SAN ANTONIO, TX — A federal judge has chosen for now not to force Texas health officials to change their stance in denying birth certificates to immigrant families with U.S- born children, saying that the families raised “grave concerns” but more evidence is needed, according to a ruling issued Friday.U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman in Austin denied an emergency injunction on behalf of immigrant families seeking birth certificates for their children after the Department of State Health Services refused to recognize as valid certain forms of identification.
The families’ lawyers had asked for the judge to intervene, saying that the children’s right to health care, travel, and schooling–along with parental rights–are being harmed.
Pitman called the arguments of the families “heartfelt, compelling and persuasive,” but said that this was “not enough without substantiating evidence to carry the burden necessary to grant relief,” according to the ruling.At issue is the acceptance of identification cards_known as matriculas consulares_issued by Mexican consulates to citizens living and working in the United States. Lawyers for the families contend that prior to 2013 they were able to present these document, as well as foreign passports without U.S. visas in them, and obtain birth certificates in Texas.
The judge said in his ruling that attorneys had not shown that health officials had improperly “focused on and excluded” these documents. The judge also questioned the integrity of the information behind the consulate identification cards and passports.
“A birth certificate is a vital and important document,” he said. “As such, Texas has a clear interest in protecting access to that document.”Read More: abc13.com