Texas can deny birth certificates to children of immigrant parents

Texan flagOn Friday, a federal judge ruled that officials in Texas can keep preventing parents who are undocumented immigrants from getting birth certificates for their children, even if they were born in the US. The ruling followed a lawsuit against the state by a group of undocumented immigrants who claim that the lack of a birth certificate makes it hard for them to find their children daycare and get on Medicaid, even though they are citizens.

Undocumented immigrants used to be able to get their children a birth certificate via the Department of State Health Services by using secondary forms of ID instead of the normal legal documents such as green cards, the Mexican ID card known as matricula consular, or driver’s licenses, but a number of county registers in Texas have now changed their policies and cracked down, according to Think Progress.

Advocates for immigrants’ rights claim that state officials have started to implement the new rules solely for the purpose of making life more difficult for undocumented immigrants with families in Texas. However, Austin-based US District Judge Robert Pitman denied the emergency order that had been sought and said that officials in Texas had every right to not accept matricula consular cards.

“While the Court is very troubled at the prospect of Texas-born children, and their parents, being denied issuance of a birth certificate, Texas has a clear interest in protecting access to that document,” Pitman wrote, adding that the court would need further evidence before issuing any emergency injunction.