This State Representative Wants to Round Up Non-English Speaking Kids at School and Deport Them If They’re Undocumented. Here’s Why That’s Unconstitutional.

The state of Oklahoma is facing one of the worst budget crises in its history in the form of a nearly $900 million dollar budget shortfall. Legislators and the governor are scrambling to figure out how to get the state out of the red. But one state representative last week offered a plan that is as cruel as it is unconstitutional: Round up tens of thousands of the state’s students who speak English as a second language, hand them over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and deport them if they’re undocumented.

“Identify them and then turn them over to ICE to see if they truly are citizens,” Rep. Mike Ritze, a member of the Republican Platform Caucus, told a local news station. “Do we really have to educate non-citizens?”

Aside from the overall inhumanity of Ritze’s “plan,” he poses a question that deserves an answer: Do public schools in the United States have to educate noncitizens? The answer is an unqualified yes.

In 1982, the Supreme Court decided 
Plyler v. Doe. The question before the justices was whether the state of Texas could deny undocumented students the right to a free public education that U.S. citizens and legally admitted immigrants received. Under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, wrote Justice William Brennan, the state of Texas could not do so. The 14th Amendment, he explained, “is not confined to the protection of citizens” and ensures that no state can “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” That included a free public education.

But beyond the unconstitutionality of Ritze’s plan, we should take a moment to discuss why the state’s Republican superintendent of schools, Joy Hofmeister, called it “utterly shameful,” and why his caucus members have distanced themselves from his plan.  

First off, children’s grasp of English has absolutely nothing to with their immigration status. Second, there is no way to carry out such a plan without resorting to racial profiling. According to Ben Felder of The Oklahoman, over half of the student body of Oklahoma City Public Schools is Hispanic, and such a plan would make a majority of the students feel like second-class citizens. It’s not far-fetched to fear that Hispanic and Latino kids would go to class afraid that if they don’t speak English up to an arbitrary standard that they would fall under the scrutiny of the school, their local police department, and federal immigration authorities. And third, and most importantly, these are kids we’re talking about. They deserve protection and an education, not fear and stigma.

“There is no benefit to floating outrageous ideas that seek to punish kids,” Hofmeister said. We agree. Immigration authority has no place in our schools. Racial profiling has no place in our schools. At a time in our nation’s history when xenophobia and nationalism are on the rise, it is crucial that students and parents know that they and their children are protected and valued.

And we’ll be there to assure that they are.

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Liberals hate A...

Sounds like a good plan to me. Round them up and ship them off. Oh yeah, Anthony Romero is a gay- gay.

Anonymous

Racist punk ass b**ch

Anonymous

When you speak, you only expose yourself for the ignorant racist homophobe you are. YOU are the disgusting one.

Anonymous

If he were a gay - gay, wouldn't that = not gay? I'm just not clear on your math.

Liberal America

The word "Liberal" was created as a descriptor word for people who embody the principles of Liberty. Liberals are the saviors of the United States and protect the freedom of all individuals. The word "Conservative" was created as a descriptor for people who embody a spririt to resist any change in their lives.

Liberals don't fear changing attitudes and conditions in their country but attempt to embrace them as god given freedoms. Conservatives fear any kind of change not instigated by them. Both groups use God and religious principles to try and make their point. Problem is both groups believe you must believe and think as they do to "fit in".

Our nation is built on immigration and assimilation. However, conservatives fear immigration because Latino people aren't white and baptist. They are largely brown and catholic. Just as Shias "hate" Sunnis, Baptists/protestants "hate" Catholics. Sectarianism is rampant in the United States, we may be more divided than England and Ireland in the 1960s and 70s.

Personally, I saw deport you all back to your homelands. Whites, Blacks, and Latinos. Back to England/Europe, back to Africa, And Latinos back to Europe. Spain or where the F ever you came from. My people walked here on a land bridge and evolved this land. Yes we had wars and killed each other from time to time. However, our streams were clean, our fields free from pesticides and herbicides. Our people lived a simple cohesive life in balance with nature.

Then you came to "civilize" and rape us. To steal, bring disease, to murder and plunder. You forced Jesus and your religion on us by punishment of death.

If anyone should be deported, it is the whiteman and brownman. This is the Redmans land! Go home yankee.

Anonymous

I love "patriots" like you who don't give a rats butt about the Constitution

Anonymous

And what's wrong with that? I say round them all up and drop them out in there country at 30000 ft

Anonymous

Your mom should have kicked in the stomach at the 3rd tri-mester

Helen Loeb

Of course you aren't serious.

Anonymous

Learn how to spell

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