Funny how these things work, isn’t it?
Texas has for seven years said it won’t accept Mexican identification cards when issuing birth certificates for children of people in the United States illegally. But it doesn’t appear to have stepped up enforcement until recently, amid mounting political pressure to get tougher on immigration, records obtained by The Associated Press show.
That could validate complaints from immigrant parents suing in federal court, claiming the state is denying “birthright” U.S. citizenship for their Texas-born children guaranteed under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The AP used open records requests to get annual “self-assessment” surveys completed by local registrars. They show that officials in at least five cities and counties along the U.S.-Mexico border told the Texas Department of State Health Services during the past three years that they were allowing parents to get copies of birth certificates using a Mexican identification known as the matricula consular.
“Most of applicants are here illegally as they claim, and are therefore unable to obtain a valid form of identification from the United States,” Janie Madero, then-registrar in McAllen, wrote in a 2013 survey response. “Therefore our office accepts the matricula consular so they can obtain the birth certificate for their children who were born here.”
The Department of State Health Services oversees Texas’ Vital Statistics Unit. It reports issuing just one cease and desist letter to a county registrar in Brownsville who was accepting the matricula consular, and that didn’t come until this July.
Two months later, it wrote letters instructing against accepting the Mexican document in response to inquiries from registrars in Dallas and nearby McKinney.
Those three letters were all the state provided when asked for correspondence related to the matricula consular since 2008. Health services spokesman Chris Van Deusen subsequently said his department had “identified some additional communications with local registrars about the matricula” but that the lawsuit made those confidential.
When and how strictly Texas began enforcing its ID rules are important since more than two-dozen parents in the country illegally have sued, saying the state is effectively denying citizenship the U.S. Constitution guarantees to all born on U.S. soil.
Immigration attorneys suggest that the state only got serious about enforcement after women and children from Central America began pouring over Texas’ southern border last summer. Further raising the political stakes was President Barack Obama’s announced executive actions on immigration in November 2014, which sought to temporarily shield from deportation up to 4 million people in the U.S. illegally.
Efren Olivares, one of the lawyers representing immigrant parents suing, said there was a “tightening of the screws” amid Obama’s announcements and Central Americans crossing into Texas at record rates.
“We believe there is an intent behind this,” Olivares said.
See here, here, and here for some background. Basically, the state is trying to rewrite the rules while hoping that no one notices, but their actions belie their words. The only reason this is an issue now is because of politics. The bottom line is that everyone deserves a birth certificate, and last I checked the 14th Amendment was still in effect. It’s time for this charade to end.