The State of Texas has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by dozens of immigrant families and the community organizing union, La Unión del Pueblo Entero (LUPE), challenging the State’s refusal to issue birth certificates to babies born in Texas to undocumented mothers. In a big win for immigrant families, Texas will adjust its rules to ensure that all Texas-born babies can receive the birth certificates they are legally owed.
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.