Non-English-Speaking Kids Not Welcome in Oklahoma

A group of Oklahoma legislators has some alarming ideas about how to plug the budget hole.



A group of 22 Oklahoma Legislators led by Rep. Mike Ritze of Tulsa wants to increase state revenue by profiling kids who don’t speak English. The Republican Platform Caucus believes the state could save $60 million by rounding up the 82,000 non-English speaking students in Oklahoma and turning them over to ICE, or in Rep. Ritze’s words, “Identify them and then turn them over to ICE to see if they truly are citizens, and do we really have to educate non-citizens?”

I’m not a legal scholar or anything, but can you profile people because they don’t speak English? If Rep. Ritze just rounded up all brown people and turned them over to ICE, the state could probably save even more money. Sometimes when I hear things our legislators say, I’m not sure they’re speaking English.

Besides being cruel, mean-spirited and all that other stuff my mom and dad taught me not to be, what Rep. Ritze is saying is not even true, if he’s assuming that undocumented immigrants don’t pay taxes. The Gang of Hate The members of the Republican Platform Caucus might want to read this: 5 Immigration Myths Debunked 

The other wacky idea for plugging the huge budget hole is to eliminate “all non-essential, non-instructional employees in higher education.” If you have students heading to an Oklahoma college or university this fall, you might want to make sure they can cook and serve meals, do janitorial duties and maybe figure out how to navigate a school without administrators, safety officers or counselors. Getting rid of such non-essentials will save $328 million, according to the group.

Oh, and if you have a pen with the Oklahoma State flag on it, you might want to save that as a souvenir, or sell it on Ebay as a rare item. Rep. Ritze says he can save $39 million by eliminating state “promotional swag.”

I appreciate that these lawmakers are thinking about the budget and the huge hole that Oklahoma faces, but don’t most Oklahomans want to live in a safe state with outstanding public schools and universities, good roads and exceptional services? We do need new revenue, but do we give up quality schools and the rest just because some of our legislators want to be able to say they didn’t raise taxes? You’re going to get hit with higher fees, higher college tuition, fewer services and…..you get my point. Money has to come from somewhere. Is rounding up school children the way to get it?

But I’ll take the logo-less pen.

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Editor's Blog

Living the empty nest life, and loving it.

About This Blog

Betty Casey has been editor of TulsaKids for over 20 years – her youngest child was 3-years-old when she started working for the magazine. She and her husband Wes have three young adult children. Betty’s blog ranges from writing about current issues or information of interest to local parents, reflecting on her life without kids at home, and posting a few recipes now and then. (Cooking and running are two or her favorite past-times.) Betty is the author/illustrator of two children’s books, May Finds Her Way and That Is a Hat (The RoadRunner Press) and she is currently working on a third. She was named Blogger of the Year in 2014 by The Great Plains Journalism Awards and was a finalist in 2015. She has won numerous writing awards from the Parenting Media Association.

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