OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
The Oklahoma House of Representatives has censured a state lawmaker who identifies as “non-binary” for allegedly hindering a law enforcement investigation by sheltering a fugitive who was wanted for assaulting a fellow House member and a state trooper last week.
Rep. Mauree Turner, D-Oklahoma City, was censured by the state House for allegedly harboring a fugitive who was wanted for questioning regarding an assault. Turner was accused of allowing the fugitive to hide in the office while turning away requests from law enforcement officials to access the suspect, according to Fox News.
“The incident happened after the House passed a bill banning gender-affirming care for minors. Shortly after the bill passed, the suspected fugitive allegedly assaulted both a House member and an Oklahoma Highway Patrol officer in the state capitol building,” the outlet noted. “On Tuesday, the House of Representatives voted 81-19 to censure Turner.”
In response to the incident, House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, released a statement accusing Turner of deliberately obstructing a law enforcement investigation by sheltering a fugitive and repeatedly lying to officers. McCall further alleged that Turner misused their official office and power to impede law enforcement from contacting the suspect, Fox News noted further.
“I want to make something very clear: I will not allow members of the House of Representatives to use their House-assigned offices and official positions to impede law enforcement from carrying out investigations or making arrests in the State Capitol,” McCall said.
“Our law enforcement officers leave their homes every day to serve and protect us, never knowing if it might be the last time, they see their families. The House stands by our law enforcement, and will not allow what is an already dangerous and unpredictable job to become more dangerous due to the actions of a member of our body,” McCall added.
“The inappropriate, and potentially criminal, actions exhibited by this member of the House were deserving of censure, and the actions taken by the House today were both measured and just,” the Speaker said.
Oklahoma non-binary Democrat censured for harboring fugitive in state capitol office https://t.co/yHA6ejXJug
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 8, 2023
Turner responded to the vote on Tuesday afternoon, taking to Twitter to accuse Republicans in the state of making it “unsafe to Trans Oklahomans.”
“When I walk into the chamber and there’s a gaggle of troopers talking about me, I think about how Republicans have used every resource in their *power to make this place unsafe to Trans Oklahomans. To Us. To Me…2-spirit, Trans & Gender Non-conforming Oklahomans,” Turner tweeted.
When I walk into the chamber and there’s a gaggle of troopers talking about me, I think about how Republicans have use every resource in their *power to make this place unsafe to Trans Oklahomans.
To Us. To Me.
— Mauree Turner | They / Them (@MaureeTurnerOK) March 7, 2023
Meanwhile, the Biden administration’s potential revival of the Trump-era policy of detaining migrant families to curb illegal immigration has sparked outrage among left-wing Democratic lawmakers.
A joint statement issued by members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and Congressional Progressive Caucus, urged President Joe Biden to reject family detention following reports that the Biden administration is considering reviving the Trump-era policy of detaining migrant families as a means of deterring illegal immigration. Multiple news organizations reported on Tuesday that the president is considering several tougher immigration policies in preparation for Title 42 to expire.
“We are deeply concerned by reports that the Biden Administration is considering reinstating family detention in an attempt to deter migration. We agree with Secretary Mayorkas when he said, ‘A detention center is not where a family belongs,’” the lawmakers said. “We should not return to the failed policies of the past. There is no safe or humane way to detain families and children, and such detention does not serve as a deterrent to migration. We strongly urge the administration to reject this wrongheaded approach.”
In reality, however, Trump-era immigration policies were roundly praised by federal immigration authorities as having been highly effective at securing the border. In addition to building a wall along significant portions of the U.S.-Mexico border, then-President Trump implemented the COVID-era Title 42 rule requiring people who crossed illegally into the country to be immediately deported and adopted a “Remain in Mexico” policy that required most illegal migrants to be returned back across the border to await for adjudication of their asylum claims in U.S. immigration courts.
Since Biden reversed most of those policies upon taking office roughly two years ago, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) estimated in October 2022 that more than 5.5 million people have crossed illegally into the U.S.