Plyler v. Doe

The Supreme Court in Washington, Dec. 3, 2021. The Supreme Court has turned away a plea from parents to block a new admissions policy at a prestigious high school in northern Virginia that a lower court had found discriminates against Asian American students.
The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Dec. 3, 2021.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Law & Courts Conservatives’ Checklist: U.S. Supreme Court Education Decisions to Overrule
Here are five education issues that could be targets for reconsideration if Roe v. Wade falls.
Mark Walsh, May 11, 2022
3 min read
supreme court SOC
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Law & Courts Leaked Abortion Draft Has Supreme Court Education Cases in Political Cross-Hairs
Conservatives have taken aim at decisions on educating immigrants, race in admissions, and religion. Liberals have some cases in mind, too.
Mark Walsh, May 10, 2022
8 min read
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference in Austin, Texas, on June 8, 2021.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference in Austin, Texas, on June 8, 2021.
Eric Gay/AP
States Texas Governor Sparks Backlash With Talk of Rolling Back Free School for Immigrant Kids
Critics assailed Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's idea as “hare-brained” and “cruel.”
Robert T. Garrett, The Dallas Morning News, May 6, 2022
5 min read
Equity & Diversity Q&A A Look Back at How Undocumented Children Won the Right to Attend U.S. Schools
The fight over the rights of undocumented students has its origins in Tyler, a northeast Texas city where municipal leaders feared their school system would be overrun with immigrant families and students.
Corey Mitchell, June 19, 2020
3 min read
Equity & Diversity Civil Rights Group Warns States: Don't Bar Immigrant Students From Schools
Federal law established through a 1982 U.S. Supreme Court decision makes clear that schools and districts cannot adopt enrollment policies that deny or discourage children from enrolling because of immigration status.
Corey Mitchell, October 31, 2017
2 min read
Education Supreme Court Immigration Ruling Resonates 30 Years Later
Thirty years ago this week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a state may not deny access to a basic public education to any child, whether that child is present in the country legally or not, a decision with fresh resonance today.
Mark Walsh, June 12, 2012
4 min read
Equity & Diversity Scholar Calls Plyler v. Doe Ruling 'Resilient'
The 1982 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that students are entitled to a free K-12 education regardless of their immigration status has been "resilient," in part because of strong backing from educators over the years, a law scholar says in an analysis of the ruling.
Mary Ann Zehr, September 20, 2010
1 min read
Equity & Diversity Opinion: Where Might We Be Without Plyler v. Doe? Look at Arizona
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 scuh children in Plyer v. Doe in 1982.
Mary Ann Zehr, April 27, 2010
1 min read
Law & Courts News in Brief Plyler Judge Dies
U.S. Senior District Judge William Wayne Justice, who more than a quarter-century ago ordered Texas to educate undocumented children, died on Oct. 13.
Mary Ann Zehr, October 27, 2009
1 min read
Education A Scholar's Look at MALDEF's Role in Plyler v. Doe
For the 25th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Plyler v. Doe--which obligated public schools to enroll children regardless of their immigration status--I spent three days last month reporting in Tyler, Texas, where the case originated. The ruling was issued on June 15, 1982.
Mary Ann Zehr, June 6, 2007
1 min read
Equity & Diversity Case Touched Many Parts of Community
In a close-knit Texas city, many of those involved in the Plyer v. Doecase remain, assess impact.
Mary Ann Zehr, June 4, 2007
3 min read
Education A Foundation Magazine Looks Back 25 Years to Plyler v. Doe
I found it refreshing to read in the Carnegie Reporter, a magazine of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, an article about educating immigrant students that didn't mention the No Child Left Behind Act.
Mary Ann Zehr, May 7, 2007
1 min read
Education Illegal Aliens Entitled to Education, Court Rules
Correspondent Susan Levine in Houston contributed to this report.
Eileen White, June 23, 1982
7 min read
Education The Supreme Court's Decision in Plyler v. Doe
Following are excerpts from the Supreme Court's opinion in Plyler v. Doe, the Texas case on the education of illegal-alien children. The majority opinion, excerpts of which begin on this page, was written by Associate Justice William J. Brennan Jr. Section I of the opinion, which gives the background of the case, was omitted. The full text of the dissent, written by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, follows.

In the text, 21.031 refers to the Texas statute allowing school districts to charge tuition to illegal-alien children. One asterisk [

  • ] denotes a deleted footnote; two asterisks [
  • ] denote a deleted citation. Where footnotes were retained, they appear in brackets and in italic type.
June 23, 1982
26 min read