Hospital access for illegal migrants in October 2001 for purposes of giving birth particularly in New York; birth registration process for purposes of obtaining American citizenship for the child; risk of arrest or deportation of undocumented parents [USA40549.E]

According to correspondence sent to the Research Directorate by a lawyer at the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) in Oakland, California, hospitals are required under federal law to provide delivery services to women regardless of their immigrant status (NILC 18 Dec. 2002). The lawyer stated that it is likely that the hospital would charge for the services after the delivery unless the patient had health insurance (ibid.). She added that federal Medicaid to cover emergencies is available to people in New York State whose income falls below a certain limit, but that not everyone knows of the service (ibid.).

The Immigration and Nationality Act 301, Section 301 [8 U.S.C. 1401], states that any person born within the United States is considered a national and citizen of the United States at birth (United States n.d.). However, during a telephone interview, a representative of the New York City Office of Vital Records stated that for a child who was born at home in the United States and whose parents currently reside within or outside of the United States, a Delayed Registration (Form VR 34) birth certificate application can be submitted to the Office of Vital Records of the New York City Department of Health (NYC 19 Dec. 2002). Delayed Registration forms can be obtained by calling (212) 227-5269, writing to the Department of Health, Corrections Unit, 125 Worth Street, CN4, New York, NY 10013, or going directly to Room 144, 125 Worth Street in Manhattan (ibid. Nov. 2001).

When asked whether undocumented parents who try to register their child in the United States would risk arrest, the lawyer at the NILC responded, "[g]enerally not. But it is quite possible that an immigrant family would fear such consequences" (18 Dec. 2002).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


National Immigration and Law Center (NILC), Oakland, California. 18 December 2002. Correspondence sent by a lawyer.

New York City (NYC). 19 December 2002. Telephone interview with a representative of the Department of Health's Office of Vital Records.

_____. November 2001. "Application for the Correction of a Birth Certificate." [Accessed 18 Dec. 2002]

United States. n.d. Immigration and Naturalization Service. "INA: Act 301 - Nationals and Citizens of the United States at Birth." [Accessed 10 Dec. 2002]