Last week, Oklahoma received national attention after a member of the State House of Representatives proposed a plan to identify and turn in 82,000 non-English speaking students to Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) in an effort to fix the state budget. Here are 3 things the community should know about this proposed plan.
In an interview with News 9, Oklahoma State Representative Mike Ritze stated Oklahoma could save money and help the budget problems by identifying and turning in to ICE non-English speaking students. This idea was a part of a proposed plan by a Republican group known as the Platform Caucus.
"Identify them and then turn them over to ICE to see if they truly are citizens — and do we really have to educate noncitizens?" Ritze asked.
Despite the Platform Caucus' projections, the Associated Press reports that there are only approximately 50,000 English learners in Oklahoma's public schools, and many of the students could be U.S. citizens.
The idea has received a lot of media attention, locally and nationally, since Ritze's public comments were made, but there are 3 main points we want the community to know.
The budget proposal presented is simply that: a proposal. The plan to identify and question non-English speaking students is not a law, and our children are safe in school.
Even more important than the fact that this plan is not law, is the fact that this plan is unconstitutional.
The 1982 Supreme Court decision in Plyler v. Doe prohibits states from denying education to undocumented immigrants.
Our children are our future and we have a duty to protect them. That means staying informed on what's happening at the Capitol and getting involved to ensure our community is represented.
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Michael Brooks-Jimenez, PC, is a law firm that offers criminal, immigration, workers compensation, and personal injury services.
Michael Brooks-Jimenez, PC
5708 S. Western Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73109