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Immigrants Sue Texas Over State's Denial of Birth Certificates for U.S. Born Children

In the past, many immigrant parents who crossed the border illegally and lived in the Rio Grande Valley and other parts of Texas, and whose children were born in the U.S., easily obtained birth certificates for their U.S.-born children. But recently the rules have changed.

Some immigrant parents are finding that if they can’t produce a U.S. driver’s license, visa, or Mexican electoral card, they are unable to obtain birth certificates for their U.S.-born children.

Children who are born in the United States are entitled by law to U.S. citizenship, regardless of their parents’ immigration status. However, Texas authorities have imposed significant barriers that are making it difficult for some immigrant parents to obtain birth certificates for their U.S.-born children.

Since 2013, hundreds of immigrant parents along the southern Texas border have been denied birth certificates for their U.S.-born children. Why? Because state authorities have tightened up on the types of identification documents they’re willing to accept from immigrant parents who don’t have access to U.S.-issued papers.

The denials have increased significantly in recent years after the Obama administration expanded its efforts to protect millions of undocumented immigrations from deportation. As a result, hundreds, if not thousands of parents from Mexico and Central America have been denied birth certificates for their Texas-born children.

State officials argue that they are hesitant to accept identity documents that are not supported by reliable forms of identification.

State Registrars Cannot Accept Matriculas

The issue is a state policy, which has been increasingly enforced since 2013, which says that state registrars cannot accept the identification cards known as matriculas, which are issued to foreign nationals by local consulates.

This is such an issue in Texas because a significant number of immigrants don’t have official identification cards issued in their home countries, or if they did they were stolen along the way – many of them simply do not have the identification documents that Texas requires.

Under the 14th Amendment, children who are born on U.S. soil are guaranteed the right to U.S. citizenship, but that doesn’t appear to be the case in Texas. To combat this point, a lawsuit has been filed against the state, naming 19 parents and 23 children who were denied birth certificates in the Rio Grande Valley. The lawsuit alleges that the denials are unconstitutional.

Do you need legal advice regarding an immigration issue? Contact a Plano immigration attorney from The Zendeh Del Law Firm to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team.