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Contact: Ed Walz
Phone: (202) 657-0685

Investigate Abuses of Children’s Constitutional Rights, Advocates Urge

Children of Immigrants

Washington – The bipartisan children’s advocacy organization First Focus today sent a letter to United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch, urging her to launch a federal investigation into allegations that Texas officials are refusing to issue birth certificates to U.S. citizen babies born to immigrant parents. A valid certificate of birth within the United States is widely accepted as proof of United States citizenship, including by U.S. immigration officials.

“Babies born in Texas are United States citizens, and the actions of Texas politicians don’t change that – but they do violate America’s highest law,” said First Focus President Bruce Lesley.

The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as the letter details, makes babies born in the U.S. citizens of the U.S. But like U.S. passports and naturalization certificates, birth certificates serve as validation of citizen status. Birth certificates are also used widely in providing health care for children, enrolling them in school, and meeting other basic childhood needs. Thus, the letter argues, obstruction by the Texas Department of Health Services could result in significant and lasting harm to children.

“State officials should not violate the constitutional rights of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens – babies – especially when it threatens their health and well-being,” said Lesley. “The law and the Constitution are clear, and the Justice Department needs to act to protect our nation’s children from harm by Texas state officials.”


First Focus is a bipartisan advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families the priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit