Abbott May Seek to Undo Decision That Grants Public Education to Immigrants

Next month marks 40 years of Plyler v. Doe, a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case requiring public schools in all states to educate all children, regardless their immigration status.

The high court could overturn decades-old precedents in the courtroom, however. Roe v. Wade abortion decision, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sees a possibility to undo PlylerIt was born in his state.

Abbott wants the federal governments to cover the cost Texas to educate undocumented children. He argues that the costs imposed on school districts are “extraordinary” and that “times are different than when Plyler v. Doe was issued.” Immigration and civil rights groups across Texas and the nation have dismissed the statement as inflammatory.

Abbott’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Thomas Saenz is president and general counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.MALDEF), spoke with Public Integrity about Abbott’s remarks and the chilling effect they could have on immigrant families, even those with U.S. citizen children.

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MALDEF filed the original case Four immigrant families were denied a Tyler, Texas public education. The school district proposed to charge parents without documentation up to $1,000 per child in tuition and fees to allow their children to attend public schools.

In his majority opinion, Supreme Court Justice William Brennan concluded that “education provides the basic tools by which individuals might lead economically productive lives to the benefit of us all” and that states could not constitutionally deny those opportunities to undocumented children.

The interview with Saenz is edited for clarity, length, and clarity.

Corey Mitchell: Do Governor Abbott’s remarks about challenging Plyler v. Doe Signal the beginning of an organized effort in order to remove protections for children undocumented and children of immigrants?

Thomas Saenz: [Abbott]He is simply grasping at different aspects that fall within a larger theme of being anti immigrant, which he seems to have built his campaign around. Extend to Plyler [probably] wasn’t really where Abbot wanted to go, but he is pursuing an anti-immigrant campaign so this is certainly consistent with that. Targeting children is not a good strategy. I don’t really think he wants to have thousands of kids not in school because that won’t get him any support.

Refer back to the family separations that took place at the border. Donald Trump was forced to rescind his policies almost immediately after images of children drew sympathy.

It may be because it was a well-thought out decision. [of]This replacement theory From the racist right. The replacement theory The concept of increasing numbers is the foundation of the economy. Children are, in some ways, an indicator of growing numbers of adults in future. So to the extent he thought about it, perhaps it’s consistent with this racist replacement theory that’s caught hold in certain Republican circles.

What has the Plyler v. Doe Family and children in need of a decision?

The PlylerIf you will, kids are the younger version DACA. [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals]These are also known as Dreamers or recipients. These are children in kindergarten through 12th grades. This has created many opportunities for themselves and their families, as well as for their local communities.

Even though PlylerEven though it is 40 years old, there is still a lot to learn. [that]This is a well-established law. It is constitutional. [people] can overcome the fears that may be engendered by really irresponsible comments like Abbott’s. Some parents may find it enough to send their children to school. And that’s a great harm to everyone.

MALDEF has warned Arizona districts about possible dangers. Plyler v. Doe violations. Are schools in some states deliberately making it difficult for children without documents to enroll in school?

How common is it? It’s hard to say. We tend not to see violations in practice more in states or regions that have a greater number of undocumented residents. So we don’t tend to see practice violations in states like Texas or California. It is more common in states with a large undocumented population.

In general, all it takes is a letter [to resolve the matter]. Usually, the violations are not intended to be violations, so once it’s brought to their attention, schools change them. Indeed, in some cases, it’s just a lower-level employee deciding on their own to demand a Social Security number.

Ten years ago, state of Alabama attempted to accomplish the same By collecting data [the immigration status]Public schools for children and parents. … But it is rare that a school district [or state] … will attempt to begin to obtain data about people’s status. This can deter enrollment and attendance, and it can have the same effect as a ban.

Betsy DeVos, Education Secretary under Trump, stated in a congressional hearing early in Trump’s administration that admitting undocumented students was a matter of principle. decision to be made by each districtPlyler simply denies that. She had to immediately retrace her steps, but even this irresponsible comment can have an impact.