Does Every Child in Texas Deserve Access to a Free Public Education? Greg Abbott Doesn’t Think So

by | May 5, 2022 | Education, Policy

In an interview on Wednesday with a rightwing talk show host, Greg Abbott was asked why the state of Texas must educate all children, including the undocumented. The Texas Governor responded by saying the state could be looking into “resurrecting” the Supreme Court case that ruled that states could not deny free public education to a child based off their immigration status.

In 1982, in the landmark decision Plyler v. Doe, the Supreme Court ruled against the state of Texas which had enacted legislation to withhold funds from school districts that allowed undocumented children as students. With Roe v. Wade seemingly on the verge of collapsing, it appears Abbott is intent on getting the current ultra-right Supreme Court to take a crack at another long-held decision.

Plyler v. Doe was a 5-4 decision when it was issued. The five justices that ruled in favor argued that undocumented immigrants and their children were afforded the protections of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

On the thirtieth anniversary of the Plyler v. Doe decision, President Barack Obama announced the establishment of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), which would permit young immigrants brought to the United States as children to remain temporarily in the country with two-year work visas. The state of Texas, led by indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton, led the legal efforts to dismantle DACA. Last year a Texas judge ruled DACA “unlawful,” and blocked new applications into the program (current DACA holders can still submit for two-year renewals).

Photo: Tom Fox-Pool / Getty Images

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A longtime writer and journalist, Jessica was thrilled to join the Texas Signal where she could utilize her unique perspective on politics and culture. As the Features and Opinion Editor, she is responsible for coordinating editorials and segments from diverse authors. She is also the host of the podcast the Tex Mix, as well as the co-host for the weekly SignalCast. Jessica attended Harvard College, is a onetime fitness blogger, and has now transitioned to recreational runner (for which her joints are thankful).

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