Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Wants to ‘Challenge’ Free Education for Children Who Entered the US Illegally

  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he expects a challenge to a key Supreme Court education decision.
  • The case, Plyler v. Doe, requires states to offer free public education to all students, including children of undocumented immigrants.
  • Abbott’s comments come just days after a leaked document appeared to show the Supreme Court ready to overturn its previous Roe v. Wade decision.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he thinks his state will “resurrect” and “challenge” a 40-year-old Supreme Court decision requiring states to offer free public education to all children, including undocumented immigrants, the Austin American-Statesman first reported.

The Supreme Court case in question, Plyler v. Doe, was brought to the court after Texas passed a law prohibiting the state from using public funds to educate children who came into the country illegally. The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision in 1982 that the state’s actions violated the 14th Amendment’s “Equal Protection Clause” and struck down Texas’ law.

Abbott’s comments came during a right-wing radio talk show, The Joe Pags Show, after the host complained about the “burden on communities” that he argued immigrants create.

“The challenges put on our public systems is extraordinary,” Abbott replied. “Texas already long ago sued the federal government about having to incur the costs of the education program, in a case called Plyler v. Doe. And the Supreme Court ruled against us on the issue about denying, or let’s say Texas having to bear that burden.”

Abbott continued: “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.”

The governor’s radio show appearance came days after Politico published a leaked copy of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion which appeared to show the court ready to overturn the country’s federal abortion protections from the Roe v. Wade court decision of 1973.

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” the draft opinion said.

While the draft was not final, and Roe v. Wade has yet to legally be overturned, legal experts told Insider’s Natalie Musumeci that the leaked opinion could be used as a “roadmap” to strike down other court decisions and rights also protected by the 14th Amendment.

“There is a roadmap to saying that, hey, if judges have created laws that don’t explicitly exist in the Constitution, and if you don’t think they’re fundamental, they can go away tomorrow,” said Maxwell Mak, a political science professor at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

In a statement to Insider, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, Oni Blair, lambasted Abbott’s idea.

“The state is responsible for ensuring equal access to education for every child. Blocking access to schools and refusing to provide education for all children would be a complete abdication of the role of government,” Blair said. “The Constitution requires public schools to provide equal access to education for all students regardless of immigration status.”

Natalie Musumeci contributed to this article