Congressional Candidate Says Public Schools Should Be Allowed To Ban Undocumented Children

IA-03 GOP candidate Brad Zaun (left) chats with Newt Gingrich. CREDIT: AP
IA-03 GOP candidate Brad Zaun (left) chats with Newt Gingrich. CREDIT: AP

A leading Iowa Republican candidate is championing a nefarious proposal in his bid for Congress: banning undocumented children from receiving public education.

Brad Zaun, vying to represent the third congressional district in southwest Iowa, was a guest on Mickelson in the Morning, a local conservative radio program hosted by Jan Mickelson, late last week. When the conversation turned to immigration, Mickelson wondered why the state of Iowa spent money educating the children of undocumented immigrants. He dismissed the Supreme Court ruling 32 years ago that it’s illegal to deny undocumented children public education and asked Zaun whether it’s time to revisit the matter.

“Absolutely,” Zaun, currently a state senator, said. “I can tell you that we’ve had a lot of attempts to make some changes.” He blamed fellow lawmakers for a “lack of courage” in deciding not to strip undocumented children of an education.

MICKELSON: The state of Iowa spends millions and millions and millions of dollars every single year trying to educate people whose parents aren’t even here legally. About $200 million. And we have been doing this for years. And our governor says, “well that’s the law of the land. That’s Plyler. The Supreme Court says we have to.” I say that’s bullhockey. Even if that court case has some merit, and I don’t think it does, it ought to be challenged, and it should not be automatically applied here in Iowa, because we ain’t Texas! What do you think ought to be done? Is it time to challenge Plyler here in the state of Iowa?

ZAUN: Absolutely. I can tell you that we’ve had a lot of attempts to make some changes. The problem is we’ve got a Democratic-controlled Senate. It’s just been frustrating. […] There’s lack of courage to do that. I’m just being honest with you.

Listen to it:


This is not a merely academic issue. Hundreds of school districts across the country have been unconstitutionally inquiring about students’ immigration status, prompting the Department of Justice and Department of Education to send out guidelines reminding school officials that they must enroll every child.


In addition, though Mickelson claims immigrant children are leeching off taxpayers, he never acknowledges the fact that undocumented immigrants pay billions in taxes. In 2010 alone, the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy found that undocumented immigrants paid $10.6 billion in state and local taxes.

Zaun is currently considered a frontrunner for the Republican nomination. The primary election is held Tuesday.