SERNA V. TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES (WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS, 2015)

At issue in this case is whether Texas' Vital Statistics Unit may refuse to issue a birth certificate for a child born in the United States because the parents requesting the birth certificate do not have proper documentation to be in this country. Under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, children born in the United States are automatically, by virtue of their birth here, American citizens. ADL filed a letter brief in support of the Plaintiffs arguing that Texas does not have the authority effectively to eliminate birthright citizenship and the rights that flow from being born in the United States of America, including the right to have a birth certificate issued. The brief argues that refusal to issue birth certificates to children of undocumented immigrants effectively creates an underclass of citizens who will have difficulty enrolling in school, accessing health care, obtaining lawful employment, enlisting in the military, marrying, and accessing many other rights.