As astoundingly diverse as we all may be, members of the human race do share some common denominators. Every single one of us that is living or ever had the opportunity to live, shares this basic experience… we were born.
Duh, right?? Obviously not that much of a shocker. But if you stop to think about it for a second, this information being a known fact has huge implications that impact the rest of our lives. Especially with regards to citizenship– where we enter this planet also determines in essence who we belong to. Per the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, if a person is born on American soil, they are American. No ifs, ands or buts…
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Yet for some strange reason, members of the Texas government seem to think they are above the law. As Melissa del Bosque of the Texas Observer reports, there is some disturbing news coming from the Texas-Mexico border…
For nearly 150 years, the United States, under the 14th Amendment, has recognized people born here as citizens, regardless of whether their parents were citizens.
But Texas has other plans. In the last year, the state hasrefused to issue birth certificates to children who were born in Texas to undocumented parents. In May, four women filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Texas Department of State Health Services alleging constitutional discrimination and interference in the federal government’s authority over immigration.
Jennifer Harbury, a lawyer with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, who is representing the women, said the deluge of birth certificate refusals began last winter. “I’ve never seen such a large number of women with this problem,” she says. “In the past someone might be turned away, but it was always resolved. This is something altogether new.”
According to the lawsuit, the women who requested birth certificates for their children in Cameron and Hidalgo counties were turned away because of insufficient proof of their identities. State law allows the use of a foreign ID if the mother lacks a Texas driver’s license or a U.S. passport.
But local officials, which issue birth certificates registered by the Texas Department of State Health Services Vital Statistics Unit, told the women they would no longer accept either the matricula consular, which is a photo ID issued by the Mexican Consulate to Mexican nationals living in the U.S., or a foreign passport without a current U.S. visa. Undocumented Central American women are also being turned away because they only have a passport without a U.S. visa. “They are locking out a huge chunk of the undocumented immigrant community,” says Harbury.
By refusing to issue the birth certificates, these officials under direction of the state government, are technically committing treason against the United States of America. It matters not what Texas’ opinion of the parents may be. If they give birth to their child in the United States, the child is an American citizen, and therefore has the right to a birth certificate. Denying Americans their citizenship has often been classified as an act of treason, and this case is no different.
Whoever is responsible for this catastrophe needs to be brought to justice, and these young Americans must not be denied their rights any longer. Let’s hope that Attorney General Loretta Lynch or someone else from the Obama Administration gets involved. For all the yelling and screaming that some people in Texas politics do about defending the constitution, it’s quite sad and shameful that they turn a blind eye to it now.
(photo credit: Harlingen Economic Development Corporation)