In-Depth: Abbott wants to challenge SOTUS & put a stop to free education for undocumented children

Greg Abbott
Posted at 4:04 PM, May 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-05 17:04:29-04

WACO, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott could challenge the U.S. Supreme Court decision that requires states to provide free education to all children including those of undocumented immigrants.

What is Plyler v. Doe? Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States struck down both a state statute denying funding for education to undocumented immigrant children in the United States and a municipal school district's attempt to charge an annual $1,000 tuition fee for each student to compensate for lost state funding.

Why does it matter? Tuition would prevent most undocumented children from ever attending school. Plyler requires that no government entity including local school districts, a state legislature, or the U.S. Department of Education – put policies that would in any way discourage a child from enrolling in school.

Gov. Abbott said on a conservative radio show he's considering challenging the 1982 Supreme Court ruling that states educate all, including undocumented immigrants.

“Texas already long ago sued the federal government about having to incur the costs of the education program, in a case called Plyler versus Doe,” Abbott said on “The Joe Pags Show.”

The comments came days after a leaked draft of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion that a majority of justices are poised to revoke Roe v. Wade, the landmark case establishing the right to abortion.

Abbott claims that the challenges put on the state's public school systems are difficult with students from 155 different countries and are costly.

The 1982 Supreme Court decision made Texas change education laws in 1975 that allowed the state to keep state funds from local districts. States are required to educate children regardless of their immigration status.

Alabama tried to challenge it in 2011 when the state started requiring school districts to ask students for immigration status. The Obama administration sued on the grounds that it violated Plyler.