Gov. Abbott mulls legal challenge for law allowing illegal alien children free public education

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is mulling filing a legal challenge against a 40-year-old Supreme Court ruling, Plyler v. Doe, that states illegal alien children are entitled access to free public education.

Buoyed by what appears to be the Supreme Court’s intent to overturn Roe v. Wade, Abbott said during a radio show appearance Friday that he’d like Texas to try to make a second go at Plyler v. Doe given how much the realities of illegal migration have changed in the past 40 years.

“Texas long ago sued the federal government about having to incur the cost of the education program. It’s a case called Plyler v. Doe, and the Supreme Court ruled against us on the issue of Texas having to bear that burden,” he said while speaking on “The Joe Pags Show.”

“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 v. Doe was issued many decades ago,” he added, referencing the fact that illegal migration has exploded in recent years.

Listen:

The origins of Plyler v. Doe trace back to 1975, when Texas instituted a statute “that denied funding to public schools for the education of the non-citizen children of undocumented immigrants” and authorized “local school districts to deny public school enrollment to children not ‘legally admitted’ to the country,” according to Law & Crime.

Seven years later in 1982, the Supreme Court ruled that the statute violated the Fourteenth Amendment.

“The case raised an Equal Protection Clause challenge based on Texas’s disparate treatment of the children of undocumented immigrants as compared with the that of other children within the state. The Court’s 5-4 majority sided with the children and against Texas, and held that Texas had illegally discriminated against the non-citizen children of undocumented immigrants,” Law & Crime notes.

Abbott doubled down on his interest in overturning Plyler v. Doe when pressed about it during an unrelated press conference later Friday afternoon.

“Abbott said Texas was mostly seeing Mexican immigration [back in the 80s], and there was only the need to teach the Spanish language at schools in the state. Now, Abbott said, Texas is seeing immigrants from 105 different countries who speak dozens of languages and the cost to hire teachers would present a burden on state taxpayers,” according to the New York Post.

He reportedly added that illegal alien children cost the state at least $7,500 per child annually, with the cost being even higher for those “who need special instruction.”

“That leads to education obligations, as well as other obligations that are simply unsustainable and unaffordable. It should be the federal government, not the state of Texas, footing this bill,” he said.

And it’s reportedly a very large bill given the stunning number of illegal alien families crossing into the U.S., particularly through the southern Texas border, on any given day.

As word of Abbott’s plans spread Friday, backlash began to emerge from the left, starting with the White House, where press secretary Jen Psaki panned the plan as not fitting with the “mainstream point of view.”

“Well, that’s ultra MAGA right there, as the President talked about yesterday. We’re talking about — I think, just to restate that — denying public education to kids, including immigrants to this country. I mean, that is not the main — a mainstream point of view,” she said.

She cited no data to corroborate her claim.

What’s known is that a Phi Delta Kappa International/Gallup poll conducted in 2013 found that a 55 percent majority of Americans “oppose free public education for the children of parents who entered the country illegally,” as reported at the time by the Los Angeles Daily News.

A more recent poll conducted last year by the Cato Institute found that a 58 percent majority of Republicans oppose and 85 percent majority of Democrats support illegal alien children being allowed to attend public schools.

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