MCRC Resolution #5 – Plyler v. Doe

Here is the fifth resolution to be offered to Maricopa County Republicans on Saturday, January 10th:MCRC

Resolution Rectifying Plyler v. Doe

WHEREAS, in 1982, the United States Supreme Court issued one of its most overreaching decisions involving the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, Plyler v. Doe (457 U.S. 202). The Court ruled that children of illegal immigrants have a constitutional right to public education that cannot be refused by states; and

WHEREAS, the Court’s reasoning rested largely on the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads “no state shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The Court misconstrued this provision ignoring the obvious logic that equal protection does not extend to foreigners whose very presence in the country is a crime; and

WHEREAS, the decision has wreaked havoc on the public education and has created an overwhelming financial burden for Americans. The ruling has resulted in a patently unfair system of giving illegal aliens free services with to twelve years of expensive schooling for their children; and

WHEREAS, Plyler v. Doe is a clear usurpation of congressional powers, one that Congress must rectify by clarifying that the Equal Protection Clause.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Maricopa County Republican Committee that the Precinct Committeemen of Maricopa County declare their opposition to the premises of Plyler v. Doe and state their contention that the children of illegal aliens are not entitled to a free public education.

(Passed as amended by a vote of 5 yeas and 1 nay by the MCRC Resolutions Committee on December 12, 2008. David Braswell, Chairman)


  1. Regarding the second point, how is a child’s presence in the United States, whether the child of illegal immigrants or not, a crime? There is no mens rea, and the criminal act itself isn’t the child’s doing. Further, why should any sort of criminal status abrogate the equal protection clause? (To set up a straw man, I’m pretty sure that any regime denying public education to the children of other felons, such as violent criminals or sex offenders, would be invalid)

    I think that the case was properly within the Court’s jurisdiction. The Court had previously exercised jurisdiction over similar cases (such as Palmer v. Thompson, concerning a city’s closing of public swimming facilities rather than desegregating). The resolution here states: “Congress must rectify by clarifying that the Equal Protection Clause.” Congress is not in the position of interpreting the Constitution – that is the role of the Supreme Court.

  2. Jon Altmann says

    This is not a good resolution to adopt – perhaps well intentioned by those sensitive to the resulting costs of illegal immigration – but it sends a message of mean spiritedness towards children.

    There is no one study in Arizona that points to the costs alleged by the resolution. It asks us to vote on a gut feeling without facts.

    Since when do we as a Republican Party go after kids? What if the child is born in the U.S.? By our laws, that child is a U.S. Citizen.

    What if the parents, regardless of status, own property and pay taxes for the property – thus they are paying school district taxes?

    What if the parents are renting from a legitimate apartment firm or landlord who is collecting rental taxes – arguably those taxes – paid by the renter – are going into the coffers that pay for education costs.

    From a practical standpoint, let’s review. Most of these kids are most likely in lower socio-economic settings. It’s 10 AM – would you rather have a bunch of 11 year olds wander the streets and hook up with gangs or criminal elements, or have them in a school learning good values and being productive with their lives? The “cost” to society is far greater if the kid violates the law – police investigation, incarceration and cost to the victim.

    I could cost justify this by saying the very few per capita dollars it takes to cover that kid’s education is “insurance” – he is being pre-occupied with school and not getting into trouble.

    I am a precinct committeeman and I will not be supporting this resolution. It sends the wrong message to the masses who are Republicans and Independents who we want to vote Republican.

    I would have much rathered seen some more resolutions dealing with issues confronting the Legislature and incoming Governor-Apparent Brewer to give them support and direction for a multi-billion dollar deficit ahead.

    I would rather we are “asking” for something more practical and probable – this resolution goes nowhere because it is a Federal issue and highly unlikely a Democratic Congress and Democratic President will take up this baton on this resolution.

    We, as a Republican Party, have great opportunity in Arizona to have some say on education of kids in general and to do something to continue to improve education for our future – our kids. It also provides a marketing edge over other states if we show we have a solid education system – industry that is looking to relocate is not looking for clusters of “dumb and dumber” – but states that can show they have a good education base to support workforce needs.

    Again, the resolution maker may be well-intentioned here, but the damage to the Republican Party is far greater in the message it sends to others. Every time something like this we hand the Democrats more votes and more issues.

    Finally, for those who feel so strongly about this – you go stand at the doors of school houses and turn these kids away. And this is about kids (K-12), not adults. The example we set is the example that molds these children.

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