Equity & Diversity

Opinion: Where Might We Be Without Plyler v. Doe? Look at Arizona

By Mary Ann Zehr — April 27, 2010 1 min read

Linda Greenhouse protests the enactment of an anti-immigrant law in Arizona by speculating how undocumented school-age children in this country might be treated if the U.S. Supreme Court hadn’t ruled in favor of such children in Plyler v. Doe in 1982. In that court ruling, the Supreme Court justices decided that undocumented children were entitled to a free K-12 education in this country.

Greenhouse writes in a New York Times column published yesterday: “I have no doubt that but for that ruling, public school systems all over the country would be checking papers and tossing away their undocumented students like so much playground litter.”

She makes that statement based on the climate in Arizona and other places regarding undocumented immigrants. She encourages the residents of Arizona and anyone passing through the state to protest the law signed by Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, last Friday.

Advocates of the law, which requires police to ask for proof of residency from anyone they suspect may be living illegally in the country, say it’s a reasonable approach to keeping undocumented immigrants out of Arizona.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.