It would seem as if the State of Texas has found a new way to make life difficult for immigrant families.
Earlier this year, America’s Voice reported on how the Texas Legislature attempted to repeal the Texas Dream Act, which provides in-state tuition for undocumented students across the Lone Star State. Although the Republican led effort was ultimately defeated, it appears that Texas is now seeking to make life harder for another class of immigrants — undocumented mothers.
Reports coming out of Texas signal that the state is currently denying birth certificates to children born to undocumented mothers. As reported by NPR:
A group of mothers has filed suit against the chief of the state’s Department of State Health Services Vital Statistics Unit, because it has refused to give their U.S.-born children birth certificates.
The issue here is not whether or not these children are U.S. citizens. They are and that’s made plain by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which says anyone born in the U.S. is automatically a citizen.
A lawsuit has been filed by 17 families who are demanding that the benefit be provided to these U.S. born children. By denying birth certificates to these families, these natural born U.S. Citizens are not able to be enrolled in early education programs, or be provided with medical care when needed. A copy of the lawsuit filed can be reviewed here.
Wasting no time, several Texas legislators have raised concern on this issue — which is a violation of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution:
— Ana Hernandez (@AnaHdzTx) July 15, 2015
Immigrants say Texas improperly denies birth certificates to their U.S.-born children http://t.co/PMLb3xUNcS
— Juan Chuy Hinojosa (@TxChuy) July 20, 2015
— Gene Wu (@GeneforTexas) July 20, 2015
— Ramon Romero Jr. (@RamonRomeroJr90) July 15, 2015
The underlying issue boils down to issues with identification. The State of Texas is refusing to accept foreign forms of identification from undocumented mothers, and as consequence, denying them from receiving a birth certificate for their children. The Texas Observer reports:
But local officials, which issue birth certificates registered by the Texas Department of State Health Services Vital Statistics Unit, told the women they would no longer accept either the matricula consular, which is a photo ID issued by the Mexican Consulate to Mexican nationals living in the U.S., or a foreign passport without a current U.S. visa.
We will keep an eye on this story as it continues to develop — in the meantime, activists have launched a petition asking the Texas Governor and Lt. Governor to take a look at the issue.