The Slatest

Federal Ruling Allows Texas to Deny Birth Certificates to U.S.-Born Children of Undocumented Immigrants

An eight year-old immigrant watches as a U.S. Border Patrol agent records her family information on July 24, 2014 in Mission, Texas.  

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled on Friday that the state of Texas can continue to deny birth certificates to U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants. Texas stopped accepting certain types of identification issued by foreign governments, notably ID cards from Mexican consulates, as sufficient documentation to issue a birth certificate to a parent. A group of undocumented parents filed suit against the state in May and the court case is working its way through the legal system.

Friday’s ruling was in response to a request for an emergency injunction filed to compel the state to change its policy effectively immediately and issue birth certificates until the case is resolved. U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman wrote that he had “grave concerns” over the practice and its impact on the constitutional rights of the children. “It begs credulity for defendants to argue a birth certificate is not a vitally important document. The rights and privileges of citizenship inure to those who are citizens,” Pittman wrote. “The lack of a birth certificate, or other documentation establishing citizenship, presents a clear bar to access to those rights.”

“Earlier this year in Dallas, worries intensified when the county stopped accepting the Mexican ID and school board trustee Miguel Solis voiced concerns about enrollment snags for U.S.-born citizen children,” according to the Dallas Morning News. Pittman, however, denied the appeal writing that a full hearing is needed to resolve the matter because there is a “compelling governmental interest in regulating with care the process of accessing birth certificates.”