Plyler v. Doe (1982)

Primary tabs

Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202, is a U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court struck down a Texas statute that denied funding to local school districts for the education of children who were not "legally admitted" into the United States, and which authorized local school districts to deny enrollment to such children. The Court held that illegal aliens and their children, though not citizens of the United States or Texas, are people "in any ordinary sense of the term" and, therefore, are afforded Fourteenth Amendment protections, and that since the state law severely disadvantaged the children of without a "compelling state interest” it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court further held that “Appellants seek to distinguish our prior cases, emphasizing that the Equal Protection Clause directs a State to afford its protection to persons within its jurisdiction while the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments contain no such assertedly limiting phrase. In appellants' view, persons who have entered the United States illegally are not ‘within the jurisdiction’ of a State even if they are present within a State's boundaries and subject to its laws.”

See also: Plyler v. Doe

[Last updated in March of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]