We just recently celebrated the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. A lot of the hopes and dreams he pressed for still remain unfulfilled to this day. One of the statements this civil rights leader is known for is, “A right delayed is a right denied.”
Here in Texas, there is a small group of vulnerable individuals that faces a threat of being unable to obtain the right of recognition of their American citizenship. They are the children of individuals who lack U.S.-issued documentation to be in the country.
These parents have children who were born in the United States. As such, those children are U.S. citizens. However, by virtue of Texas state policy, many are unable to get an official birth certificate stating that fact because of their parents’ undocumented status.
This wasn’t always the case. Parents used to be able to get birth certificates for their U.S.-born children by presenting what’s called a matrỉcula consular. That’s a document issued by the Mexican Consulate. They used to be regularly accepted by county officials as proof of parent identity, but that ended in 2015. State officials said the documents are too easy to forge, making it difficult to verify the parents are who they say they are.
There are indications that county clerks in some jurisdictions are finding ways to work around the policy. Tarrant County’s clerk says her office accepts Mexican voter cards supported by proof of residency in the form of a utility bill.
Meanwhile, a group fighting for parents’ rights and the rights of their U.S.-born children is challenging the state’s policy in court. Their case is slated to go to trial sometime this summer.
The rights and roles of parents are something that can be a matter of great contention in many family law situations. If you have concerns about your rights or about protecting the rights of your child, you owe it to yourself and your family to consult legal counsel.