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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

STATE DEPARTMENT DENIES PASSPORTS FOR CERTAIN MEXICAN-AMERICANS

Rating: 5 votes, 5.00 average.

This is just a really strange story and one that will no doubt end with a judge or judges telling the State Department to get real. According to a report in the Washington Post,

The State Department is denying passports
to people born in southern Texas near the border with Mexico if they were
delivered by midwives, citing a history of birth certificate forgeries there
for Mexican-born children dating to the 1960s, according to U.S.
officials.

Whether there was fraud or not 40+ years ago does not justify heavy-handed discrimination. And the American Civil Liberties Union is fighting back:


In a lawsuit, the American Civil Liberties Union
alleges that the government is systematically discriminating against
U.S.-born citizens on the basis of ethnicity and national origin.
Attorneys for the plaintiff assert that such arbitrary bans
disproportionately affect rural and poor people who have less access to
doctors.



Federal authorities "have adopted and applied blanket suspicion
toward one group of passport applicants . . . effectively denying the
passports of many for the apparent sins of a few," the ACLU states in a
complaint to be filed today in U.S. District Court in McAllen, Tex.




The civil liberties group is seeking class-action status on behalf of
tens of thousands of Mexican Americans of all ages delivered by
midwives in border states, alleging violations of constitutional due
process and equal protection guarantees.



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Comments

  1. hmm's Avatar
    NPR ran a similar story 2 years ago: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5519069 . They say e.g. that all blacks born in the South before 1940 were born at home because hospitals were white one, so they never had an official birth certificate. What a mess...

  2. George Chell's Avatar
    I think the State Department should be sued out of all its money in the 2009 budget.
  3. hmm's Avatar
    Trouble is that judges usually side with the Government: they often argue that resources are stretched, and the Government is overworked. This may be true but it should be no excuse for discriminatory practices. Resources may be reallocated and fees raised if needed. Unfortunately this is not the way this country works.
  4. George Chell's Avatar
    "Trouble is that judges usually side with the Government: they often argue that resources are stretched, and the Government is overworked. This may be true but it should be no excuse for discriminatory practices. Resources may be reallocated and fees raised if needed. Unfortunately this is not the way this country works."

    I am not sure about the judges siding with the government. However, one argument that could be made is to ask the question, why Hispanics who were born in the 1960s delivered by midwives. Simple answer: Jim Crow. There were not many hospitals in that area of Texas which would have admitted a pregnant Hispanic mother at that time. Does that mean there was no fraud at that time. No. Perhaps even 60% of those births did not happen on this side of the border. But, just like we have capital punishment for capital murder in Texas, that is the capital punishment that the US and especially white Texans have to live with for the crime the committed: the crime of Jim Crow.

  5. Alix's Avatar
    Can someone please wake me up? I feel that I am living in a dream state where a government can basically deny a citizen's claim to citizenship itself by claiming that "there is a lot of fraud of this nature".


  6. John M. Alvarado's Avatar
    To understand the State Dept.'s position on this matter must be done on a totally positive mental attitude. Why would the State Dept. be so picky on the people of Mexican descent delivered by midwives? Ok yes there's been fraud on behalf of many midwives but then again there's the other side of the coin, honest midwives who actually delivered people of Mexican descent in the USA. To prove either situations of fraud or not is truly difficult to do. It's an unmeetable burden upon the presumable American citizen. Then again not only people of Mexican descent have been delivered by midwives in the USA but also people of other foreign descent. That's where it begins to get sensitive, because it begins to point towards discrimination and by golly who wants one of those situations. For this is 2008 and I would like to assume that discrimination nowadays is truly rare although not inexistent. I hope the State Dept. under Miss Condoleeza Rice's direction could find a fair relief to this situation which is justifiable by the State Dept. but very harsh towards people who are truly American Citizens yet unrecognized due to the fact of being delivered by midwives or some other similar situation.
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