Taxpayers have spent billions of dollars educating illegal aliens and their citizen children. Much of this education is required by law.
A 1982 Supreme Court case citing the 14th Amendment requires public K-12 schools to teach illegal alien children. The federal government has spent over $1 billion and states have spent over $44 billion educating approximately 12.5 million illegal aliens and 4.2 citizen children of illegal aliens, according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
The 1982 Supreme Court decision Plyler v. Doe prohibited states from denying K-12 students free public education on the basis of their immigration status. The court used the Fourteenth Amendment, which states “no State shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” as the foundation for its ruling.
“By denying these children a basic education, we deny them the ability to live within the structure of our civic institutions, and foreclose any realistic possibility that they will contribute in even the smallest way to the progress of our Nation,” the justices said in a 5-4 verdict. “The record in no way supports the claim that exclusion of undocumented children is likely to improve the overall quality of education in the State.”
Former Chief Justice Warren Burger, dissenting with the ruling, agreed with the court’s general opinion regarding the children of illegal aliens’ right to public education. However, Burger contended that school district policy should trump any federal position.
Ira Mehlman, a FAIR media director, commented on the notion that illegal alien children are entitled to education because of a presumed ability to contribute to society later in life, when speaking with The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“By that logic, we would just have unlimited immigration because everybody has the potential to contribute down the line,” he said. “At some point, it becomes an absurd argument.”
Illegal alien children are also eligible for in-state tuition at some public universities.
“No federal law expressly prohibits a state university from admitting an immigrant student present in the country without authorization,” Jennifer Chacón, a senior associate dean at the University of California, Irvine told The College Fix.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained University of California, Berkeley student Luis Mora in December upon discovery that his visa expired several years ago. The school and national politicians petitioned ICE for his release and Mora continues to attend the university with in-state tuition.
“Luis Mora is in excellent academic standing, attending all his classes diligently, and a positive contribution to our Berkeley community,” Berkeley officials told Campus Reform.
Mehlman said that Congress tried to outlaw state universities’ ability to provide in-state tuition to illegal aliens in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 by requiring the institutions offer the same tuition price to out-of-state students.
“But what happened is California managed to find a loophole in that made their in-state tuition contingent upon having completed three years of high school in California,” the FAIR media director told TheDCNF. “They just took immigration status completely out of the equation.”
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