Saying he is, “just shocked,” State Sen. Roger Thompson said he is strongly opposed to a plan floated by Rep. Mike Ritz, R-80 to turn over non-English-speaking students to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
That plan, which has drawn fire from both sides of the legislature, State Superintendent and governor as well as the ACLU, claims to be able to save $60 million.
“It flies in the face of my values, and I believe those of most Oklahomans. These are innocent children we’re talking about, and even though English isn’t their first language, it should be pointed out that category includes children who are here legally,” said Thompson.
Mike RitzeRitze, whose district covers Tulsa and Wagoner counties, claims that would involve around 82,000 students. He says the plan would save the state the cost of educating those students. He is a member of the GOP Platform Caucus.
House speaker Charles McCall said that caucus does not speak for the entire 72-member House Republican Caucus. “The idea of identifying and detaining non-English speaking students in our public schools has never been considered by the House Republican Caucus since I have been a member of the House of Representatives,” McCall said.
“As a legislator, as a father and grandfather, and as a Christian, I am compelled to reject such a terrible suggestion.  Just look at the Gospels, the Psalms and countless other passages in the Bible about caring for children,” Thompson said. “We have both a legal and moral responsibility to children in our state, and it is incomprehensible that anyone would suggest balancing the budget on their backs.”