Happy belated 4th of July to everyone!
In the spirit of Independence Day, I wanted to share with you an article that was forwarded to me from the SURGE mailing list. It’s a great read and discusses xenophobia in the US and how North Carolina’s latest trend to bar undocumented residents from its community colleges falls in line with the trend. The author is Dan Pollitt, a professor emeritus at the UNC Chapel-Hill School of Law.
The Texas court case to which Pollitt is refers in his column is Plyler v. Doe (1982). At the time, Texas had established a statute which withheld “from local school districts any state funds for the education of children who were not ‘legally admitted’ into the United States, and which authorize(d) local school districts to deny enrollment to such children.” However, the Supreme Court found the statute to be unconstitutional as it violated the 14th Amendment and its Equal Protection Clause.
As Dan Pollitt writes, “(t)here are dozens of cases in which the court has ruled in favor of immigrants’ rights—legal or undocumented. The theme of these decisions, as one justice wrote, is that ‘Resident aliens, like citizens, pay taxes, support the economy, serve in the Armed Forces, and contribute in myriad other ways to our society’ and cannot be denied an equal opportunity to engage in the normal ways to earn a livelihood.”
Every person deserves a chance to be reap the benefits of living in the United States, and I’ll leave you with the Equal Protection Clause for your post-Independence Day reflection:
“No State shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Happy 4th, y’all, and let the discussion commence.