Lawmaker: Vet citizenship of non-English-speaking schoolkids
By SEAN MURPHY, AP
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – A Republican member in the Oklahoma House is suggesting that tens of thousands of non-English speaking students in public schools be turned over to U.S. immigration officials as cost-saving measure in the cash-strapped state.
Broken Arrow Republican Rep. Mike Ritze told News9 in an interview Wednesday that the newly created Republican Platform Caucus believes the state could save $60 million if Oklahoma would identify what the caucus believes is 82,000 non-English speaking students “and then turn them over” to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to determine whether they are citizens.
It’s unclear from the segment if he was referring to turning over the students’ names or rounding up the children. The State Department of Education said there are actually about 50,000 English learners in pre-K through 12th grade in Oklahoma public schools, but many of those students could be U.S. citizens.
Ritze also questioned whether the state should have to educate children who aren’t citizens, although a 1982 U.S. Supreme Court decision holds states cannot deny students a free public education based on their immigration status. Also, the United States also has no official language.