Anurima Bhargava

  • April 18, 2017
    Guest Post

    *This piece is part of the ACSblog symposium: “The Future of the U.S. Constitution

    by Anurima Bhargava, Leadership in Government Fellow, Open Society Foundation and Senior Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School

    Over the past few months, school administrators and teachers have raised concerns about a rise in harassment and bullying in schools; indeed, a significant percentage of the incidents of hate or bias being reported are occurring in the nation’s K-12 schools. At the same time, school officials are concerned about a drop in attendance of students who are undocumented, or who have family members who are undocumented. These students are afraid of being picked up at or on the way to school, or that they will return home and members of their family will be gone. Throughout the country, children are experiencing the loss of dignity and the rise of fear.

    Since January, legislation banning undocumented students or the children of undocumented parents from schools has already been suggested in a few jurisdictions, and the White House is bringing in individuals who have long sought to end birthright citizenship, purportedly to stop mothers from running across the border (or jumping over the proposed wall) to give birth and to save the funds that would be expended upon the education of children born in the United States. 

    The Supreme Court weighed in on the Constitutionality of measures to limit or restrict the ability of students to attend school based on their or their parents’ immigration status in its 1982 decision in Plyler v. Doe.The Court struck down two Texas laws that sought to withhold state funding for the education of undocumented children and authorize school districts to deny public school enrollment to undocumented children.