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The SPAN Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN) is pleased to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the US Supreme Court decision in Plyler v. Doe, which held that all children, regardless of immigration status, have a constitutional right to a free public education from kindergarten through 12th grade. This landmark civil rights case grew out of a 1977 attempt by the Tyler Independent School District in Texas to oust the children of undocumented workers – farmhands for the most part – from the school system and to charge their families to attend public school. Writing for the majority of the Court, Justice William J. Brennan concluded that “education provides the basic tools by which individuals might lead economically productive lives to the benefit of us all,” and that the state could not constitutionally deny such an education to any children within its borders. SPAN proudly supports the right of all children in NJ to attend public schools without barriers to their participation. For more information, go to: https://www.maldef.org/resources/40th-anniversary-of-plyler-v-doe/.

SPAN is also happy to celebrate the 10th anniversary of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has protected hundreds of thousands of young people – “Dreamers” – who came to the US as children from deportation and provided them with access to work permits and higher educational opportunities. Yet we remain keenly aware of DACA’s limitations and of the many undocumented immigrants who are left unprotected despite their immeasurable contributions to our state and nation. Our country’s future depends on providing opportunities to all our nation’s residents. SPAN urges Congress to pass legislation that provides an accessible path to full membership in, and access to, the benefits of our nation. For more information on DACA, go to https://www.huffpost.com/entry/obama-daca-anniversary-americano-musical_n_62a7a5dae4b0cdccbe540672.

Diana Autin

Executive Director

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