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Plyler v. Doe (1982)

Definition - What does Plyler v. Doe (1982) mean?

Plyer v. Doe was a Supreme Court case decided in 1982. It held that state statutes withholding education funding to undocumented immigrant children and municipal ordinances seeking to charge undocumented immigrant children tuition fees that other children were not charged were unconstitutional.

The Court's view that undocumented immigrant children fit the definition of "any person" guaranteed equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment was central to its decision.

Justipedia explains Plyler v. Doe (1982)

Plyler v. Doe remains an important decision in federal immigration law. First, it guarantees access to public education for all children present in the United States, no matter what immigration status they hold. Perhaps, more importantly, in deciding the case, the Supreme Court explained that any person present in any American jurisdiction is guaranteed protections under the due process clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

The Court also reasoned that the discrimination created by the Texas statute being examined could not be shown to further some substantial state interest. In fact, the Court ruled that denying undocumented immigrant children public education would harm the state of Texas.

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