Birth Certificates for Illegal Immigrants

Matrícula Consular de Alta Seguridad card

When the child of an illegal immigrant is born in the United States, the parents can obtain a US birth certificate by showing authorities a Matrícula Consular de Alta Seguridad (MCAS). This “consular identification card” is issued by Mexican consulates to their citizens living abroad, even those in another country illegally. It has been accepted in the United States as a way to demonstrate parentage to health officials and be eligible for a US birth certificate.

US District Judge Robert L. Pitman said the MCAS cards aren’t secure, so Texas can refuse to accept them as parents’ primary identification. This ruling means that Texas officials may continue to refuse to issue birth certificates to illegal immigrant parents.

At issue is who has the authority to request birth certificates. Usually they are requested by parents or grandparents who prove their relationship to the child. To prove their relationship, they must prove their identity.

This ruling is a victory for the State of Texas in its struggle to control immigration. In this case, the state argues that the MCAS cards are too easy to counterfeit and that the Mexican government doesn’t maintain a centralized database or do adequate checks to verify the identity of those applying for the cards.

With the inability to obtain birth certificates, immigrants may be unable to get their children baptized, register for school, or sign them up for health insurance through the state.

The controversy is far from over. The Mexican embassy countered that six states accept the consular cards as valid proof for obtaining a driver’s license, and hundreds of banks and more than 1,000 police departments accept them as valid identification.

While we desire to be a compassionate country, it is imperative that we think through the many issues presented by the press of immigrants seeking to settle in our country. It is irresponsible to do otherwise. It is well past time for a sensible plan.