A federal judge ruled on Oct. 16 that Texas health officials will not be required to grant birth certificates to immigrant families with U.S.-born children.
U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman in Austin said the Mexican families’ in the case raised “grave concerns” but more evidence is needed to attain birth certificates, Yahoo News reports.
The ruling was made as part of an emergency injunction on behalf of immigrant families’ who are seeking birth certificates for their children after the Department of State Health Services refused to recognize the forms of identification the families provided.
The parents of the children entered the country illegally from Mexico and Central America, but under the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment, citizenship is guaranteed to children born here.
If they were to enroll their children in school without a birth certificate they would have to produce a signed note explaining why the child is without one. By doing so, they would admit to being in the country illegally and that would “expose them to potential criminal liability and removal from the United States,” according to Judge Pitman.
The identification cards—known as matriculate consulates—the families gave Health Services are issued by Mexican consulates to citizens living and working in the U.S. This document, as well as foreign passports without U.S. visas in them, were accepted prior to 2013 in order to obtain a birth certificate, the families ascertain.
Judge Pitman found that the families’ attorneys had not shown that health officials had improperly “focused on and excluded” the documents.
He also questioned the integrity of the consulate identification cards and passports.
“A birth certificate is a vital and important document,” Judge Pitman said, according to Yahoo News. “As such, Texas has a clear interest in protecting access to that document.”
While Judge Pitman found the families arguments “heartfelt, compelling, and persuasive” he said this was “not enough without substantiating evidence to carry the burden necessary to grant relief.”