Texas forced to give immigrant kids birth certificates

In 2015, several dozen undocumented immigrants sued the state of Texas for refusing to grant birth certificates to their children. This was in spite of the fact that, having been born in America, they held legal US citizenship. On Friday, a settlement was reached, whereby Texas agreed to expand the kind of documents that immigrants could offer to be able to give their children birth certificates.

There was never doubt that the children involved were American citizens, and lawyers said that the settlement was “life-changing” for the parents. The legal director of the South Texas office for the Texas Civil Rights Projects, Efren Olivares, one of the lawyers in the lawsuit, says that the case boiled down to the immigration status of the parents locking citizens of the United States out of obtaining birth certificates to which they were constitutionally entitled.

Basic rules for obtaining birth certificates will not change. Texas said the settlement, to which it has agreed, is necessary to make certain that the vital documents were issued correctly. The state did agree to include documents provided by parents as proof of their identity that it had begun to reject.

Texas registrars began changing their practices in 2013, at the same time that state leaders took steps to try to stem the tide of undocumented immigrant Central American families crossing the border. Republican Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, says he will stop automatically giving US citizenship to children born in the country if their parents are undocumented immigrants.