Texas GOP Governor Considers Challenging 1982 Ruling Requiring Free Public Education

Yves here. The widely-anticipated Roe v. Wade reversal is bringing out all sorts of punitive impulses on other fronts. The big reason for resentment of undocumented immigrants is the assumption that they don’t pay taxes. But they do, even Social Security taxes. From the Columbus Dispatch last year:

A report from the office shows that 50% to 75% of undocumented immigrants pay billions in taxes each year — and have been since the Internal Revenue Service created a program 25 years ago allowing people without a Social Security number to file taxes.

When it comes to state and local taxes, undocumented immigrants pay more than $11 billion a year, according to a 2017 report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a nonpartisan nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. In Ohio, they paid $83.2 million in state and local taxes in 2017, according to the institute.

On top of that, employers also use and re-use Social Security numbers for the purpose of withholding payroll taxes from undocumented workers.

And these immigrants pay gas taxes, property taxes via their rent, and sales taxes.

By Julia Conley. Originally published at Common Dreams

Days after rights advocates warned that the U.S. Supreme Court’s expected overruling of Roe v. Wade portends rollbacks of numerous rights for people in the U.S., Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas said he wants to challenge a 40-year-old ruling that affirmed states must offer free public education to all children.

In a radio interview with right-wing host Joe Pagliarulo late Wednesday, Abbott discussed border security and agreed with the host’s claim that the children of undocumented immigrants place a “real burden on communities” when they attend public schools, as the Plyler v. Doe ruling required states to allow in 1982.

“The challenges put on our public systems [are] extraordinary,” Abbott said. “Texas already long ago sued the federal government about having to incur the costs of the education program… And the Supreme Court ruled against us on the issue about denying, or let’s say Texas having to bear that burden.”

“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 added.

The Plyler case arose from a 1975 decision by the state of Texas to permit school districts to deny admission or charge tuition to undocumented immigrant families. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed a class action lawsuit after Tyler Independent School District charged $1,000 per year to children who did not provide proof of American citizenship.

The case eventually was taken up by the Supreme Court and the justices ruled 5-4 that all children in the U.S. were entitled to free public education under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection clause.

Abbott’s comments came two days after a draft opinion was leaked from the U.S. Supreme Court showing that the court’s right-wing majority voted earlier this year to overrule Roe, a move that would eliminate abortion rights for millions of women in states hostile to reproductive justice.

“The leaked opinion is an invitation to all manner of challenges to deeply rooted precedents,” said Tom Jawetz, former vice president of immigration policy at the Center for American Progress.

Abbott’s threat to the children of undocumented immigrants, said one healthcare advocate, exemplified the late comedian George Carlin’s summation of the anti-choice movement’s views on the rights of children.

“I can’t believe this has to be said, but ALL children deserve access to a quality public education,” said Gwenn Burud, a Democratic candidate for the Texas state Senate. “Unlike the other side, I understand what settled precedent means.”

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