Texas Authorities Refuse to Issue Birth Certificates to Immigrants’ Children

September 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


5 Stops

Imagine living this nightmare: your child’s identity is stolen. You lose your job because you can’t put her in day care when she’s a toddler. You can’t enroll her in school, she would likely be turned over to Child Protective Services. You may be deported, and separated from her by a border bristling with razor wire and patrolled by drones and armed men. If she develops a fever, or falls in a playground and hits her head, you can’t take her to a doctor or hospital for fear that you will be required to prove that she is your daughter, but you’re unable to do so.

Who can you turn to? One thing you know for certain: You can’t turn to the government authorities, federal, state, or local. Because it is the government that stole your child’s identity.

As many as several thousand undocumented women in Texas have been denied a copy of their child’s birth certificate since 2013. Texas authorities accomplished this by demanding that in order to get a copy of their child’s birth certificate, immigrants have to produce IDs that are only available to legal residents. Many parents in the Rio Grande Valley are now unable to prove that their children are U.S. citizens, or even prove that their children are actually theirs!

Juana, who only gave her first name, told reporters that she had been able to obtain birth certificates for her two older children who are now in elementary school. But she has not been able to get a certificate for her youngest daughter, who is being denied admission to day care. “My baby daughter is about to turn two years old, and I’ve taken all the IDs that I have, and they keep telling me no, that they refuse to give me the birth certificate for her.”

Bob Avakian, "Why do people come here from all over the world?"

The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees citizenship to all people born in this country. It was approved shortly after the U.S. Civil War ended and was intended to guarantee formal rights of citizenship to formerly enslaved Black people. Ever since, for 150 years, the rulers of this country have bragged about how the USA is a “melting pot” of different immigrants.

But now powerful forces want to deny citizenship even to children of immigrants born in the U.S. Recently, Donald Trump made the outrageous threat that, if president, he would deny citizenship to children born in the U.S. to Mexican citizens without U.S. papers, despite the Fourteenth Amendment. The actions of the Texas officials effectively accomplish, if in a beginning way, that thoroughly vicious and hateful goal. Texas is not directly challenging the Fourteenth Amendment. But the underhanded measures developed and promoted from its top Republican leadership in reality deny citizenship, a supposed constitutional right, to children of immigrants.

Extreme exploitation of millions of immigrant workers, including many of the 11 million “undocumented,” has played a big part in how this society functions, and is a source of tremendous profit for the capitalist ruling class. But, in a time of global instability and fraying of the traditional social cohesion in the U.S., the ruling class fears immigrants in their millions, and their potential contribution to the instability and volatility of the political situation.

Powerful sections of the ruling class of this system see the presence of immigrants—in particular immigrants from Mexico and Central America—as undermining the kind of society they want to cohere. They are fighting for a society glued together by a culture of “traditional American values”: white supremacy, male supremacy, English Only, and “America #1.” Donald Trump and others have been whipping up hatred and vilification of immigrants, and advancing programs for even more ferocious repression than the mass deportations, detention centers, militarized border, and life “in the shadows” that immigrants already face.

Obama has carried out cruel attacks on immigrants. He has deported more people than any other president, even as others in the ruling class think some immigrants should be given some temporary reprieve from the threat of deportation, as long as they prove they are loyal, hardworking, and law-abiding.

These attacks are happening right here, right now. A fascist social base of people who see the world as they know it coming to an end and are told “the immigrants” are to blame is being inflamed to a white-hot hatred of immigrants. They aim to build a “fortress AmeriKKKA” ruled and dominated by English-speaking, white patriarchal males. And on the other side of the ruling class: repression, massive deportation, super-exploitation, and a narrow path to legalization for some.

Is that the kind of society you want to live in? Or would you rather be in a world in which there are no walls and borders? It’s going to take a for-real revolution to get to that world, a world that will be far better for all of humanity, a world in which no one will be persecuted for their origin, their language, their culture. Beating back and STOPPING all attacks on immigrants underway today is an important part of preparing the ground to make such a world possible.


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