September 25, 2015

HOUSTON -- The State of Texas cannot refuse to issue birth certificates to children born in the United States, according to a brief filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU of Texas in support of 17 families suing the State. The 14th Amendment of the Constitution guarantees citizenship to all persons born in the United States, yet the State of Texas refuses to issue birth certificates and honor the rights of children born to undocumented parents living in Texas. In July Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that the federal courts did not have jurisdiction over the matter.

The following may be attributed to Terri Burke, Executive Director of the ACLU of Texas: 

“This isn’t the first time in the past several months that Attorney General Paxton has tried an end run around the Constitution. This recklessness costs taxpayers money and, more unfortunately, harms American children. The State of Texas needs to issue birth certificates to these children immediately and ensure that individuals born in Texas never again have to face this sort of degrading and unconstitutional treatment.”

The following may be attributed to Rebecca L. Robertson, Legal & Policy Director of the ACLU of Texas: 

“The Constitution is very clear that all persons born in the United States are citizens of this country and that no state can abridge the rights and privileges that come with citizenship. These children are American citizens, but by refusing to issue their birth certificates Texas officials are denying them the ability to demonstrate their citizenship. And without birth certificates, they could easily be excluded from the benefits of citizenship due to all born in this great state.”

To view the amicus brief, go to: http://www.aclutx.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Perales-Serna.Amicus-Brief.Comms_.pdf

To view the complaint filed by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Texas Civil Rights Project, and South Texas Civil Rights Project, go to: http://tinyurl.com/ona4r4d.

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