Texas GOP Governor Considers Challenging 1982 Ruling Requiring Free Public Education

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Yves here. The widely-anticipated Roe v. Wade reversal is bringing out all sorts of punitive impulses on other fronts. The big reason for resentment of undocumented immigrants is the assumption that they don’t pay taxes. But they do, even Social Security taxes. From the Columbus Dispatch last year:

A report from the office shows that 50% to 75% of undocumented immigrants pay billions in taxes each year — and have been since the Internal Revenue Service created a program 25 years ago allowing people without a Social Security number to file taxes.

When it comes to state and local taxes, undocumented immigrants pay more than $11 billion a year, according to a 2017 report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a nonpartisan nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. In Ohio, they paid $83.2 million in state and local taxes in 2017, according to the institute.

On top of that, employers also use and re-use Social Security numbers for the purpose of withholding payroll taxes from undocumented workers.

And these immigrants pay gas taxes, property taxes via their rent, and sales taxes.

By Julia Conley. Originally published at Common Dreams

Days after rights advocates warned that the U.S. Supreme Court’s expected overruling of Roe v. Wade portends rollbacks of numerous rights for people in the U.S., Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas said he wants to challenge a 40-year-old ruling that affirmed states must offer free public education to all children.

In a radio interview with right-wing host Joe Pagliarulo late Wednesday, Abbott discussed border security and agreed with the host’s claim that the children of undocumented immigrants place a “real burden on communities” when they attend public schools, as the Plyler v. Doe ruling required states to allow in 1982.

“The challenges put on our public systems [are] extraordinary,” Abbott said. “Texas already long ago sued the federal government about having to incur the costs of the education program… And the Supreme Court ruled against us on the issue about denying, or let’s say Texas having to bear that burden.”

“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 v. Doe was issued many decades ago,” the governor added.

The Plyler case arose from a 1975 decision by the state of Texas to permit school districts to deny admission or charge tuition to undocumented immigrant families. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed a class action lawsuit after Tyler Independent School District charged $1,000 per year to children who did not provide proof of American citizenship.

The case eventually was taken up by the Supreme Court and the justices ruled 5-4 that all children in the U.S. were entitled to free public education under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection clause.

Abbott’s comments came two days after a draft opinion was leaked from the U.S. Supreme Court showing that the court’s right-wing majority voted earlier this year to overrule Roe, a move that would eliminate abortion rights for millions of women in states hostile to reproductive justice.

“The leaked opinion is an invitation to all manner of challenges to deeply rooted precedents,” said Tom Jawetz, former vice president of immigration policy at the Center for American Progress.

Abbott’s threat to the children of undocumented immigrants, said one healthcare advocate, exemplified the late comedian George Carlin’s summation of the anti-choice movement’s views on the rights of children.

“I can’t believe this has to be said, but ALL children deserve access to a quality public education,” said Gwenn Burud, a Democratic candidate for the Texas state Senate. “Unlike the other side, I understand what settled precedent means.”

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  1. Joe Well

    It needs to be repeated again and again that there is not a firm line between documented and undocumented. A lot of people are in a kind of legal limbo while they wait for backlogged courts and bureaucracies to deal with their claims to asylum or other status. You can have a situation where you have the right to be in the US but not to work or use the financial system (living on air, I suppose). It’s a mess and any crack down based on immigration status will create a lot of administrative challenges and a lot of collateral damages.

  2. Tony Wikrent

    So, the GOP is becoming even more the ANTI-Republican Party. It’s a tragedy that Democrats and others are not calling out these Anti-Republicans on what is actually the crucial issue : what are the duties of the state under a republican form of government. This issue was clearly addressed in some of the historical court rulings. It is in the general public interest that ALL children be given the essential tools of critical thinking required to fulfill their responsibilities as citizens of the republic.

    1. Skunk

      It’s also an anti-conservative party. The policies of late are a sharp departure from the idea of “conserving” the status quo.

    2. neo-realist

      The previous president allowed the GOP to give expression to the true anti-populist id that always resided deep within the base. No so much anti-republican party, but the real republican party.

  3. Mikerw0

    What is left unsaid is that this also part of the libertarian plan to dismantle, or at least seriously denigrate, public education.

    The minority has the court they want. It is not an over reaction to say that a massive reordering of what we thought America is/was is about to happen.

    1. Bobby Gladd

      “a massive reordering of what we thought America is/was is about to happen“

      Agree. Sadly.

    2. Questa Nota

      Can’t wait for those lucrative SPACs, public-private partnerships and assorted wealth transfers to kick in.


    3. marym

      State legislators are rapidly checking off boxes on the “First they came for…” list. It’s notable that schoolchildren are the target in several categories, though a Venn diagram of the attackers – elite and rank and file – would probably include many who also claim to be all about saving babies when it comes to abortion and contraception.

    4. Big River Bandido

      Make no mistake. Democrat politicians cheer all of these developments, in the privacy of their donors’ living rooms. Even more so, because they can pretend to oppose it.

  4. Michael Ismoe

    Greg Abbott killed a thousand of his constituents during The Big Freeze. Do you think ending universal grade school will hurt him?

    I’m waiting for someone to try to repeal the 13th Amendment. The Congressional Black Caucus will probably endorse it if they need campaign cash.

    1. T_Reg

      Your last sentence is painfully plausible.

      “When it comes time to hang the capitalists, they will vie with each other for the rope contract.”

  5. T_Reg

    Abbott will satisfy the requirements of the 14th Amendment by eliminating public education entirely.

  6. DJG, Reality Czar

    What can I say?

    “They hate us for our freedoms.”

    Well, that statement is starting to look a tad odd, as the nihilist-lite rightwingers (obviously, not all conservatives) try to strip away the basics of modern civilization, like universal free education. Going after universal free public education?

    What’s next?

    And some people are skeptical that the plan in nihilism-lite-land is to get rid of birth control (the Griswold decision), marriage equality (Obergefell), and, who knows?, even the Loving decision.

      1. Synoia

        Neoliberalism is strong amongst the rich, Independent of their stated political views.

    1. Fraibert

      While not as bad as _Roe_ in reasoning, _Plyler_ as a decision is Justice Brennan making special sauce from bits and pieces of equal protection doctrine to reach his desired result. It is not an impressively reasoned decision, but one that simply made it past Justice Brennan’s “rule of five.”

      Put in larger context, it seems to me that the conservatives are taking a strategy of picking off the weakly reasoned cases where the Court decided to become super-legislator. I do not think they intend to attack the famously celebrated cases (_Loving_ or _Obergefell_ were cited above) on _stare decisis_ grounds. But, this approach of dealing with the weak cases still works insofar as it creates a legal climate where legislatures can reclaim some of the powers they had implicitly lost to the Court.

      With that said, _Plyler_ in particular is also a special target because its reasoning can be read to imply that birthright citizenship is Constitutionally mandated. I used to assume that was true but became I became much less certain on that point after reading a law review by Professor Philip Hamburger, an originalist (presumably conservative) scholar, a number of years ago.

      1. rob

        I think people put too much stock in the idea that the history of the supreme court has “good”decisions, and “bad” decisions.
        This really just seems to be fetishizing the supreme court.
        Since the founding of this country, the supreme court has engendered genocide, slavery, capital over labor rights, money as speech, corporations as people, etc..
        The tides of each day, sometimetimes dribble through the lens of the supreme court, but in general, the court just goes along with whatever some prevailing power wants it to. While perennially denying the rights of the majority that is always under some form of tyranny of the forces of “the powers that be”.
        It used to be attributable to being a bunch of old white men… but now the hypocrisy enabling judicial branch can be blamed on everyone being an idiot.
        The king is the law.

  7. aj

    If you take the 30 seconds it takes to read the simple text of the 14th Amendment and you understand that it was created at the same time of the 13th Amendment, you’ll know that the intention behind it was to protect the new freed slaves from being discriminated against at the state level. Thus in the Jim Crow era we get the Separate but Equal challenge that said the laws didn’t violate the equal protection clause.

    The fact that SCOTUS used that clause to hang their hat for abortion rights, interracial and gay marriage makes no sense to anyone but legal scholars who have to jump through all sorts of hoops to have it remotely make sense. These things should have always been handled through legislation or constitutional Amendments clearly enumerating more constitutional rights.

    We’ve been able to keep the band-aid on for almost 50 years, but is it any surprise that after actively tying to pull the band-aid off for that long, they have finally succeeded? And who can we blame for not replacing the band-aid with a more permanent solution.

    This is like using duct-tape to keep your car running. In a race where the other drivers are actively trying to rip off the duct tape. And the reason you used duct tape in the first place was because all the mechanics refused to actually fix the car.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      What would stop them from just declaring these federal laws “unconstitutional”? The Handmaiden’s Tale wasn’t a warning; it was a blueprint.

      1. aj

        Nothing. The only way would be to add an amendment. I personally think the 9th Amendment to be a better argument for these things, but “legal scholars” have determined that the 9th Amendment doesn’t actually do anything (for what reason I don’t know). I think we need to explicitly state some of these additional rights. For example, if you had an amendment that delineated marriage and bodily autonomy as rights, then you could use the Equal Protection clause to say those rights apply to everyone. It’s hard to use equal protection to argue for marriage rights, when the right to get married isn’t stated anywhere.

        Let me also be clear that I do agree that these things should be rights, along with others like the right to healthcare and education, just that it takes a dubious interpretation of the 14th amendment to get us where we are today. Congress critters haven’t wanted to expend the political capital it would take in order to make this happen for almost 50 years and here we are today.

        1. JBird4049

          “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

          >>>…but “legal scholars” have determined that the 9th Amendment doesn’t actually do anything (for what reason I don’t know)

          It does seem like the better amendment for such things like abortion, doesn’t? However, it looks to me like the courts use verbal legerdemain to constantly reduce our rights and enhance the power of the powerful. Restated, I keep reading that what I am reading in the Constitution, or in American history, or in the Founders’ writings do not mean what they say. AFAIK, this is true for the entire Bill of Rights with the possible exception of the Third Amendment (housing soldiers in people’s homes). It all seems to be either an appeal to authority or hand-waving. More, that one must be an “expert” to be able to understand or have an opinion on such weighty things. And just who can tell is an expert? Only another expert of course.

          This does not mean that I am right on anything, but it does seem that most times the courts makes a decision that disagrees with the plain text of the Constitution, it is the wealthy, the powerful and/or conservative/neoliberal people who get the win.

          1. the last D

            Thus it always was, and is, because the us constitution was always intended to benefit the wealthy and suppress the poor/everyone else. It does exactly just that, and what is so unbelievable, is the general consensus that the constitution is a sacred text, much like the bible. Here in the usa, people have grown rather fond of their chains, and flaunt them like the slinkiest sirens on the red carpet.

          2. Fraibert

            On your particular Ninth Amendment point, it was understood as long ago as 1833 in Justice Story’s very influential _Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States_ that the purpose of the Ninth Amendment was to make it clear that omission of a particular right in the Bill of Rights did not imply that the right did not exist. However, there’s a key piece of text in the Amendment itself that makes it incompatible with modern judicial activism–it relates to rights “retained by the people.” A right that is “retained” seems like it has to be one that was familiar or at least recognizable to the Constitution’s drafters.

            Otherwise, you are correct that there has been a heavy gloss put on the Constitution over the years that requires real effort to learn. Interestingly, a significant amount of this gloss is political “liberals” (understood broadly), who over the generations sought both to expand the overall reach of governmental power (especially federal power) and to prevent the government from infringing on increasingly broad notions of rights. (A good bit of the First Amendment free speech jurisprudence, for example, probably would seem completely wrong to the founders.)

            However, I’m not sure that most readers of this blog would want the Constitution enforced as originally intended–to start with, most of the administrative state reasonably could be construed as unconstitutional because the Supreme Court’s New Deal Commerce Clause cases massively expanded federal power well beyond anything the founders could have imagined.

            To be honest, the Constitution is a (small c) conservative document, intended to outline a form of government with specific, limited powers. Legislation was supposed to be difficult to pass. Moreover, the federal Bill of Rights, in this overall scheme, should not have been that important because the States were supposed to be the primary political actors.

            The world has changed but it’s always been easier to play with the current Constitution than write a new one. And that’s how it is now.

            1. JBird4049

              Thank you for the thoughtful reply. I would say that there are several reasons for the states’ losing their power as well as poorly thought out judicial decisions.

              First, is slavery. Many people, including the Founders, knew without hyperbole that keeping slavery in was going to create actual fields of blood in the future. What I do not think people predicted was that because of that war the United States of America are united became the United States of America is united. The cost of freeing the slaves besides up to one million dead was to make us from an are to an is. A change in grammar. That many people then as now believe in racial superiority and violence forces people into a choice of evils. Freedom for their fellow Americans or actual instead of nominally separate states?

              Secondly, instead of intelligently solving other serious problems with base of the Constitution, issues become so overwhelming that some shack is banged together to “solve” the problem, which will create more problems. The Great Depression and the corruption and concentration of wealth that helped to create it was decades in happening. The wealthy, and their conservative members of the Supreme Court, refused to allow change, forget about intelligent ones. Then when real revolution is about to happen, another necessary shack is built to forestall it.

              We could rethink our intellectual foundations; it was done at the beginning when the country was created using the Enlightenment and Classical Liberalism. Took a few decades, but Americans of the time did it, and it was not just the work of those famous Founders. It was the work of many.

              That would mean believing that we can, push aside the current corrupt and honestly stupid ruling class, and do the hard work of truly thinking, debating, and deciding what we want. Are we, the current generation of Americans capable, and more importantly willing to do it again? Or is screaming and possibly shooting going to be the choice?

          3. WombatPM

            I wonder if there is a case to be made that government forcing a women to carry a pregnancy is a violation of the Third Amendment. Of course they will argue that the child is not a solider, and that forcing people to house non-military personnel is allowed. Can’t wait for my live in IRS agent.

      2. Bart Hansen

        Today, Ron Charles, editor of the Post’s Book Club awarded Margaret Atwood the Nobel Prize in Prescience.

  8. Dave in Austin

    On the propaganda campaign that says “But illegal aliens pay taxes too.”

    The article says “When it comes to state and local taxes, undocumented immigrants pay more than $11 billion a year, according to a 2017 report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy” Let’s see… pewresearch.org says that in 2017 there were more than 11 million illegals. So the average one pays state and local taxes of $1,000. Since the average person pays 10% of income to state and local taxes, the average family pays roughly $5,000.

    In Austin, TX 80% of the population are native English speakers, 90% of the taxes supporting the schools are paid by native English speakers and 60% of the school population are not native English speakers. The result is that according to the State demographer in the past 20 years the average education level of job entrants to the Texas labor force has gone down by two years.

    And since the cost of local education has been shifted to the states, for places like Laredo, TX the transfers from legal US taxpayers to support the local education system is far more than the total taxes collected locally. Transfer payments to support illegal immigrants are Laredo’s biggest source of revenue.

    Then the article says: “the Internal Revenue Service created a program 25 years ago allowing people without a Social Security number to file taxes.” and “On top of that, employers also use and re-use Social Security numbers for the purpose of withholding payroll taxes from undocumented workers.”

    So people who are committing a crime by using someone else’s social security number are paying “withholding taxes”. Great unless you find that 25 people are using your SS number and you can’t collect disability payments or retirements because the 25 others are doing the same- illegally using your name. I know people it has happened to. And of course when 25 people are using John Smith’s SS number, no federal agency goes to the workplace and asks: “Are you really John Smith or just a criminal using his Social Security number?” After all, that would be bad for the sweat shop employing minimum wage Mr. Pseudo John.

    This is nothing more than criminal activity supported by the people who want to hire illegal workers and leave the average taxpayer to pay the bill and clean up the mess. And finally, why doesn’t the number of illegals keep growing as roughly one million arrive each year? Something called “Adjustment of Status”, which legalizes roughly 700,000/year may have something to do with it.

    Any questions?

    If I sound annoyed by this upper class “But who’ll mow my lawn” propaganda campaign, I am.

    1. Tim

      The US made the game, we are all playing it. That doesn’t change the facts cited by Yves that the vast majority of them do pay payroll taxes they will never get to collect, and do pay local taxes that pay for school, and we now want to deny them school as well.

      Even if they are banned from school, these children aren’t going to leave, so we will have them be a drag on society, become criminals, etc. That isn’t a solution people should be asking for.

      And you statement implying that 700,000 are essentially getting amnesty every year is wrong. Nothing of the sort is happening.

    2. marym

      “So the average one pays state and local taxes of $1,000. Since the average person pays 10% of income to state and local taxes, the average that family pays roughly $5,000.” Please clarify the “average one” who pays $1,000 and the “average family” that pays 5K.” Is the latter exclusive of the undocumented? This would be apples to oranges.

      SSN/payroll issues: “This is nothing more than criminal activity supported by the people who want to hire illegal worker.” This is a problem and an injustice, not just for TX, not solved by hurting children.

      I found several references to a study linked below (2017). It says “Undocumented immigrants nationwide pay on average an estimated 8 percent of their incomes in state and local taxes”

      The page also links to Appendices in the PDF version on another website. There it says the effective tax rate for undocumented workers in TX was 8.6%.

      Undocumented Immigrants’ State & Local Tax Contributions
      The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) is a non-profit, non-partisan research organization that works on federal, state, and local tax policy issues.

      1. Dave in Austin


        Point well taken. My: “So the average one pays state and local taxes of $1,000. Since the average person pays 10% of income to state and local taxes, the average that family pays roughly $5,000.” was a bit unclear. And your: “ Please clarify the “average one” who pays $1,000 and the “average family” that pays 5K.” was justified

        On the $1,000/year taxes paid by illegals, I simply took the numbers in the article about the total taxes payed by illegals and divided it by the Pew number for illegals to get the average that an illegal pays in taxes- which is $1,000. The “Average family” number is based on legal people who earn the average Texas family income and the state and local taxes they pay (no income tax in TX, mostly real-estate taxes and sales tax).

        Your: “The page also links to Appendices in the PDF version on another website. There it says the effective tax rate for undocumented workers in TX was 8.6%.”. That sounds about right for people paid above board. But note that this is not Texas taxes because it includes mostly SS withholding.

        A $10/hour person earns $20,000/year. And for the “Above boards” the 8.6% includes withholding on the false SS number. I think employer withholding is 6% so 6% of $20,000= $1,200. This roughly matches the “pays $1,000 in taxes” number but is actually a bit lower for Texas taxes. 8.6% of 20k = $1,720. Subtract the $1,200 in SS withholding and you get $520 in Texas taxes, which is largely sales tax on non-food items. Then add a bit in for the real-estate taxes on a $5,000, 30 year old house trailer, (the usual “back yard” housing for illegals) and you get less than $1,000 in Texas taxes.

        But that’s only for people paid above-board. For the “off the books” the only taxes are sales taxes.

        The calculation made by the desperate immigrant is understandable. Jobs in El Salvador are paying $2/hour when available. So coming to the US with the wife/girlfriend with one child and living in an old house trailer with one window AC while making as $250/week out near my country place near Webberville, 24 miles from downtown Austin, makes perfectly good sense. Your take-home pay has tripled. You can afford the beans and rice plus chicken 3-4 times/week, which is much better than you were doing in El Salvador. Plus you get free education for the kid ($12-15,000/year), free medical in the emergency room (average cost for a family of three in $5,000-$10,000/year) plus various programs like food stamps, none of which you get in El Salvador. All this means that the local Texas community is subsidizing the three people to the tune of $20,000/year or more while the three people are paying less than $1,000 in taxes.

        So the result is that lower class Americans get squeezed to provide the subsidy. And their standard of living goes down rapidly. So they (including the Mexicans who came 20 years ago and are now legal) turn into Trumpists while my city friends gain the benefit of the cheap labor washing dishes in restaurants for $6/hour. My rich city friends also make sure the immigrant kids are out-of-sight in poor schools. Their little darlings don’t have to deal with them. Their kids get “Magnet schools” and neighborhoods which would never dream of allowing run-down 30 year old trailers in the back yard. This is social class Apartheid and every US family earning less than $50,000/year knows it.

        This is a terrible moral and practical problem for both the US and the world and I have no answer. But if the present system continues the electoral voting for the right and the crack-down on the illegals and those who hire them will I’m afraid make Trump look like a reasonable guy from “the good old days”.

    3. MichaelSF

      Great unless you find that 25 people are using your SS number and you can’t collect disability payments or retirements because the 25 others are doing the same- illegally using your name. I know people it has happened to. And of course when 25 people are using John Smith’s SS number, no federal agency goes to the workplace and asks: “Are you really John Smith or just a criminal using his Social Security number?”

      Actually, that situation can get fixed. When I was a claims rep at SSA in the late 1970s I had to work a few “scrambled earnings” (note that we had a specific term for them) cases.

      You establish the identity of the beneficiary who is filing the claim, get their work history from them, and then “unscramble” all the earnings reported by places they never worked. It can get tedious and time consuming, but it was something that we had to deal with.

      1. Dave in Austin

        In the 1970s that actually worked. My SS withholding got messed up in 1973 and the SSA claims rep straightend it out after one meeting. Now with millions of fake claims and fewer reps the system has unfortunately collapsed. Google “Fakes are using my SS number” and see what you get. Because it is tedious and time consuming it can no longer be done because the system has been overwhelmed..

    4. Noone from Nowheresville

      So is it a question of resource allocation from your personal bank account or is it the threat to your community and its way of life? Both? Neither?


      The US allocates resources to create environments in foreign countries where the US can control local populations, resource extraction, etc. Many people are forced to flee. US citizens and residents don’t have a clue about the resources deployed or resources extracted. And we don’t “pay for” that since that particular accounting ledger doesn’t have much to do us anyway. In fact that particular accounting ledger might not even matter to those deploying and extracting the resources.

      I see two major threads within the educate the children of undocumented immigrants. Both end up at the local level. One is integrating the undocumented into accepting the local customs and rules of the game. Two is protecting the standards and tacit rules of hierarchy within the community since the undocumented and documented immigrants are part of the price localized areas have to pay for US global resource grabs. These immigrant workers also have the ability to upend the community. People are forced to realize that the tacit rules they’ve lived by are really lies that can stripped away seemingly on a whim. Having a just a few wealthy people moving into one’s community also has the ability to do the same thing. Although it’s a different kind of fear centered in a different place within the community.

      Then there’s the third rail which is that public education is to become a privatized resource extraction center for the grifters. Local control and transparency will go away once that happens. Grifters only care about what they can extract not about community standards and well-being. Grifters will chip away from multiple angles until they get their education honey pots.

      So let me ask this question as it specifically pertains to the public education piece and various grifter areas of attack, how much of the education line item goes to administrative bloat? charters schools? home schooling? state tax write-offs aka the ability of those with means to directly allocate personal resources to chosen area of interest? the honey-pot grifters? etc. v. how much to bring the children of undocumented workers into the community’s standards and convert them into American capitalistic widgets? Are you upset and ready to rally about any of the other death by tiny cut costs to the public education system or just the children of undocumented workers?

      As aside, look back at the resources –beyond the educational line item via property taxes — that used to be dedicated via K-12 education to creating a useful American capitalistic widgets? What should our takeaway as a society be as the percentage of societal resources used decreases and yet the cost to the individual increases?

      Back-in-the-day, visible personal resource allocation was chosen as the vehicle for funding local education. Then for a few decades, there was a top-down policy of educational exuberance. Resources will thrown at education; creating some truly exceptional capitalistic widgets. Those top-down policy resources were withdrawn. Unfortunately, in the meantime, the reason for the visible localized funding of education became lost.

      Transfer payments are a different kettle of fish. Resource allocation and extraction figures need to start at the Federal level and work their way down to the local level to see how and why those transfers come to be. There’s also a difference between ending up on the plus side vs. feeling that one is on the plus side.

  9. Milton

    Can we just hurry up and shatter the USA into
    a Sh!t load of little countries. Maybe, by chance one of ’em will have an environment conducive to human existence.

    1. anon y'mouse

      which states could be mostly self-sufficient in energy, water, food….?

      i believe there’s a key reason why the original oligarchs settled on Manifest Destiny, besides their plans to make money on real estate schemes (Hamilton & Washington, for two).

      let’s rehash the European middle ages again, possibly complete with wars over water and coal/gas deposits. yes, surely trade agreements would spring up but can you imagine the border problems and dueling regs?

      perhaps i should get in on the ground floor of Plan B smuggling. it sounds like there’s going to be a future in that.

      1. JBird4049

        A big motivation for replacing the original Confederation with the Republic or Union was because some states were this close to a real war complete with armies and navies, then add that until the United States survived the War of 1812 the French, British, and possibly the Spanish were all interested in either breaking up or annexing parts of the country. By having at least a draw with the most powerful empire of the time, the Europeans stopped being interested in colonizing the United States.

        Finally, the United States Navy only really became reality because the Barbary Pirates (and slave raiders) were being paid IIRC most of the federal government’s entire yearly income in ransom for the nation’s merchant ships. It became cheaper and safer to build from scratch an entire navy and go to war with several countries than continue to pay the Danegeld with rulers who could and did change the ransom bill at anytime. A lot of American merchant ships and their crews were kidnapped, held for ransom, or sold.

        And yes, the various resources of the country were and are not spread equally among the states. Forcing free movement of citizens and their stuff helped with that.

        So, we could do what our ancestors refused to do and make us all open to resource wars and invasions. I think that would be a bad idea.

    2. Joe Well

      I am in Massachusetts, which would seem to be the mirror image of Texas in terms of attitudes toward immigrants, and yet in reality the restrictions are accomplished through housing/development policy.

      Put a “no human is illegal” sign in your yard and then fight against any proposed apartment complex. That even goes for activists in the cities who care very much about making sure current residents are not displaced and much less about building housing for future residents ones.

      Where is the place in the US that is conducive to human life? Cuz it ain’t here.

      1. poortiredandhopeless

        I’m in the precarious position of choosing between my excellent public Mass health plan that I had no idea how I got and a substitute teaching gig that pays about $3k a month. The MassHealth plan pays for EVERYTHING after my bout with heart failure a few years ago, however making more than $17k a year will cause me to be disqualified for my health plan and I’ll have to pay out of pocket including my $1900/month 1br apartment rent. Massachusetts is a hot mess, everything is means-tested to the Nth degree.

        1. JBird4049

          Yes. It is like the multiple gotchas for SSDI. IIRC, Make more than $940 gross from work (not investments or gifts. Just from employment or a business.)
          per a month a total of 5 months out of a rolling 60 month period. Dropped. Make more than $1240 any one month? Dropped.

          Similar chops for CalFresh although the cuts are more gradated and not just ended, but income or support in kind like housing and food are counted and you are supposed to include your non-family roommates income and assets as well. If you are rent sharing, they want your roommates financials. F@@@ that. They put in serious warnings That Bad Things Can Happen! But I am sure some are… economical with their information.

          Finally, the state and federal grants, and work-aid are being loaded with exceptions, time limits, and counting of non-work income including of in-kind over time. If you are doing a two year degree in three years, you lose thousands of dollars in state aid. If you do get free rent, or food, or other such help from family or friends above a very low amount, you possibly lose your work-aid. I do not know of any such limitations on college loans. Attempts to make money last longer by going to school and working part time is increasingly hard to do. Getting more than one associates or bachelors degree with grants is also becoming impossible.

          Now, one can apply to who knows how many private grants to try to make for the lack, but those grants unlike the government’s do count towards SSDI income limits.

          If I did not know better, I would think that some people in California’s state and municipal governments believe the poors are getting away with too much. And I thought that the stories that I heard about the Los Angeles county case managers being psychos, not to say sadistic, and still isolated. Here, I am seeing similar meanness in the fine slowly appearing.

          I would like to have anyone explain to me how one can survive on at most $3,000 per month in the San Francisco Bay Area or anywhere else in California especially if anything, anything at all happens to them. Housing alone is going to be at least $1,500. But you will need loans for an education if you make more that much because getting grants is unlikely. I don’t see how my parents, aunts, and uncles could have gotten their degrees today and for getting an education they were driven people.

          1. Noone from Nowheresville

            Too many grifters in the system taking too much. It’s why we have more and more hoops, exceptions, etc. for the poors to jump through. Poors have to prove worthiness, grifters don’t have nearly the same level of scrutiny. The grifters will collapse the system; kill the host.

            Education was practically free using today’s environment. Different top-down policy goals at the Federal levels.

            And don’t forget clawback. An article I read a few years back claimed that California was particularly egregious.

      2. neo-realist

        Put a “no human is illegal” sign in your yard and then fight against any proposed apartment complex.

        We have some of that attitude in the upper middle/affluent single family home neighborhoods in Seattle, targeted more against poor and working class apartment development. “We just want to preserve the character of the community.”

  10. CallMeTeach (retired)

    I have to wonder how he’d feel if someone challenged the Americans with Disabilities Act? This costs businesses and schools a lot of money, too.

    1. Tim

      Excellent point. The amount of local investment in special needs kids schooling and welfare is quite large. Those special needs kids need to take more personal responsibility and not be so needy. (sarcasm)

      1. Michael Ismoe

        If you remove the sarcasm tag, there may be a place for you in jurisprudence.

  11. Chris

    From someone who once lived in Texas, generally nice people, this proposal exemplifies one of the main pillars of Texas culture: ignorance is a virtue.
    Should be a good move politically .

  12. anon

    Given that some states, and even some school districts, are disproportionately affected, what would be wrong with federalizing the cost of providing an education and health care to those who are undocumented?

    1. chris

      The answer to part of your question is because Texas and Texans are loathe to cede anything to the federal government. They crave local and state control. So even though one solution to the problem of places like Texas having a disproportionate share of the problem of illegal immigrants coming into and moving through our country is to have the federal government take on more of the burden, Texas will never allow it.

      I have some anecdotal experience when it comes to illegal immigrants affecting school districts, both as a student and a parent. But I’m not sure what the real numbers are. It is a burden to deal with huge swings in the student population. It is a burden to accommodate large numbers of people with poor grasp of English. It is a problem to take on kids who have parents that refuse to be involved in the school or their kids’ schooling because of any reason. It is burden to have a larger percentage of poor families in your school district. Illegal immigrants check all of those boxes. They are a problem for communities to deal with and they do bust budgets.

      Personally I would really like us to stop making Mexico and central America hell holes so that the people coming here didn’t think it was the only option. And then I would like us to enforce laws we have and stop letting employers off the hook for hiring illegal immigrants. While we’re at it, let’s fix the H1B abuse from a lot of these corporations too. And the abuse of the ag worker visas. But I know there’s zero chance of any of that happening.

      What I think we’re well into implementing is what George W said during a press conference. It was a classic “gaffe” in that he said the truth out loud. He said that one way to solve the problem of illegal immigration was to make the wages on both sides of the border equal. If things keep going the way they are, we’ll get there!

  13. IM Doc

    There are times when I read articles like this from Texas, that I really wish Molly Ivins was still around. She had the most amazing talent of cutting through crap like a hot knife through butter. And with a smile on her face.

    1. KLG

      Molly would have had a nervous breakdown in this target-rich environment. I miss her, too.

      1. Dave in Austin

        Molly was one of of the great old Texas liberal gilrs/women/ladies I used to drink beer with at Austin’s Scholz BeerGarden in the afternoon 30+ years ago. A lovely, smart, educated lady. And a bit sad. The love of her life had died early and she soldiered on alone, drinking a bit more every year. Most of those fondly remembered liberal women I knew in Austin and before that in DC turned out to be what Vance of “Hillbilly Elegy” fame calls “Cat ladies”, unmarried, no children, smart and alone with a cause providing meaning. The poor unfortunate, right-wing veteran-girl who crawled through the wrong broken window at the Capitol and got shot fits the same bill.

        And of course that makes me the male version- the “Cat guy”, in my case without a cat. But I’ll let it go for now and go outside to enjoy the beautiful day.

  14. Synoia

    The US is working to improve its current a new bill of Rights.

    From “All people are equal, but some people are more equal than others.” to “You Can Purchase your Rights, one at a time for 2 years, with payments to your representatives, City, County, State and Country.

  15. Palaver

    If immigrant children are removed from our education system will Republicans keep the funds and boost per child spending or give more taxcuts to the rich? Or perhaps setting the stage for eliminating the last public school.

    Who are we really competing against for public resources? Children or predatory kleptocrats? Republicans divide and conquer while hiding who they really work for in their populist rhetoric. Nativism is to conservatives what abortion is to liberals. A ruse to a corrupt agenda.

  16. Synoia

    The solution is simple. Just declare that all babies and parents are trespassing at birth, and the Supremes can eliminate the 13 amendment .

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