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In the 1982 case of Plyler v. Doe, the Supreme Court was asked to rule on the constitutionality of denying undocumented immigrants access to a free K-12 public education. A divided Court issued a 5-to-4 decision, including three concurring opinions and one dissenting opinion. The Court held that Texas education code § 21.031 violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment when it denied schools funding for undocumented children. The opinion emphasized the critical importance of education in our society and the consequences of a complete denial of school access to undocumented immigrants.

Further, the Court stressed that states may not penalize undocumented students for the illegal actions of their parents. Technically, the Court applied rational-basis scrutiny, yet these factors appeared to generate a ...

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