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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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Educating Undocumented Children
Program #

Linda Fregoso
Esteban Flores
Nov 1, 1980

Educating Undocumented Children

Esteban Flores, an instructor at the University of New Mexico, discusses several court rulings on the educational rights of undocumented children. In 1980, Judge Woodrow Seals ruled against the Houston Independent School District when he argued that all children, regardless of legal status, were entitled to free public education. The State of Texas appealed the decision, and the case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the children. Flores describes how he became involved in the case through his research on immigration. He also explains the history of the case and its origins in the economic recession of the late 1960s, during which administrators feared that educating undocumented children would drain the state’s finances. In the mid-1970s, legislators revised the Texas Educational Code and denied free public education to undocumented children.

Flores then discusses how nativism and racism have contributed to exclusionary laws. He also looks at several cases that are currently challenging the state’s revision, including the Houston ISD case and one in Tyler, Texas. He explains several of the issues that each side has presented and looks at the parties that have filed amicus curiae briefs. He also discusses a current case in which the state is challenging its obligation to provide free education. He hopes the latest Supreme Court decision will encourage lower courts to rule in favor of educating undocumented children and discusses other ways in which we can guarantee their access to education.


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

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