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Schools Feel Impact Of Oklahoma's Immigration Law

Tulsa School officials say the state's new immigration law is having an impact across the district. The News On 6's Ashli Sims reports while the fedeal courts continue to sort out the legal implications of House Bill 1804, some Tulsa School leaders say they are already feeling the fallout.

Ten years ago at Marshall Elementary School there was just a sprinkle of Spanish. Four years ago, there was a flood. Marshall is now 50% Hispanic and that is changed the very fabric of the school. Now with House Bill 1804, Marshall's principal says that fabric is ripping. She sees it in her students and teachers.

"It terrifies them. They hate it. There's been a lot of tears shed. They don't want their friends to go," says Principal Kayla Robinson.

She says Hispanic friends are going as many as eight in just one week.

"The passage of 1804 has caused a number of our families to leave Tulsa. In fact to date, 22 Hispanic students have left our school," said Principal Kayla Robinson.

Principal Robinson says that's about a classroom worth of kids. But that's not an official count. Tulsa Public Schools says the district won't know exactly how 1804 is affecting schools for another week, because students have to be gone for ten days before they're taken off the rolls.

Kayla Robinson says she's talked to several Hispanic families who have left out of fear.

"They have achieved good jobs. They pay market value rent in great apartments in this neighborhood. And, they want to continue that. So they feel like, many of them have to go elsewhere," said Principal Kayla Robinson.

Some argue Oklahoma taxpayers shouldn't have to pay to educate students, who are here illegally. Principal Robinson says in her experience families aren't returning to Mexico or Latin America.

"Our families are going to other states. They're going to California and Houston, Atlanta. Places where they can get jobs as good or better than the ones they had here," said Marshall Elementary Principal Kayla Robinson.

Oklahoma is asking a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit challenging a controversial new immigration law. A coalition of Hispanic leaders filed a lawsuit against House Bill 1804, almost two weeks ago. They also tried to get an injunction to stop the law from taking effect, but were rejected.

In Tuesday's filing, the AG's office claims the immigrants, churches, and businesses named in the suit have no standing. The lawsuit challenging House Bill 1804 will continue to move forward. The plaintiffs are expected to respond to the motion to dismiss later this week.

Originally aired 11/6/2007 10:34 AM - Updated 11/7/2007 8:15 AM

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