Defying U.S. Constitution, Texas Refuses to Issue Birth Certificates to Children of Undocumented Immigrants

Thursday, July 16, 2015
Kirk Cole, interim commissioner, Texas Dept. of State Health Services (photo: TDSHS)

The state of Texas is refusing to issue birth certificates to the children of undocumented immigrants, an action that defies the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.


A lawsuit filed by four women claims the Texas Department of State Health Services refused to issue birth certificates to their children who were born in the state during the past year. The plaintiffs say Texas officials at the state’s vital statistics offices in Cameron and Hidalgo counties rejected the birth certificate requests because the women provided insufficient proof of their identities.


Undocumented immigrants have until now been able to get birth certificates by providing a foreign ID if they don’t have a Texas driver’s license or a U.S. passport, as allowed under state law. The officials reportedly 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, according to the Texas Observer.

Undocumented immigrants from Central America also have been turned away because they only have a passport without a U.S. visa.


The state is “locking out a huge chunk of the undocumented immigrant community,” Jennifer Harbury, a lawyer with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, who is representing the women, told the Observer. “I’ve never seen such a large number of women with this problem,” she said. “In the past someone might be turned away, but it was always resolved. This is something altogether new.”


James Harrington, an attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project, who is also representing the undocumented families, said in a written statement: “Everyone born in the United States is entitled to the full rights of citizenship.”


Texas’s actions have also drawn the attention of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which has asked Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate the allegations.

-Noel Brinkerhoff



To Learn More:

Children of Immigrants Denied Citizenship (by Melissa del Bosque, Texas Observer)

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Issues Letters to U.S. Department of Justice and the State of Texas Expressing Concern about Alleged Denial of Birth Certificates to Children of Undocumented Immigrants (U.S. Commission on Civil Rights)

Lawsuit: U.S. Citizen Children Denied Birth Certificates in Texas (by Juan Castillo, NBC News)

Two Republican-Appointed Judges from Texas Rule that Deportation Hold Program would Cause a Financial Burden because Texas would have to Issue Extra Driver’s Licenses (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Virginius Dabney 8 years ago
I have Southern relatives in the South and love a good Southern twang and a good Southern story with a message, but am getting more than a little tired of listening to what the Republicans are doing to them with their hyperbole and rhetoric. I just wish they would admit that they lost the Civil War and stop using the same old and rejected pitch they made unsuccessfully in the Civil Rights era, i.e., that THEY can take care of their problems and didn't need the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT telling them what to do. They did and do, if they try to deny citizens their rights. It used to be the Black problem, and now it is being using for ANYTHING the Federal Government wants to do that affects them that THEY don't want to do. That is the same reason they wanted out of the Union in the 1860's. Maybe we should reconsider the Civil War and allow Texas and the rest of the OLD South which seems to have been resurrected the last two decades as the NEW South to secede. Maybe we would ALL be better off. My two cents.

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