Texas babies with undocumented parents will now be issued birth certificates. Last year Texas stopped issuing birth certificates to parents who had only an ID issued by another country or a passport without a valid visa. Thanks to the Texas Civil Rights Project and Rio Grande Legal Aid for their good work in righting this wrong.
Without birth certificates, our clients lived in constant fear of having their families torn apart and their American-born children deported. They also struggled to get access to basic education, health, religious and childcare services. The settlement will be life-changing for them.
With co-counsel at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, we filed suit last year after Texas began refusing to accept the two forms of IDs most commonly used by undocumented immigrants to obtain birth certificates for children born in the state. We argued that these changes were politically motivated, and effectively shut out undocumented mothers, leaving most of them unable to prove the citizenship of their American-born babies.
Under the terms of the settlement, Texas will accept several IDs that are commonly available to undocumented immigrants living in Texas. Officials also agreed to undertake significant efforts to train local registrars on the new rules. In addition, the State will run a hotline so that anyone who is wrongly turned away by local registrars can get help.