate decision should be an easy one. At a time when the border is under siege due to the malfeasance of the Biden Administration, states should not be taking actions that would encourage and incentivize even more illegal immigration.

The situation at the border has never been worse, and Oklahoma is likely bearing a large brunt of the crisis given its proximity to Texas. More than five million foreign nationals have entered the country illegally since the Biden Administration took office, according to a study last year from the Federation for American Immigration Reform. The presence of so many illegal aliens poses a significant public-policy problem for Oklahoma and other states, and giving foreign nationals access to government programs and benefits is not the answer.

With states such as Texas and Florida preparing legislation to crack down on illegal immigration, states that take a softer approach will leave themselves more vulnerable. Cities and states that have made themselves magnets for illegal immigration have seen their resources and social services stretched to the limit. The Sooner state would be wise to avoid joining them. In addition to the economic problems this legislation could create, handing out driver’s licenses to illegal aliens could also potentially compromise the security of Oklahoma’s elections.

With millions of Americans having already lost faith in the U.S. election system, allowing illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses would only further erode public trust in elections.

Oklahoma law requires voters to present identification before casting a ballot. If Oklahoma were to give out driver’s licenses to illegal aliens, it raises the potential for aliens to vote in state elections. With millions of Americans having already lost faith in the U.S. election system, allowing illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses would only further erode public trust in elections. U.S. citizens in Oklahoma do not deserve to have their voices and votes diluted by such short-sighted legislation.

The advancement of this bill in Oklahoma demonstrates the success and influence of the anti-borders movement, even in deep-red states. Despite being on the wrong side of public opinion, the well-funded anti-borders movement has largely succeeded in making it easier for migrants to enter the U.S. illegally, and easier for them to receive access to government benefits and services once they get here. Rewarding illegal immigration in any way is a backwards approach that will only serve to weaken America’s sovereignty and the rule of law.

While it’s no surprise to see states such as Massachusetts allow illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses, it is stunning that a traditionally conservative state such as Oklahoma appears prepared to follow their lead.

A driver’s license, like the ability to enter the United States, is a privilege, not a right. Allowing those illegally present to obtain privileges reserved for those here lawfully reduces the value of those privileges for everyone. That is why Oklahoma must immediately scrap this ill-conceived and destructive plan.

Dale L. Wilcox is executive director and general counsel at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.

Also published at The New American, March 28, 2023.

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