Do the Children of Illegal Immigrants Have the Right to a Public Education?

Do you think the children of illegal immigrants have the right to a public education? Peter Sagal explores this question in episode three, Created Equal. Watch the clip, read more on the landmark decision Plyler v. Doe - then tell us what you think.

"In June 1972, the Supreme Court issued Plyler v. Doe, a landmark decision holding that states cannot constitutionally deny students a free public education on account of their immigration status. By a 5-4 vote, the Court found that any resources which might be saved from excluding undocumented children from public schools were far outweighed by the harms imposed on society at large from denying them an education.

"For thirty years, Plyler has ensured equal access to education for children regardless of status, but anti-immigrant sentiment continues to threaten that right. States and localities have passed measures and adopted unofficial policies that violate the spirit—if not the letter—of the Court’s decision. Most recently, the state of Alabama enacted a law requiring school administrators to determine the immigration status of newly enrolling students, which in turn resulted in markedly higher rates of absenteeism for Latino school children and caused much fear and confusion in schools. Supporters of the Alabama law have announced their intention to challenge Plyler itself, claiming the Court implied that its ruling could change if sufficient evidence established that the enrollment of undocumented children harmed the overall quality of education." Read the full text

- Public Education for Immigrant Students: States Challenge Supreme Court’s Decision in Plyler v. Doe (The Immigration Policy Center (IPC))


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