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Texas Denies Citizenship to Children of Immigrants

Photograph by Getty Images

The Texas Department of State Health Services is fighting a battle against moms who believe their policy of denying citizenship to children of immigrants is unconstitutional.

The United States grants citizenship to all children born on U.S. soil, yet Texas has made it increasingly difficult for immigrant parents to attain legal documentation for their babies.

According to the civil rights lawsuit filed in May, four women who requested birth certificates for their children in Cameron and Hidalgo counties were turned away because they did not have proper identification.

According to officials, the Texas Department of State Health Services Vital Statistics Unit no longers accepts photo IDs issued by the Mexican Consulate to Mexican nationals living in the United States. Moms without a current U.S. visa are also banned from receiving birth certificates for their children.

"They are targeting the undocumented population, but immigration is a federal function and not the job of the Department of State Health Services," said Jennifer Harbury, a lawyer with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid.

Harbury is representing the four women in the lawsuit against the Texas Department of State Health Services which alleges constitutional discrimination and interference in the federal government's authority over immigration.

Moms without birth certificates for their children will face hardship when attempting to enroll them in schools or receive medical care.

Since filing the lawsuit in May, Harbury said that she has received a flood of calls from other women who have been denied proof of citizenship for their children and want to join the suit.

"How is a woman going to prove she's the child's parent without a birth certificate?" Harbury asked.

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