The Mexican government is warning that Texas’ denial of birth certificates for U.S. children born here to undocumented immigrants stands to imperil the relationship between Mexico and the Lone Star State.
The concern was raised in an amicus brief filed Monday evening to lend support to immigrants parents who sued Texas after being denied birth certificates for their U.S.-born children, even after showing their “matrículas,” the ID cards issued by the Mexican Consulate to undocumented immigrants.
Mexico says the practice stands in stark contrast to the historical practice among countries to accept passports or other forms of ID to issue birth certificates.
“[It] not only jeopardizes their dignity and well-being, but could threaten the unique relationship between Mexico and Texas,” the Mexican government said in a brief tied to a lawsuit filed against the state by Texas Civil Rights Project and Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid.
The lawsuit, the Texas Tribune reported, was filed on behalf of six U.S. citizen children and their undocumented parents, who came from Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. Other groups since have joined the suit.
A main point of contention is the all-out refusal at some county registrars offices to accept as a valid form of ID anything short of a U.S. visa or consulate ID card, the Tribune said.
The families who are suing say that Texas is violating the 14th amendment and that the state is superseding federal immigration laws.
Texas officials are claiming sovereignty issues and argue that the United States cannot fight them.
They long have said that consulate-issued identification cards are not considered reliable forms of ID.
The Mexican government is requesting that Texas be clear about what two forms of ID it will accept in order to give the children U.S. birth certificate.
“Our argument isn’t ‘yes matrícula, no matrícula,’” said attorney Jennifer Harbury, who represents the families, to the Tribune. “The argument is ‘what will you take that people can actually get?’ They have to take something. [The children] were born here. They are U.S. citizens.”
The amicus brief also claims that denying the children U.S. birth certificates blocks their claims to Mexican citizenship. A child born to Mexican parents has that right but must show proof of identity. Infringing on that is a violation of international law, the brief states.
Mexican Consulate officials argue that the matrícula is, in many ways, more secure because it includes biometric technology, unlike the driver’s licenses in some states.
They say a parent’s undocumented status should not affect a child’s ability to obtain a birth certificate.
“We think that they are not immigration authorities,” said Consul Carlos González Gutiérrez from the Mexican Consulate General’s office in Austin. “The passport is the official way to identify oneself.”
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