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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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Education For Children Of Undocumented Workers
Program #
Politics, Society

Linda Fregoso
Isais Torres
Feb 23, 1980

Education for Children of Undocumented Workers

Guest Isais Torres discusses the lawsuit challenging a 1975 law that barred undocumented children from public education and its national implications. Torres is a member of the litigation team representing 17 cases against the 1975 state law. He explains that even before the law, many school districts denied undocumented children a public education. The 1975 law originated in legislation sponsored by a Rio Grande Valley politician who was concerned that border schools lacked the resources to educate both documented and undocumented children. Torres argues that the law is unconstitutional because it violates the equal protection of these children, interferes with their right to due process and breaks international treaties.

Moreover, Torres argues, undocumented families who bring their children to the United States tend to be permanent settlers and denying their children an education will create a segment of society undereducated and without marketable skills. Torres takes issue with studies that seem to show large numbers of undocumented children and argues that the logic behind those calculations is faulty. He further argues that studies that claim to indicate the number of undocumented workers in the United States are largely unreliable because they do not distinguish between temporary and permanent migrants and tend to base their figures on the number of apprehended migrants. Torres also responds to critics of educating undocumented children. Torres believes that the courts should find that states cannot regulate education and immigration, and hopes that the legislator will repeal the statute.


Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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