Governor Greg Abbott is trying to block some children from being able to go to school to get an education. The Texas Republican says he will challenge the Supreme Court to overturn its 40-year-old decision that requires states to pay for the public education of all children, regardless of citizenship status.
Legal experts and others are blasting Abbott.
The Governor says it’s just too expensive for Texas to pay to educate undocumented children. Last month he spent billions of taxpayer dollars on what was decried as “an expensive campaign prop,” and a “stunt,” to “inspect” every truck crossing the border. His antics cost American companies an estimated $9 billion in just ten days.
Abbott’s border stunt isn’t quite over. He’s redirecting half a billion dollars more to fund it, with money from his Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Department of Public Safety.
But Abbott says there just isn’t money to educate children who are undocumented.
In 1982 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas law, in Plyler v. Doe, finding that states must educate undocumented children. As The New York Times reports, Abbott sees the far-right conservative Supreme Court’s apparent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade as an opening to have the court overturn other decisions he does not like.
“I think we will resurrect that case and challenge this issue again, because the expenses are extraordinary and the times are different than when Plyler versus Doe was issued many decades ago,” Abbott told far-right radio host Joe Pagliarulo, known as “Joe Pags,” the Austin America-Statesman reported.
University of Alabama law professor, MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst, and former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance is blasting Abbott.
“Plyler v Doe is long-standing precedent from 1982 that holds all kids, regardless of citizenship status, are entitled to a K-12 education on 14th Am[endment] equal protection grounds. There is no pending case, no jurisprudential reason to reverse Plyler. It’s race to the bottom stuff,” Vance tweeted Thursday.
Pointing to the Supreme Court’s ruling itself, she calls the attempt to deny children an education “cruel.”
2/2 The 5th Circuit ruled that Texas (the state that tried in the original case to deny kids who weren’t citizens an education) couldn’t keep them out of schools. The reasoning lays bare just how cruel that effort was & is today. pic.twitter.com/sPAWje8jvs
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) May 5, 2022
On Friday, Vance doubled down on her condemnation, noting: “The cruelty has no bottom.”
“I know Plyler, the education case TX Gov Abbott opposes [because] it was implicitly at issue when we challenged Alabama’s 2011 anti-immigration law. That law tried to deny even citizen kids education by collecting data on parents’ citizenship. The cruelty has no bottom,” she said.
Vance was responding to a tweet from Santiago Mayer, the founder and Executive Director of Voters of Tomorrow:
Greg Abbott is now saying the state shouldn’t provide public education to kids. He’s going to SCOTUS over this.
They are coming for your fucking kids.
— Santiago Mayer (@santiagomayer_) May 5, 2022
Attorney Matthew Cortland says “Abbott wants SCOTUS to declare undocumented immigrants to be un-people, without ANY protections.”
Plyler v. Doe stands for the proposition that undocumented immigrants are persons protected by the Due Process Clauses of the 5th and 14th Amendments to the US Constitution
Abbott wants SCOTUS to declare undocumented immigrants to be un-people, without ANY protections. https://t.co/bEK8gj9SWF
— Matthew Cortland (@mattbc) May 5, 2022
Journalist and political analyst Ron Brownstein adds:
Abbott’s indication he wants to deny TX public school ed to kids of undocumented immigrants & Louisiana pushing bill to prosecute women on abortion underscore 1 likely effect of #SCOTUS revoking Roe: emboldening red states to push envelope on other fronts https://t.co/vQ0rYUNufd
— Ronald Brownstein (@RonBrownstein) May 6, 2022