Plyer V. Doe Case

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United States Government Final Project Individual Essay Alexander Celeste / March 2010 In the Plyler v. Doe case, argued on December 1st, 1981, the Supreme Court was to decide if Texas can deny to undocumented school-age children the free public education that it provides to children who are citizens of the United States or legally admitted aliens. “The more difficult question is whether the Equal Protection Clause has been violated by the refusal of the State of Texas to reimburse local school boards for the education of children who cannot demonstrate that their presence within the United States is lawful, or by the imposition by the school boards of the burden of tuition on those children. It is to this question that we now turn.” On June 15th, 1982 they held that this Texas law was unconstitutional, hence they affirmed the judgement of the Court of Appeals. I agree whole-heartedly with the majority on this decision. Appellants argued that undocumented aliens, because of their immigration status, are not “persons within the jurisdiction” of the State of Texas, and that they therefore have no right to the equal protection of Texas law. The Supreme Court rejected this argument saying “Whatever his status under the immigration laws, an alien is surely a person in any ordinary sense of the term. Aliens, even aliens whose presence in this country is unlawful, have long been recognized as persons guaranteed due process of law by the 5th and 14th Amendments. Indeed, we have clearly held that the 5th Amendment protects aliens whose presence in this country is unlawful from invidious discrimination by the Federal Government.” Appellants also suggested that undocumented children are singled out because their unlawful presence within the United States renders them less likely than other children to remain within the boundaries of the State, and to put their education

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