Attorneys for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid and Texas Civil Rights Project were in federal court on Friday seeking an emergency injunction that would make it easier for families to obtain certificates for their Texas-born children.

The legal teams represent 28 women who are illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America, and their 32 Texas-born children. The women are not first-time mothers and have had other children born in Texas born as long as eight years ago.

The attorneys filed suit in May claiming that the Texas Department of State Health Services has adopted stringent identification requirements for the mothers as a way to deny birth certificates to the U.S.-born children.

Thomas Albright, an assistant attorney general representing officials with the Department of State Health Services’ Vital Statistics Unit, argued that Texas has never accepted Mexican-issued ID cards as proof of identity for birth mothers, adding that Texas accepts at least 42 other forms of identification.

In fact, several of the plaintiff mothers could have provided grandparent information to obtain a birth certificate.

The state of Texas does not require birth mothers to disclose their immigration status or citizenship.

He also noted that the Mexican-issued cards are not accepted as valid identification by various agencies at the federal level because of security and reliability concerns.

The state also pointed out that children are allowed to enroll in school and Medicaid programs without providing a birth certificate.

U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman aimed pointed questions at both sides, asking both counsel to concentrate their efforts on convincing him that the current “scheme” devised by the state for the issuance of birth certificates to Texas-born illegal immigrants either is or is not constitutional.

The oral arguments came during the same week a federal court upheld an injunction issued in February against the Obama administration’s implementation of the president’s executive orders aimed at lessening deportation threats.

Pitman closed the two and a half-hour hearing by saying he will announce his decision following further consideration.


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