M. Scott Carter reports on politics, legislation and other issues from the State Capitol.
Gov. Mary Fallin said Thursday she appreciated President Barack Obama’s visit to the Sooner State — sort of.
In a media statement, Fallin said, “It is always an honor for Oklahoma to host the president of the United States. I hope he enjoyed his stay.” She added she has “common ground” with him on criminal justice reforms that reduce incarceration.
However, Fallin, who met briefly with Obama upon his arrival, also blistered the president in her statement for what she called the country’s “illegal immigration crisis.”
“I was deeply disappointed that during his visit the president did not address the ongoing illegal immigration crisis or the failure of our federal justice system to stop or even contain it,” her statement said.
The criticism echoed the recent messages of GOP contender Donald Trump, whose searing remarks about illegal immigrants have roused a faction of the party and vaulted him into second place among Republican candidates in at least one poll.
In her statement, Fallin said she and the president share views on “smart-on-crime” initiatives, as do other leading conservatives and some Republican presidential candidates.
During Obama’s visit to the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution Thursday afternoon, he called for changes in the nation’s sentencing laws, saying too many non-violent offenders were being locked up for too long.
Fallin’s visit with the president follows an earlier meeting between the two in 2013, after tornadoes destroyed homes and schools in Moore.
In 2012, Obama came to Cushing to speak about the Keystone Pipeline but neither Fallin, nor Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb were on hand for that visit due to previously scheduled events.