Monday-Friday
6A        Morning Edition
9A        Music
3P        Fresh Air
4P        All Things Considered
6:30P  The Daily

7P        Eclectic After Dark
banner101 3

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says his state shouldn't have to provide free public schooling to undocumented students, despite a long-standing Supreme Court decision that says the opposite.

The high court's Plyler v. Doe ruling of 1982 struck down a Texas law that did two things: It denied state funds for any students deemed not to have lawfully entered the U.S., and it allowed public school districts to deny admission to those children.

Abbott first made his remarks about the landmark education decision on Wednesday, in the aftermath of a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Abbott said the court's 1982 ruling had imposed an unfair burden on his state.

"I think we will resurrect that case and challenge this issue again, because the expenses are extraordinary and the times are different" from when the decision came down, Abbott said in an interview with conservative radio host Joe Pagliarulo.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court said the Texas legislation violated the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause and would create a distinct underclass.

An advocacy group slams Abbott for his remarks

In response to Abbot's remarks, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) — which filed the original case on behalf of four families whose children were denied a public education — sharply criticized the governor.

Abbott is seeking "to inflict by intention the harms that nine justices agreed should be avoided 40 years ago," said Thomas Saenz, MALDEF's president and general counsel, in a news release.

The 1982 decision was a 5-4 ruling, but the justices who dissented in the case did indeed say that it was "senseless for an enlightened society to deprive any children — including illegal aliens — of an elementary education."

Their dissenting opinion, written by then-Chief Justice Warren Burger, said the court's majority was overreaching to compensate for the lack of "effective leadership" from Congress on immigration.

Saenz also said that unlike Roe v. Wade, the Plyler v. Doe decision has been incorporated into federal law.

The governor predicts a coming influx of migrants

After his initial remarks, Abbott reiterated on Thursday that his state is in an untenable position.

"The Supreme Court has ruled states have no authority themselves to stop illegal immigration into the states," Abbott said, according to The Texas Tribune. "However, after the Plyler decision they say, 'Nevertheless, states have to come out of pocket to pay for the federal government's failure to secure the border.' So one or both of those decisions will have to go."

Abbott said Texas' challenges will get worse when the Biden administration ends the Trump-era public health order known as Title 42, which has barred migrants from the U.S. in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The shift will bring a new influx of immigrants, he said.

In that respect, the governor is echoing an argument his state made in the Plyler case 40 years ago. In that Supreme Court hearing, then-Texas Assistant Attorney General Richard Arnett said Texas was hoping to discourage immigrants from entering the state illegally.

"The problem is not the kids that are here," he said. "The problem is the future."

  • SoCo Calendar
  • Latest News
  • Right Now
  • Weather
  • Earthquakes
  • First News
 
 
Read More
 
thumbnail FirstNews logoA weekday early morning podcast that offers a first look at the top local news stories and weather forecast you need to start your day.

Sonoma County news stories featuring the latest in breaking news, county government, elections, environment, cultural happenings, and updates on your communities, from Petaluma to Cloverdale, and from Sonoma to Bodega Bay, and everyplace in between.

Subscribe to the Sonoma County First News podcast through our website, the NorCal Mobile App, NPR Podcasts, NPR One, iTunes/Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. 

 
Read More

Northern California
Public Media Newsletter

Get the latest updates on programs and events.