Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Releases New Report: Triumphs and Challenges on the 30th Anniversary of Plyler v. Doe
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Releases New Report: Triumphs and Challenges on the 30th Anniversary of Plyler v. Doe

Washington, D.C. — The Center for American Progress today released a report, “Triumphs and Challenges on the 30th Anniversary of Plyler v. Doe,” which examines the landmark Supreme Court decision Plyler v. Doe, which guaranteed the right to a public education for all children, regardless of their immigration status. That decision, issued 30 years ago tomorrow, has been a beacon of American values, ensuring that all children have the ability to become educated, integrated, and economically productive.

For its entire lifetime the Plyler decision has been under attack from immigration restrictionists, and today laws such as Alabama’s harsh anti-immigrant law, H.B. 56, have been designed by their creators to directly challenge Plyler and to force today’s more conservative Supreme Court to rehear the case—and to ultimately strike it down. As our report details, striking down Plyler would be economically, politically, and socially costly to the United States.

It is no coincidence that the 30th anniversary of Plyler v. Doe occurs on the same day that TIME magazine chose to highlight the commonality of the undocumented narrative in a blockbuster cover story by Jose Antonio Vargas, who publicly “came out” as an undocumented person one year ago. The plight of undocumented immigrants such as Vargas and the continuing significance of the Plyler decision is becoming louder and clearer as the Supreme Court gets ready to decide the fate of Arizona’s anti-immigration law, S.B. 1070.

Angela Maria Kelley, Vice President for Immigration Policy and Advocacy at the Center for American Progress, commented:

In 1982 the Supreme Court stood by undocumented immigrant youth and ensured them a chance to learn. We celebrate the Court’s wisdom. Now, 30 years later, Jose Vargas reminds us that the job is not done. If given the chance, America’s youth, whether native or foreign born, will grow stronger, and we as a nation will grow alongside them. It’s the story of every generation—a quintessential American story. The time is now for the Courts, Congress and the White House to carry the story forward, not backwards.

Vargas described the reality of America’s undocumented immigrants like himself when he wrote:

We are working with you, going to school with you, paying taxes with you. … what exactly do you want to do with us? More importantly, when will you realize that we are one of you?

Read the report here.

To speak to CAP experts please contact Laura Pereyra at [email protected] or 202.203.8689.