The Front Line Against Birthright Citizenship

Hundreds, possibly thousands, of other parents across Texas are being denied their children's birth certificate. A lawsuit is trying to stop that.
News Story (Texas)

Jonathan Blitzer
New Yorker
September 18, 2015

Tags: Birth Certificates, Immigration Process

Organizations mentioned/involved: Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA)


For years, local registrars accepted the matrícula without incident, according to country clerks and lawyers across the state. In 2008, Texas officials wrote a letter to the Mexican Consulate in Austin, saying that the matrícula would no longer be accepted as proof of identity. (The official reason was concern that the matrícula could be used in identity theft.

The Mexican government has since taken measures to improve the document’s security, but they have not influenced state policy.) Even so, local offices continued to exercise their own discretion, accepting matrículas and dispensing birth certificates.

Then, in 2013, immigration lawyers in South Texas started hearing from undocumented immigrants that their matrículas were being rejected. “These parents were one-hundred-per-cent shut out,” Jennifer Harbury, a lawyer with Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, said. Health Services had begun to enforce a wider crackdown on matrículas. A Health Services official later told lawyers that the policy “was changed to keep undocumented persons from gaining legal status in this country.” The reports of rejected matrículas had started in the Rio Grande Valley, in South Texas, but soon they were coming from as far west as El Paso.