In the coming days, some Dallas ISD parents may find it impossible to enroll
their children in school. Parents who cannot present a valid birth certificate
upon enrollment may have their children turned away after the 30-day deadline
expires due to tighter policies imposed by Dallas County and the state.
These children could even land on a watch list for possibly being kidnapped
Birth certificates have been required for a long time, but for some parents
obtaining them isn’t an easy task. Recently, the Texas Department
of State Health Services decided that the matrícula, a Mexican
consular ID card, is no longer going to be accepted as ID for parents
trying to get their children’s birth certificates.
As a result, many undocumented parents with U.S.-born children will be
unable to obtain birth certificates to enroll their U.S. citizen children
Texas parents of 23 U.S.-born children are now suing the state over this
policy; they argue that the policy violates their children’s constitutional rights.
In June, the Dallas County Clerk’s Office announced that it will
no longer accept the matrícula for ID purposes when parents apply
for their children’s birth certificates.
DISD Trustee Miguel Solis said it appears as if state officials are imposing
this policy as a workaround way to disenfranchise people who don’t
have the proper immigration documents.
Dallas Morning News pointed out how a landmark 1982 Supreme Court ruling established that public
school districts must allow children to enroll in school regardless of
their immigration status.
Solis is concerned that DISD could be placed in a difficult position where
it must deny some children’s enrollment to comply with the state’s
policy while violating the children’s constitutional right to a
According to Chris Van Deusen, the spokesman for the Texas Department of
State Health Services, the department has never accepted matrículas
because they’re not secure and they could contribute to ID theft or fraud.
Van Deusen did acknowledge the issue raised by Solis. Van Deusen said that
the state does issue a free “school certificate” that verifies
the child’s date of birth and name for the purposes of school enrollment.
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