Carstens: Texas is turning its back on the 14th Amendment

Courtney Carstens

Children are seen as the future of our nation by most people. The future cannot be full of people who are denied access to health care and who are uneducated.

That may as well be our nation’s future if we allow Texas to continue denying access for birth certificates to undocumented immigrants’ children who were born on American soil, thus considered American citizens.

While I in no way endorse the idea of anchor babies and illegal immigration, which has caused many concerns within our society, I do endorse the idea of upholding the amendments that were supplemented into the U.S. Constitution our founding fathers created more than 200 years ago.

Two large civil rights groups, the Texas Civil Rights Project and Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, sued Texas in May because it has been denying undocumented immigrants access to the birth certificates of their children, who are legal citizens, according to CNN Senior Latin American Affairs Editor Rafael Romo. 

The case is still being discussed. The case was re-discussed in August and the groups are now aiding additional plaintiffs.

Esther Yu-Hsi Lee, an immigration reporter for Thinkprogress, said the idea of not accepting matrícula consular, an identification card issued by Mexican officials, was raised in 2008 but wasn’t enforced until five years later.

Texas counties, including Dallas County — Texas’ second largest county — has been denying undocumented immigrants access to the birth certificates of their children since 2013 on the grounds that the parents didn’t have the proper identification in order to obtain their child’s federal documents.

Those particular counties are denying citizens the access to medical care and education.

Education and access to medical care are considered basic rights in our country. Without education, we cannot expect the citizens of the United States to be productive members of society.

Without access to medical care, how can we expect our citizens to take an active role in our society?

It seems quite odd to me that a good portion of the banking system in the United States will accept the Matrícula Consular card but Texas will not.

Not only is this act that Texas is committing wrong and completely unethical, it goes against the 14th amendment, which states that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein the reside.”

The children of these undocumented immigrants are citizens, and Texas is violating the 14th amendment by denying the birth certificates to our youngest citizens.

The 14th Amendment originated around the beginning of the Civil War era with the Dred Scott Decision that tried to state that African-Americans were not citizens of our country.

It was later added to the amendment that any natural-born citizen, despite his or her state of servitude, was considered a citizen.

The Supreme Court established in 1898 that a child born in the United States to parents who were not citizens was considered a U.S. citizen under jurisdiction of the 14th Amendment.

Therefore, Texas is in violation of the 14th Amendment with the fact that these children, who are not receiving their birth certificates, are U.S. citizens under the amendment. If this unconstitutional act is not discontinued, the education and health care of our future may be in ruins.