Babies born to undocumented mothers in Texas to get birth certificate

The State of Texas has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by community organizing union La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE) and dozens of immigrant families that challenged the state’s refusal to issue birth certificates to babies born in Texas to undocumented mothers.

Calling it a “victory for immigrant families” and “life-changing for immigrant communities across state”, Texas Civil Rights Project, who represented the adult plaintiffs in the case, says in a news release that Texas will now adjust its rules to ensure that all Texas born babies can receive birth certificates.

TCRP says not only did its clients live “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 and childcare services."

Texas will now accept several IDs that are commonly available to undocumented immigrants living in Texas, including: a Mexican voter registration card, which Mexican nationals can obtain though the Mexican consulate offices in Texas; official certifications of identification issued by the consulates for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras; and a wide range of supporting documents, including religious and medical records, official immigration documents and some expired IDs.

Officials also say it will undertake significant efforts to train local registrars on the new rules in the coming nine months, including at the scheduled state-wide registrars' conferences. There will also be a hotline (888-963-7111) for anyone who is wrongly turned away by local registrars.

The lawsuit was filed last year after Texas changed its policies regarding what forms of ID a parent may present to obtain a birth certificate for children born in the state - and began refusing to accept the two forms of IDs most commonly held by undocumented immigrants in Texas, leaving most of them unable to prove the citizenship of their American-born babies. The plaintiffs argued that the policy change was politically motivated.