The children of undocumented immigrants who were born in the United States have been denied birth certificates in Texas, according to a new lawsuit. The lawsuit has been filed against the Texas Department of State Health Services by four women alleging constitutional discrimination, as people born in the United States are recognized as US citizens by the 14th amendment.
The Texas Observer says that the women are being represented by Jennifer Harbury from the Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, who claims that the refusal to give birth certificates to the children of undocumented immigrants is something that began to happen last winter. “I’ve never seen such a large number of women with this problem,” Harbury insists. “In the past someone might be turned away, but it was always resolved. This is something altogether new.”
The women were refused birth certificates due to insufficient confirmation of their identities, with a matricula consular – photographic ID provided by the government of Mexico – or a foreign passport without a valid US visa not being accepted by employees of the Texas Department of State Health Services. A spokeswoman says that this has been policy for seven years, since 2008, but Harbury claims it is a policy that was not enforced until late last year after unaccompanied immigrant minors began streaming into the state through the southern border.
“It’s not up to the state to decide on immigration policy,” Harbury declared. “This is a federal issue. The state of Texas has to accommodate these women. They can’t disenfranchise them.”