Immigration Expert, UH Professor, Examines ‘No Undocumented Child Left Behind’

New Publication Chronicles History, Enforcement of Landmark Supreme Court Ruling for Immigrant Children

Thirty years after Plyer vs. Doe, the landmark Supreme Court ruling making it possible for undocumented children to enroll in Texas public schools, the issue of immigrant rights continues to draw controversy.  Now, a new book by University of Houston Law Center Professor Michael A. Olivas—“No Undocumented Child Left Behind”—examines the history of the groundbreaking case and how it has, and has not, served its intended purpose.

“I wanted to research how the case had held up over the last three decades, and the more I dug, the more I was drawn to its narrative arc,” Olivas said.  “Innocent children brought to a new country, where their families lived in the shadows.  It’s very compelling.”           

In his book, Olivas notes how the ruling suffers from implementation issues and often requires more litigation to enforce.  He also examines debate centered on the Development, Release and Education for Minors (DREAM) Act that would provide conditional citizenship to undocumented college students who graduated from U.S. high schools and have been in the country for at least five years.

“I wanted to draw attention to the important issues of incorporation, the strains in U.S. policy and the breathtaking and unrelenting meanness of those who are fighting this 30 years later,” he said.  “The decision was the best our country has to offer—compassion, a fierce belief in reducing inequality, and political and personal courage.”

Olivas is the William B. Bates Distinguished Chair of Law and a national expert on immigration law.  He also directs the UH Law Center’s Institute of Higher Education Law and Governance.

About the book:

Olivas on Alabama’s new immigration law: