No Undocumented Child Left Behind: Plyler v. Doe and the Education of Undocumented Schoolchildren

No Undocumented Child Left Behind: Plyler v. Doe and the Education of Undocumented Schoolchildren

No Undocumented Child Left Behind: Plyler v. Doe and the Education of Undocumented Schoolchildren

No Undocumented Child Left Behind: Plyler v. Doe and the Education of Undocumented Schoolchildren

Synopsis

The 1982 U. S. Supreme Court case of Plyler v. Doe, which made it possible for undocumented children to enroll in Texas public schools, was a watershed moment for immigrant rights in the United States. The Court struck down both a state statute denying funding for education to undocumented children and a municipal school district's attempt to charge an annual $1,000 tuition fee for each undocumented student to compensate for the lost state funding. Yet while this case has not returned to the Supreme Court, it is frequently contested at the state and local level. In No Undocumented Child Left Behind, Michael A. Olivas tells a fascinating history of the landmark case, examining how, 30 years later, Plyler v. Doe continues to suffer from implementation issues and requires additional litigation and vigilance to enforce the ruling.He takes a comprehensive look at the legal regime it established regarding the education of undocumented school children, moves up through its implementation, including direct and indirect attacks on it, and closes with the ongoing, highly charged debates over the Development, Relief, and Education for Minors (DREAM) Act, which aims to give conditional citizenship to undocumented college students who graduated from U.S. high schools and have been in the country for at least five years.

Excerpt

Que triste es un a dios
Mas triste que un a dios
No hay nada en esta vida
Es inmenso el dolor que
En my se horizino al
Desir a dios. Que triste
Es un a dios. a dios

[How sad a goodbye is
There is nothing more sad in this life than a goodbye
The pain that originates in me is immense saying goodbye
How sad is a goodbye
A goodbye]

—written by an unaccompanied minor in detention

In the spring of 2008, I watched with fascination as the Republican candidates for their party’s presidential nomination argued over immigration policy, especially a topic that I had been involved in for many years— whether the undocumented should be allowed to attend college and receive resident tuition. This small topic was one that I had come to consider my own, I and about six others in the United States. the next day, my phone exploded, and I was off to the races. of course, the economy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, trade policy, and other, less significant issues soon reasserted their primacy, so I had the topic to myself again, not even with the full fifteen minutes accorded me by the late Andy Warhol. But it reassured me that the mandala would turn and that the issue would be part of the likely debate that would ensue during comprehensive immigration reform.

In 1982, the United States Supreme Court held that undocumented schoolchildren could attend public schools without regard to their immigration status. Justice William Brennan’s holding in the Plyler v. Doe majority . . .

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