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14 J. Contemp. Legal Issues 479 (2004-2005)
Plyler v. Doe

handle is hein.journals/contli14 and id is 509 raw text is: Plyler v. Doe
Lizzette Herrera (Fall 2001)
Mi hijo, me duele tener que decirte esto... no vas a poder ir a la escuela. No es
porque no te quiero mandar, no es porque te has portado mal. Es porque no
somos de aqui .... I
By denying these children a basic education, we deny them the ability to live
within the structure of our civic institutions, and foreclose any realistic possibility
that they will contribute in even the smallest way to the progress of our Nation.2
Undocumented school-age children challenged a Texas statute that
effectively withheld public funds for their education from the school
districts in which they lived.' Federal district courts, supported by the
Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, declared the statute to be
unconstitutional and enjoined its implementation. In Plyler v. Doe, a
deeply divided Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the statute violated
equal protection in denying to undocumented children the free education
Texas provided to the children of U.S. citizens and legally admitted
1.  My son, it hurts me to have to tell you this... you will not be able to go to
school. It is not because I don't want to send you, it is not because you have misbehaved.
It is because we are not from here .. 
2.  Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202, 223 (1982).
3.  The statute provided: The board of trustees of any public free school district
of this state shall admit into the public free schools of the district free of tuition all
persons who are either citizens of the United States or legally admitted aliens and who
are over five and not over 21 years of age at the beginning of the scholastic year if such
person or his parent or guardian or person having lawful control resides within the school
district. Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 21.031 (c) (Vernon Supp. 1981), quoted in Plyler, 457
U.S. at 205-06 n.1. Legally admitted alien was defined as one who has documentation
that he or she is legally in the United States or who was in the process of securing that
documentation. Plyler, 457 U.S. at 206 n.2.
4.  Plyler consolidated class and individual actions brought in all four Texas
federal districts against the State of Texas and the Texas Education Agency. The
appellees argued that, in addition to violating Fourteenth Amendment equal protection,
the statute had been preempted by federal law. The Supreme Court examined only the
Fourteenth Amendment issue. Plyler, 457 U.S. at 210 n.8. Justice Brennan authored the
majority opinion. Justices Marshall, Blackmun and Powell joined the majority opinion
(along with Justice Stevens), and also authored concurring opinions. Chief Justice

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