Yet we have held repeatedly that the importance of a governmental service does not elevate it to the status of a “fundamental right” for purposes of equal protection analysis. Once it is conceded — as the Court does — that illegal aliens are not a suspect class, and that education is not a fundamental right, our inquiry should focus on and be limited to whether the legislative classification at issue bears a rational relationship to a legitimate state purpose. In presenting to both the Senate and House of Representatives several Presidential proposals for reform of the immigration laws — including one to “legalize” many of the illegal entrants currently residing in the United States by creating for them a special status under the immigration laws — the Attorney General noted that this subclass is largely composed of persons with a permanent attachment to the Nation, and that they are unlikely to be displaced from our territory: It is to this question that we now turn. In this instance, the child was not a legal charge of his sister, hence he could not be considered a “resident” of the Texas school district. Scholars who have looked carefully and thoughtfully at the case have determined it to be sui generis unique , not so much limited to its facts but as possessing weak doctrinal force and little constitutional significance. Our conclusion that the illegal aliens who are plaintiffs in these cases may claim the benefit of the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection only begins the inquiry.

The States enjoy no power with respect to the classification of aliens. The stigma of illiteracy will mark them for the rest of their lives. Doe on whether a state may deny public education to the children of illegal immigrants. See ante at U. United States, U. The result was that children lawfully here but residing in different counties received different treatment. Rather, appellees’ status is predicated upon the circumstances of their concededly illegal presence in this country, and is a direct result of Congress’ obviously valid exercise of its “broad constitutional powers” in the field of immigration and naturalization.

Plyler v. Doe | CourseNotes

The courts essqy Plyler v Doe, but why? By contrast, access to the public schools is made available to the children of lawful residents without regard to the temporary. Obviously, no child is responsible for his birth and penalizing the. This Court’s prior cases recognizing that illegal aliens are “persons” protected by the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, which Clauses do not include the phrase “within its jurisdiction,” cannot be distinguished on the asserted ground that persons who have entered the country illegally are not “within the jurisdiction” of a State even if they are present within its boundaries and subject to its laws.


A Conceptualization and Appraisal, 79 Colum.

plyler v doe essay

By a 5 to 4 vote, the Supreme Esaay decided:. In net effect, then, barring undocumented children from the schools would save money, but it would “not necessarily” improve “the quality of education.

In support of this conclusion, the Court’s opinion strings together quotations drawn from cases addressing such diverse matters as the right of individuals under the Due Process Do to learn a foreign language, Meyer v. Appellants have not shown that the families of undocumented children do not comply with the established standards by which the State historically tests residence.

However, the Equal Protection Clause does not dos legislators from classifying among persons on the basis of factors and characteristics over which individuals may be said to lack “control.

plyler v doe essay

The school districts of the State are as free to apply to undocumented children established criteria for determining residence as they are to apply those criteria to any other child who seeks admission. But neither is it merely some governmental “benefit” indistinguishable from other forms of social welfare legislation. A legislative classification that threatens the creation of an underclass of future citizens and residents cannot be reconciled with one of the fundamental purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The State may, in its discretion, use any savings resulting from its tuition requirement to “improve the quality of education” in the public school system, or to enhance the funds available for other social programs, or to reduce the tax burden placed on its residents; each of these ends poyler legitimate.

The Gallegly Amendment also did not appeal to public school officials and coe, the groups most closely identified with the issue. If the Federal Government, plyper chargeable with deporting illegal aliens, fails to do so, it should bear the burdens of their presence here.

Professor Bickel noted that judicial review can have a “tendency over time seriously to weaken the democratic process. See also Dandridge v. It also found that while the “exclusion of all undocumented children from the public schools in Texas would eventually result in economies at some level,” funding from both the State and Federal Governments was based primarily on the number of children enrolled.

Plyler v Doe Essay

Thus, the Court’s decisions long have accorded strict scrutiny to classifications bearing on the right to vote in state elections, and Rodriguez confirmed the “constitutional underpinnings of the right to equal treatment in the voting process. Justia Opinion Summary and Annotations Annotation Primary Holding A state cannot prevent children of undocumented immigrants from attending public school unless a substantial state interest is involved.

plyler v doe essay

The DREAM Act’s near-passage in — coupled with recent visibility of unauthorized college students seeking its passage and fewer deportations of such students under the Obama administration — suggests the widespread public acceptance of these children in the polity. The Court acknowledges that, except in those cases when state classifications disadvantage a “suspect class” or impinge upon a “fundamental right,” the Equal Protection Clause permits a state “substantial latitude” in distinguishing between different groups of persons.


While Plyler had sesay the ability of states to do what Texas had attempted to do, it did essy bar the federal government from doing so. Still others have suggested that fundamental rights are not properly a part of equal protection analysis at all, because they are unrelated to any defined principle of equality. But classifications involving the complete dssay of education plylr, in a sense, unique, for they strike at the heart of equal protection values by involving the State in the creation of permanent class distinctions.

Whatever the current status of these children, the courts below concluded that many will remain here permanently, and that some indeterminate number will eventually become citizens.

Right after we let those youngsters in, I was pleased. Moreover, the Court expressly — and correctly — rejects any suggestion that illegal aliens are a suspect class, ante at U.

History Lesson Plyler v. Doe: Can States Deny Public Benefits to Illegal Immigrants?

The court noted, however, that the increase plyper school enrollment was primarily attributable to the admission of children who were legal residents. Between andthe growth of the immigrant population in Texas — percent, from about 1. Nonetheless, schools are not police, and education officials acting as if they are immigration authorities may drive unauthorized parents even deeper and could undermine parent-school relationships. As the number of unauthorized children graduating from high school and applying to college began to grow, some public higher education institutions and states began in the s to impose or employ residency restrictions that precluded the unauthorized from qualifying as in-state residents for the purpose of lower tuition fees.

It is significant that the Federal Government has seen fit to exclude illegal aliens from numerous social welfare programs, such as the food stamp program, 7 U.

Pplyler, as the Court concedes, this “only begins the inquiry. The discussion by the Court, ante at U. There is no evidence in the record suggesting that illegal entrants impose any significant burden on the State’s economy.