On Monday, the Texas Observer’s Melissa del Bosque broke a story revealing that the state of Texas has been deliberately violating the 14th amendment, by refusing to issue birth certificates to dozens of American-born children of undocumented Hispanic immigrants.
In May, four women filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Texas Department of State Health Services for unconstitutional discrimination, and for interfering with the federal government’s authority over immigration matters. The plaintiffs are being represented by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid Attorney Jennifer Harbury.
The four plaintiffs are just the tip of the iceberg, however. Harbury notes that since filing the suit, she has received calls from dozens of other women whose children also were not permitted to obtain a birth certificate even though they were born in the United States.
The lawsuit alleges that employees for the Texas Department of State Health Services in Cameron and Hidalgo counties refused to accept photo IDs from the mothers, because those IDs were not presented along with a current U.S. visa. This means employees are no longer accepting foreign passports and the matricula consular photo ID issued by the Mexican Consulate, even though those forms of ID have always been considered sufficient for verifying a mother’s identity in the past.
Texas state law even specifies that a mother’s foreign ID is valid proof of identity if she has no Texas driver’s license or U.S. passport. However, the state is now ignoring its own laws as well as violating the United States Constitution.
While state of Texas employees may be trying to end birthright citizenship for children of undocumented Mexican and Central American immigrants, they have no authority to do so. Section 1 of the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution makes it very clear that birthright citizenship is the law of the land. The first sentence to section 1 of the 14th amendment reads:
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 state of Texas has no legal right to discard the Constitution, simply because they do not like what it says. Birthright citizenship is guaranteed by the supreme law of the land. If Texas does not honor that right, they are clearly violating the civil rights of the U.S. born children that they refuse to recognize as American citizens.