The Trump administration is arresting passport applicants with official state-issued birth certificates and questioning their paperwork.
U.S. citizens of Mexican heritage who apply for passports are being increasingly targeted by the administration, which has even begun jailing some applicants.
Some U.S. citizens of Mexican heritage have even had their passports revoked while they were abroad, barring them from returning to the country.
The government has even denied passports to U.S. veterans.
A 40-year-old Army veteran named Juan is reported to have been denied a passport despite the fact that he served as a Private in the Army for three years, worked as a cadet in the Border Patrol, and has a birth certificate showing he was born in Texas.
The increased attention on this specific demographic of U.S. citizens is rooted in an issue which traces its origin back to the 1950s.
The government has alleged that beginning at that time and through the 1990s, physicians and midwives stationed along the border wrongfully issued U.S. birth certificates to children born in Mexico; an accusation which some have admitted to in court.
“The reality is that this is a rural area and for many years that was the only way people were being born. The Department of State has this belief that because you were born with a midwife you were not born here.” — Jaime Diez, Brownsville attorney
When individuals are arrested on suspicion of possessing forged documents such as a birth certificate, the State Department often requests information such as proof of the mother’s prenatal care, a baptismal certificate, and/or rental agreements or property taxes that prove residency during the time of one’s infancy.
Depending on a multitude of factors, the least of which may be that the individual was delivered by a midwife in a private home, it can be very difficult if not impossible to produce the documentation the State Department requires.
Juan, the soldier who was denied a passport, was actually able to supply much of the documentation, and was still denied.
Iron Triangle Press will continue to follow this story.