Politics

Texas Gov. Abbott sparks controversy after comments of rolling back free school for migrant student

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has attracted fierce criticism from migrant advocates and educators by suggesting Texas may challenge a longstanding U.S. Supreme Court decision that says states and localities can’t bar undocumented children from attending public schools.

On Thursday, critics hit out at the Republican governor as “hare-brained” and “cruel.” Beto O’Rourke, Abbott’s Democratic opponent in the November election, went further. “He’s trying to defund our public schools,” O’Rourke said at a news conference in Austin.

The backlash followed Abbott’s appearance by phone on a San Antonio radio talk show, during which he agreed with the host that the costs of educating a growing number of immigrant children in public schools and in many languages “are extraordinary.”

Abbott also said “times are different” from four decades ago, when the high court ruled unconstitutional a Texas law that allowed school districts to charge tuition to parents of unauthorized immigrant school children.

“The challenges put on our public systems is extraordinary,” Abbott told WOIA-AM’s conservative host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo in a program that aired Tuesday night. (Though Pagliarulo’s website says the show aired Wednesday, that’s incorrect, Abbott’s office confirmed.) “Texas already, long ago, sued the federal government about having to incur the costs of that education program,” Abbott said.

He added, “I think we will resurrect that case and challenge this issue again because the expenses are extraordinary, and the times are different than when Plyler vs. Doe was issued many decades ago.”

Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, slammed Abbott as an “irresponsible” and “desperate” practitioner of “dog-whistle populism.”

“First, Abbott needs some remedial education on Plyler itself,” Saenz said in a written statement. “This was a case brought against Texas, not by Texas, as Abbott asserted. The case was filed by MALDEF on behalf of students threatened by a Texas statute allowing schools to exclude undocumented students from public school.”

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH 

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: CALLER.COM

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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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