An interesting immigration case is winding its way through a federal court in Austin, Texas: A group of mothers has filed suit against the chief of the state’s Department of State Health Services Vital Statistics Unit, because it has refused to give their U.S.-born children birth certificates.
The issue here is not whether or not these children are U.S. citizens. They are and that’s made plain by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which says most people born in the U.S. are automatically citizens.
The issue in this case is what kinds of identification Texas can demand of their undocumented immigrant parents to issue a birth certificate.
According to the complaint, Texas is refusing most forms of ID that undocumented immigrants would have access to. In one case, for example, the Vital Statistics office refused to a accept a matrícula or an ID card issued by a local Mexican consulate.
Under state law, Texas can also refuse to accept a foreign passport, unless it “bears a current U.S. visa.”
The mothers claim that the state is discriminating against them because of their “immigration status and national origin.”
On Wednesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked a federal judge to dismiss the case, arguing that the federal judiciary did not have jurisdiction over this matter, because the state enjoys immunity and this involves state, not federal law.