Lawsuit Accuses Texas of Denying Birth Certificates to U.S.-Born Children

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid and the Texas Civil Rights Project have filed a lawsuit on behalf of six children who've been denied birth certificates even though they were born inside the United States.

As you know, birthright citizenship is a thing that exists in America, but if the allegations in this lawsuit are true it would seem that Texas is making up its own rules.

via NBC News

According to the civil lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Austin, the Texas Department of State Health Services has denied birth certificates to U.S. citizen children on the border whose parents lack citizenship or legal status. [...]

"It's not up to the state to decide on immigration policy. This is a federal issue," [Attorney Jennifer Harbury] told NBC. "The state of Texas has to accommodate these women. They can't disenfranchise them."

Birthright citizenship is guaranteed by the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment which states that "all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." The Supremacy Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment also states that federal law is the "supreme law of the land."

As you might have guessed, Republicans are not big fans of the Fourteenth Amendment or birthright citizenship, at least not for babies with brown skin. Several congressional Republicans, including infamous xenophobe Steve King of Iowa, have introduced bills to repeal birthright citizenship.

Unless Texas decides to settle the case, this could go higher than the District Court.

  • muselet

    The Texas lawsuit says scores of women from Mexico and Central America have been denied birth certificates for their children.

    It cites the case of one of the plaintiffs, Maria Isabel Perales Serna, a Mexican citizen who as a young adult fled to Texas to escape an abusive husband. According to the lawsuit, Perales gave birth in Texas to a daughter, now 14. To obtain the birth certificate for the child, Perales merely presented her matricula issued by the Mexican consulate.

    In November, 2014, after giving birth in a McAllen, Texas hospital, Perales took her matricula and Mexican passport to the state Vital Statistics office. Both were rejected. According to the lawsuit, the state said it could accept another form of identification, a current Mexican-issued voter registration card, which Perales did not have. She can only obtain one by returning to Mexico at great risk to her safety, the lawsuit says.

    Does anyone else find that as horrifying as I do?


  • Oh Jesus F’ing Christ.

  • Nefercat

    “As you might have guessed, Republicans are not big fans of the Fourteenth Amendment”
    “As you might have guessed, Republicans are not big fans of the Fucking United States Constitution, Period.”

    • JMAshby

      They’re pretty big on the Second Amendment. Sometimes. I mean if you’re white they’re definitely in favor of the Second Amendment.

    • Ceoltoir

      Actually the Republicans love the 14th Amendment when it’s used by corporations to declare themselves people under the law or is the justification for throwing the Presidential race to a favored candidate. When it’s used to protect the rights of ordinary people they hate it.

  • Draxiar

    Texas Department of State Health is going to be very disappointed…hopefully (I can’t believe I had to type “hopefully”).