Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tamaulipas Birth Certificate Legitimates Child to Acquire Citizenship through USC Father

Ever had trouble deciphering legitimation and acknowledgment requirements to determine whether a person born abroad and out of wedlock acquired U.S. citizenship at birth through his U.S. citizen father?  The Fifth Circuit shed some light on this issue—at least for people born in Tamaulipas, Mexico, and with a birth certificate naming the USC as the child’s father.  The Department of Homeland Security kept denying Saldana's application for acquired citizenship stating that he was not legitimated by his USC father, but the panel held that a father’s name on the birth certificate before the Civil Registry in Tamaulipas legitimates the child as required for citizenship.  Since the USC father met the other residency requirements, the panel declared that Saldana met the requirements of Immigration and Nationality Act §§ 301 and 309 and acquired U.S. citizenship from his father at birth.

Recap of Facts:
·         Saldana was born in 1964 in Tamaulipas out-of-wedlock to Mexican mother and USC father.
·         When he was 29 months old, his mother and father registered him before the Civil Registry and put their names on his birth certificate.
·         His mother and father never married.
·         His father had the required amount of US residency for Saldana to have acquired citizenship.

The only question was whether, under the applicable Mexican laws, Saldana was legitimated by his USC father by virtue of the birth certificate.

The panel found that the applicable law was the Civil Code of Tamaulipas, not the Constitution of Mexico which is cited in several Administrative Appeals Office decisions on this issue.  Under the Tamaulipas Code in existence in 1964, a child born out of wedlock could be “acknowledged” in a birth certificate before an official of the Civil Registry, but only a child born in wedlock could be “legitimated.”  The panel held that the distinction in the Tamaulipas Code between “legitimation” and “acknowledgment” does not matter since the acknowledged child acquired full filial rights, just like legitimated children.  Since the substantive rights of legitimated and acknowledged children are the same in Tamaulipas, “there is no legal or logical basis for” maintaining a distinction between them for the purposes of acquired citizenship.



Post a Comment

<< Home