1. The United States Supreme Court Case of Plyler v. Doe

It is the case that legalized the rights of illegal immigrant children in public education under the 14th Amendment of the constitution in America. The Supreme Court decided that schools cannot charge for those who are not legal – citizens, and they also cannot deny these illegal immigrants a proper education. Their constitutional right to do so is unalienable. In this case, it was claimed that Texas could establish separate schools for undocumented kids, resulting in poverty for illegal pupils.

The case focused on three parts:

  • whether or not a law denying free K-12 education to illegal immigrants violates equal protection as applied by due process;
  • whether or not such a law violates substantive due process by being unreasonable, arbitrary, and unjust;
  • Whether or not such a law violates procedural due process.

This case was about an undocumented immigrant child called a “TA.” The court went on to say that it is unconstitutional to either deny them admission into public education (primary-secondary school) or charge them tuition if they live in Texas. This also means that students in the United States legally have no right to enroll in primary or secondary school if they do not qualify for a fee waiver.


  1. The case of Hernandez v. Texas (a Mexican immigrant who was convicted and sentenced to death for a murder committed in 1974)

This became a landmark Supreme Court decision. The case was the first time the court had overturned a murder conviction because of inadequate legal representation. It created the right to be represented by an attorney in all criminal cases.  According to the Supreme Court, “criminal justice is more than a game of skill in which lawyers are pitted against their opponents. It is also a game governed by rules.”

This case helped establish that all defendants had the right to be represented by an attorney for felony and misdemeanor cases. This case established the “Miranda” rights, which police officers read to suspects upon arrest. In this case, the defendants were held without counsel or access to family and friends. They were interrogated for hours in Spanish and English without interpreters being present. Their constitutional rights had been infringed, the court ruled.

This case also reversed a ruling by the Supreme Court in 1885 where the court had said that non-English speaking immigrants could be tried without an interpreter being present. 


  1. The case of Arizona v. United States (Arizona law that requires police officers to check the immigration status of anyone they stop if there is reasonable suspicion that person might be an undocumented immigrant)

This case was decided on June 25, 2012. This case is critical because this sets precedence for future immigration law cases. Although the decision of Arizona v. United States was not in favor of all states that required police officers to check the immigration status under certain conditions, the overall outcome is still a win for immigrants and immigrant rights activists who believed that the Arizona law was discriminatory. 

The court struck down 3 out of 4 provisions in the immigration law while upholding one requirement, which required immigrants to carry their registration documents with them at all times. Justice Kennedy stated: “There is no evidence that Arizona’s approach will impact” federal policy, adding that illegal immigrants will wind up being deported. The decision struck down provisions requiring immigrants to have their papers on them and make it a crime for an immigrant to work but upheld the requirement to register with the state government. 


  1. The case of Obama’s Executive Order on Immigration Reforms

In the year 2012, it has set a precedence for future decision-making of deportation cases by US Immigration Services on the grounds of fraud. The case is called “Matter of Arrabally” and was decided on September 19, 2017, by Suzanne B. Conlon, John T.S. Browning, Oscar Saldana, and Elizabeth Beckles.

This case is about a couple who got married in 1991 to help each other with immigration and using fraudulent means by pretending for 23 years that they are married. Now, after 23 years, Mr. Arrabally has filed an appeal regarding deportation proceedings by US Immigration Services (USCIS) due to his fraudulent marriage.

Judge Suzanne B. Conlon had observed the facts of this case and then mentioned that she was not convinced by Mr. Arrabally’s claim that he entered into a fraudulent marriage to avoid removal when the record showed that their combined testimony on this issue lacked credibility, they were mysterious and contradictory while answering questions and the overall record strongly suggested that this 23-year marriage was based on a fraudulent scheme to evade removal.

This case emphasizes the fact that USCIS takes fraud very seriously in cases of immigration. If you are charged with such fraud, then it will be automatic grounds for deportation from the USA. The decision has been made in favor of USCIS by stating that Mr. Arrabally’s case of fraud is not a change in circumstances since he has never disclosed during his entire marriage the fact that they were not legally married and also USCIS has mentioned that if Mr. Arrabally had told them from the beginning, then he would have been deported immediately. Still, due to such fraud, there was no other option for USCIS except to deport him.

This case also describes that Mr. Arrabally is not the only person who faced deportation due to fraud marriage. Still, there are many such cases where people try to misuse the process of immigration by entering into fraud marriages to leave their country and settle in the USA illegally because they know it is easy to get US citizenship if they marry a US citizen or green cardholder. Still, this case clarifies that USCIS takes every fraud-related marriage seriously and strictly follows the law to remove such people from the USA based on their violations under immigration laws.


5 . The case of DAPA/DACA – Deferred Action for Parents and Children Arrivals 

The case of United States v. Texas (No.15-674) DAPA/DACA – Deferred Action for Parents and Children Arrivals is one that had set precedence in the future of immigration. The Democratic Party and Obama Administration are trying to enforce President Barack Hussein Obama’s executive order by working with the Secretary of US Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson to establish the “Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents” (DAPA) in June 2012. 

The President’s order was created to eliminate “…deportation threats against millions of undocumented immigrant parents of US citizens and lawful permanent residents.” This executive order has been blocked by a federal district court in Texas but was put on hold while courts decide whether it is constitutional. In June 2016, the Supreme Court held that DAPA could not take effect until it had considered an appeal from the lower courts.


6 . The “Dreamers” program, which gives children brought into the country illegally by their parents’ protection from deportation, renewable two-year work permits, Social Security numbers, and access to some financial aid programs

On January 17, 2012, two judges on a 3-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for The District Of Columbia ruled that President Obama’s creation of the program was unconstitutional because it had bypassed Congress and created law without their approval.

The judges were Thomas B. Griffith and Harry T. Edwards. Griffith was appointed by Bush in 2006, while Clinton appointed Edwards in 1994.  As we all know, “It is all about politics .”  

This case sets precedence for future issues to be resolved with this law being applied over any presidential executive orders regarding immigration policy, such as the “DACA Program,” which President Trump issued.

The judges did not rule the program illegally, but without approval from Congress, they deemed it an overreach of executive power that has to stop. This ruling does not affect similar programs like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which Obama created.

President Trump’s order affects those who were previously under DACA protection and any new arrivals trying to enter the US while keeping current DACA protections in place.  

In simple terms, President Trump’s Executive Order directs federal agencies to enforce immigration laws and allows them discretion over groups of immigrants – some with criminal records and others who are undocumented.


For more information, you may ask or consult with Houston immigration lawyers.