Argument: Illegal immigrants enjoy equal protection under US law

Issue Report: Drivers licenses for Illegal immigrants in the US

Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment left room for equal protection for illegal immigrants

“Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”[1]

Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982) affirmed equal protection for illegal immigrants

This was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a state statute denying funding for education to children who were illegal immigrants. It established that regardless of legal status, illegal immigrants are still “persons” and thus protected as such under some provisions the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the US Constitution, notably the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

“Whatever his status under the immigration laws, an alien is surely a ‘person’ in any ordinary sense of that term. Aliens, even aliens whose presence in this country is unlawful, have long been recognized as ‘persons’ guaranteed due process of law by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments…The Equal Protection Clause was intended to work nothing less than the abolition of all caste-based and invidious class-based legislation. That objective is fundamentally at odds with the power the State asserts …to classify persons subject to its laws as nonetheless excepted from its protection.”[2]