The [Texas] Border War on Birthright Citizenship | Rolling Stone

One of the nastier and meaner policies:

In 2013, an estimated 295,000 children were born in the U.S. who had at least one undocumented immigrant parent, according to the Pew Research Center, accounting for eight-percent of all domestic births. And Texas is home to 1.65 million undocumented immigrants, nearly 15 percent of the national total. It is reasonable to assume that tens of thousands of children are born to undocumented immigrants in Texas every year, and that a great many of them now lack birth certificates. “These quasi-citizens, outcasts, will likely experience the harsh effects of being unable to prove their true status for many years to come,” reads the Mexican government’s amicus brief. “We are witnessing the creation of a vulnerable citizenry: undocumented citizens.”

Texas is an outlier in this regard, even among states that refuse to accept matrículas. In Arizona, parents can get a birth certificate for their children with a credible witness to attest to their identity and a notorized signature. In Arkansas, they can present a foreign passport without a U.S. visa. In Virginia, they can use a hospital birth letter. Even Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that advocates for harsher immigration restrictions, told the Austin-American Statesman that “the more I think of it, the more I come down against the Texas argument, reluctantly.”

No one supporting the plaintiffs has been able to point to a smoking gun that reveals the state had a pre-meditated anti-immigrant agenda. In 2010, when Arizona enacted its sweeping SB 1070 law targeting undocumented immigrants, the legislature declared “the intent of this act is to make attrition through enforcement the public policy of all state and local government agencies in Arizona.” In other words, by cracking down on undocumented immigrants, the state hoped many would leave and fewer would come. But there has been no such declaration in Texas — the state describes its policy as “facially neutral and non-discriminatory.” Despite the fact that Texas politicians take apparent glee in talking tough on immigration and giving Washington the finger, no email has surfaced between state officials that reads, “Let’s squeeze ’em all out.” Even Harbury admits that — unlike in Arizona — the Texas policy grew in fits and starts. “It’s not like someone flipped a switch,” she says.

Still, the timing seems awfully suspicious. The decision to deny foreign passports that lacked a U.S. visa came on the heels of President Obama’s Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, a 2012 policy that lifted the threat of deportation for as many as 1.7 million undocumented immigrants. The increasing rejection of the matrícula as a valid ID coincided with the Central American immigration “surge” in 2013 and 2014. And what appeared to be a widening crackdown on the matrícula this year followed a Texas-led lawsuit filed last December to block President Obama’s new executive actions on immigration, one of which — the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) — offers immigration deferrals and work authorizations to the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens.

Source: The Border War on Birthright Citizenship | Rolling Stone

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: