Citizens of Mexico and several Central American nations have filed suit, claiming entitlement to birth certificates for their children born in the United States. They allege that the Texas denies them the certificates because they do not possess the required identification.
The parent plaintiffs of the 23 children claim that the State of Texas violates their children’s rights because the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that any child born on U.S. soil warrants American citizen. It also provides that they are citizens of the state where they reside. The plaintiffs and their children reside in Texas.
They allege in their petition filed in U.S. District Court in Austin that the birth certificates are being denied because of their immigration status. They argue that, “Such refusal is de facto based upon the immigrant status of the Plaintiff parents.” In the lawsuit, the parents do not refer to themselves as “immigrants,” or “illegal immigrants.” They refer to themselves in their legal capacity “as next friend.”
In the petition filed in federal court in the Western District, the parents cite the Equal Protection Clause and the Supremacy Clause, and allege that their rights are being violated under these sections.
At issue is the form of identification that is now being required of parents by the Bureau of Vital Statistics in border communities. They claim that officials in Hidalgo, Cameron, and Starr counties deny them birth certificates lawfully theirs and their childrens’.
In the past, a form of identification called “matriculas” or “matricula consular” was accepted for issuance of the birth certificates. As the name suggests, this form of identification is procured from the consulate.
The plaintiffs claim that now they are only allowed to show their drivers licenses, or a border identification card, and visas are required with passports.
The communications spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services, Chris Van Deussen, said Texas has never accepted the matriculas, the consulate form of identification. He said matriculas are not reliable because the issuer of the ID does not verify the data or documents that are shown when procuring the identification.
The state spokesman said the department must verify that parents are who they claim to be. He said the agency must not only issue birth certificates, but make sure that valid information is provided. The intent is to not facilitate identification theft or other fraud.
Van Deussen denied that the ID requirements had anything to do with immigrant status.
The parents complain their children are not able to obtain government benefits, including health insurance, and they cannot enroll their children into school.
The office of the Texas attorney general will represent the state in the lawsuit.
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2