Texas should be allowed to deny birth certificates to the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants, a federal judge ruled–at least, temporarily.
A group of illegal immigrant parents had sued Texas after their children were denied birth certificates. The judge’s ruling only applies to an emergency injunction that would force Texas to start immediately issuing birth certificates while the case was in court. Texas can continue to deny the birth certificates until the court makes its final ruling.
Despite the ruling, the federal judge, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman, warned Texas that he’s concerned they’re violating the Constitution.
“It begs credulity for defendants to argue a birth certificate is not a vitally important document. The rights and privileges of citizenship inure to those who are citizens,” he wrote. “The lack of a birth certificate, or other documentation establishing citizenship, presents a clear bar to access to those rights.”
The controversy began earlier this year when Texas stopped accepting Mexican’s “matriculas” identification cards–issued by Mexican consulates in the United States to illegal immigrants–as legal identification.
That left many illegal immigrant parents in a bind: their children were born in the United States, and are thus legally American citizens under the Fourteenth Amendment, but they can’t receive birth certificates because they don’t have the identification needed to obtain the legal document.
Texas, meanwhile, has argued that it’s not a constitutional issue but a state issue–since states themselves are able to decide what kind of identification is necessary to receive a state document.
The case is expected to be decided for good next year.