Immigration Bill Fears Not Affecting Attendance Of Hispanic Students - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Immigration Bill Fears Not Affecting Attendance Of Hispanic Students

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HB 1804 cracks down on illegal immigration in Oklahoma, but schools are exempt from many of the bill's requirements. HB 1804 cracks down on illegal immigration in Oklahoma, but schools are exempt from many of the bill's requirements.
School officials say Hispanic students appear to have stayed put thanks to administrators, who single handedly called all Hispanic parents to reassure them their kids could come here freely. School officials say Hispanic students appear to have stayed put thanks to administrators, who single handedly called all Hispanic parents to reassure them their kids could come here freely.

Wednesday was the third day of the school year, and Tulsa Public Schools feared some of its Hispanic students wouldn't show. But one administrator says despite widespread fear over a newly passed immigration bill the numbers are good. House Bill 1804 takes effect November 1st, and some in the Hispanic community warned there would be a mass exodus because of it. But News On 6 anchor Latoya Silmon reports Tulsa Public School's Director of Diversity says that has not been the case at school.

School is in session and TPS administrators thought some of its students would still be out.

"There is a great concern about 1804 and what's going to happen in November. Personally, I hope all that's taken care of prior to November 1st when the bill goes into effect," said TPS Director of Diversity Dr. Nilda Reyes.

But Dr. Nilda Reyes says Hispanic students appear to have stayed put thanks to administrators, who single handedly called all Hispanic parents to reassure them their kids could come here freely. She says because of those efforts, schools like Walt Disney in East Tulsa haven't seen any drops in attendance despite the passage of House Bill 1804.

HB 1804 cracks down on illegal immigration in Oklahoma, making it more difficult to obtain proper identification, a job and public benefits. But schools are exempt from many of the bill's requirements.

"We're here to educate all students. We're public education, so pre-k thru 12 we welcome them to school," said Reyes. "We do not ask their immigration status at all."

But not everyone agrees with the don't ask, don't tell policy.

"I think they need to be legal first before they even try to go to school, and then I guess we wouldn't have so many hard feelings towards it," said Tulsa parent Carolyn Phillips.

Schools may be exempt from verifying legal status, but any school that issues ID cards must indicate that it's valid only on campus. HB 1804 hopes that provision will stop illegal immigrants from obtaining an official state identification card.

Originally aired 8/22/2007 8:32 PM - Updated 8/27/2007 5:06 PM

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