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Immigration Law

Texas Settles Birth Certificate Lawsuit - Updated

Julia Preston, New York Times, July 25, 2016 - "After Nancy Hernandez gave birth to a baby girl in a hospital in Texas in 2013, she went to a county office to get a birth certificate, just as she had after her first two children were born in the state.  But officials told Ms. Hernandez, a Mexican immigrant living in the United States illegally, that the rules had changed. Without valid documents, she would not be able to get a birth certificate to show that her daughter was an American-born citizen.  Last year, Ms. Hernandez and about two dozen other immigrants sued, saying they could not obtain the documents Texas officials were demanding to prove their identities.  On Friday, Texas agreed to a settlement that will expand the types of documents parents can present, allowing those without legal immigration status to obtain certificates for their children again. ... In the settlement, Texas made no changes to the basic rules for birth certificates, which it argued were designed to ensure that the essential documents were correctly issued.  But the state agreed to accept several documents from parents that it had started to reject. ... Under the settlement, Texas confirmed that Mexican immigrants will be able to present a Mexican voter identification card.  Under a recent change by Mexico, its citizens can now obtain those cards from consulates in the United States.  Parents from three Central American countries — El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras — will be able to present documents certified by their consulates.  Texas has also set up a review process for parents whose applications were rejected, as well as training for more than 450 county officials who issue birth certificates.  The judge agreed to a monitoring period of nine months to make sure Texas was complying."