Tulsa Federal Judge Dismisses Immigration Law Challenge

By Price, Marie | THE JOURNAL RECORD, December 14, 2007 | Go to article overview

Tulsa Federal Judge Dismisses Immigration Law Challenge


Price, Marie, THE JOURNAL RECORD


A Tulsa federal judge has dismissed the latest challenge to Oklahoma's tough new immigration law.

U.S. District Judge James Payne threw out the lawsuit for similar reasons a previous legal challenge was dismissed: failure of the some plaintiffs to outline the injuries they allege are caused by the law, most of which took effect Nov. 1. Other sections become effective in July.

In the October dismissal, the court said the plaintiffs were unable to prove they had standing to challenge the law.

Payne also said the illegal alien plaintiffs complained of grievances that could best be remedied "by simple compliance with federal law."

"Both categories of plaintiffs must be dismissed for lack of standing, either on constitutional or prudential grounds," Payne said in his opinion.

Both lawsuits were filed by the National Coalition of Latino Clergy Inc., several churches, a construction company, a restaurant and several John and Jane Does who are illegal immigrants.

An attempt to block the law from taking effect on Nov. 1 while the legal case continued ultimately failed.

"Plaintiffs' complaint is breathtakingly broad," Payne said of the new legal challenge. "By the court's count, the seventy-six page complaint attempts to challenge sixteen separate statutes, under twenty-one different state and federal constitutional provisions and statutes, and on behalf of eighteen different plaintiffs."

Payne said the lead plaintiff failed to identify an individual member that had standing to sue, leading to the group's dismissal from the suit for lack of standing. He also found that, because the two churches cannot be prosecuted under the law, they also lack standing. One church's challenge to language applying to employers was turned down because that language is not yet in effect.

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