During recent testimony before the House Education and the Workforce Committee, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said that “the issue of reporting undocumented students is a ‘school decision’ and ‘local community decision,’ adding that ‘we have laws and we also are compassionate.'” That is an accurate, well-balanced statement: for better or worse, Americans do not have a legal duty to aid law enforcement.
But it wasn’t good enough for the American Civil Liberties Union, which tweeted:
Any school that reports a child to @ICEgov would violate the Constitution. SCOTUS has made clear that every child in America has a right to a basic education, regardless of immigration status. As usual, DeVos has no idea what she’s talking about. https://t.co/KvDRI6QPr2
— ACLU (@ACLU) May 22, 2018
This tweet is simply idiotic. The ACLU is referring to Plyler v. Doe, which held that a state cannot withhold funding from school districts in proportion to their population of illegal immigrants. Right or wrong–it was a 5-4 decision–Plyler is based on the 14th Amendment, which requires states to provide equal protection of the laws for all who are “within its jurisdiction,” whether legal residents or not.
The Plyler case does not hold that “every child in America has a right to a basic education, regardless of immigration status.” It certainly does not hold that a school district cannot cooperate with law enforcement authorities with regard to the immigration laws–unlike, apparently, all other laws. Assisting the enforcement of federal law is unconstitutional? The case says no such thing, and the proposition is a legal absurdity.
I’m so old, I can remember when the ACLU actually cared about civil liberties. Now it is just another far-left pressure group, and not even a smart one. Maybe today’s tweet was an unauthorized act by an intern. Or maybe Twitter makes everyone stupid. One way or another, the ACLU embarrassed itself today.