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Copyright (c) 2013 The President and Fellows of Harvard College 
Harvard Latino Law Review

NOTE: BIRTH CERTIFICATE CHALLENGES FOR CHILDREN OF IMMIGRANTS: UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF ANTI-IMMIGRANT RESTRICTIONISM

Spring, 2013

Harvard Latino Law Review

16 Harv. Latino L. Rev. 169

Author

Gavriela M. Bogin-Farber*

Excerpt



Introduction
 
The Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment makes anyone born in the United States a U.S. citizen, regardless of her parentage, 1 yet children born to undocumented immigrant mothers may lack accurate documentation as proof of their citizenship. This lack of documentation, in turn, may impede enjoyment of their constitutional rights. The proliferation of new laws requiring this documentation has made it more difficult than ever for immigrants and their family members to access benefits and services, which "effectively denie[s immigrants] the ability to live in the United States." 2 Complexities in the birth registration and birth certificate amendment processes for U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants can serve as barriers to obtaining accurate birth certificates, which can lead to significant challenges to their ability to access public benefits and claim and exercise other rights.

Furthermore, birth registration is an internationally recognized, basic human right that is codified in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (the "Convention"). 3 The right to birth registration is crucial for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, access to basic services, prevention of child labor and child marriage, and decreasing trafficking. 4 Despite this importance, however, the lack of comprehensive birth registration remains a global human rights problem. 5

Although the United States has near universal rates of birth registration, 6 challenges related to birth registration still arise. Undocumented immigrants, fearful of revealing their lack of lawful status, may fail to disclose their ...
 
 
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