Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, in a statement today responded to critics of legislation he filed that targets Hispanic gang members in an attempt to protect Oklahomans from illegal activity by Mexican and other drug cartels that have brought fentanyl and other illegal drugs into the state and that perpetuate other illegal activity such as sex and labor trafficking.
House Bill 3133, as it is currently worded, states that any person who is of Hispanic descent living within the state of Oklahoma; is a member of a criminal street gang as such term is defined in state statutes; and has been convicted of a gang-related offense enumerated in state statute shall be deemed to have committed an act of terrorism and will be subject to property forfeiture.
Humphrey said he hadn’t considered the language offensive, but after consulting with others, he intends to change the measure to read something along the lines of anyone involved in a transnational criminal organization that includes documented and known gang affiliation.
“My recently filed House Bill 3133 has received massive criticism,” Humphrey said. “The indignation seems to be over the use of the word Hispanic. It appears that calling out the Mexican cartel or Hispanic gangs has become racist.
“Border agents and narcotics agents have advised there are two Mexican Cartels – the Sinola and New Age Cartels – that are primarily responsible for the horde of drugs and fentanyl that is destroying and murdering thousands of Americans.
“When we see a plane fly into a building killing 3,000 people, we recognize that as an act of terrorism. But when a reported 107,000 people are illegally slain with illegal fentanyl, we remain silent and take no action. America has seen more people dying from fentanyl overdose in one year than American military members killed in the Korean and Vietnam wars combined. Yet, our government has not declared this an act of war or an act of terrorism. We have not declared these cartels or the gangs they employ as terrorists.
“House Bill 3133 seeks to rectify the government’s indefensible failure. The bill seeks to identify, classify and punish these horrific terrorists.
“I have been shocked that America is being invaded and undergoing acts of terrorism resulting in at least 107,000 peoples’ deaths, and yet the public’s outrage is aimed at me for simply declaring the groups that are mainly responsible are Hispanic. When I declared Mexican cartels are Hispanic, there was moral outrage and accusations of racism. I believe these continual accusations of racism present an indisputable danger to America freedom and democracy. United we Stand; divided we fall.
“While I am not moved by unwarranted accusations of racism, I do admit a valid point that House Bill 3133 should not be limited to just Mexican cartels. I have agreed to change the bill and am working with narcotics’ experts to provide better language. I will remove the word Hispanic and replace it with something like transnational criminal organization to include documented and known gang affiliation.
“Hearing from everyone and adapting bill language is how good legislation is formed.”