Undocumented immigrant school children discussed at MC Law - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Undocumented immigrant school children discussed at MC Law School

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By Cheryl Lasseter - bio | email | twitter

There's no estimate of how many undocumented children of undocumented immigrants are going to school in the United States. Back in 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court case Plyler vs. Doe paved the way for those children to legally enroll in school.

Michael Olivas, President of the Association of American Law Schools and outspoken supporter of immigrants' rights, says only about 50,000 undocumented immigrants have made it to college. Right now, ten states offer in-state tuition to undocumented students, but he says all states should.

"There's been a South Carolina, or a Georgia, or an Arizona, or a Mississippi to take a step backwards," he says.

Olivas admits federal immigration policy is not perfect, but he believes policy belongs in the hands of the federal government. "Do we really want 50 immigration policies? Yes, it doesn't work properly. But since when does that allow us to retreat from a constitutional premise?" he says.

As it stands, some states take tougher stances than others, and immigration policy continues to be controversial.

A challenger might ask Olivas where the line should be drawn. The United States is putting undocumented children in school, and their parents are not paying taxes. "They do pay taxes," he says. "They go to the same stores as you, they rent from the same people as you. In many instances, taxes are withheld from their paycheck. They do in fact pay. So that's not where I would draw the line," he says.

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