“it is becoming more frustrating to practice immigration law during this administration.” said Brownsville, Texas Immigration Attorney Elizabeth Valdez Garza. The latest frustration stems from an increasing number of border Hispanics having passport requests being denied because their birth certificates from the 1950s through the 1990s show they were born though a midwife or physician and not a hospital. “A lot of these individuals that have already renewed their passport before without any issues and now they’re being detained [at the border or ports of entry].” The Washington Post‘s August 29th report tells the story of Pharr, Texas resident, Juan, an Army Veteran and state prison guard, with a denied passport request. “In a letter, the State Department said it didn’t believe he was an American citizen.” wrote the Post. Immigration Attorney Garza said accounts like Juan’s have happened through the Bush Obama Administration.
The passport problems existed under the previous two administrations but under the denials mostly came to a halt following a 2009 American Civil Liberties Union settlement which determined The U.S. Department of State (DOS) would agree “to implement new procedures designed to ensure the fair and prompt review of U.S. passport applications by Mexican Americans whose births in Texas were attended by midwives. Under the agreement, no eligible applicant should be denied a passport.” said a 2009 ACLU statement.
President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration stance is taking a settled case and taking the ruling into question, “Not everyone that was born with a midwife has fraudulent documents most of them we’re legally born in the United States with a midwife it was common especially here in this area of the valley.
According to the Washington Post, “The same midwives who provided fraudulent birth certificates also delivered thousands of babies legally in the United States. It has proved nearly impossible to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate documents, all of them officially issued by the state of Texas decades ago.”I think that is where the administration is taking a wrong step in assuming that everyone born with a midwife is fraudulent and now you have to prove that it’s not.” said Garza.
Garza echos the same frustrations immigration attorneys have shared with News Center 23 under this administration who feel the attacks are deliberate and are not national security issues but only criminalize legal residents in low income border communities, “How many individuals here in the valley have that kind of money for an attorney that can go and file a federal lawsuit?”
“It is very real and for those that believe that it’s not it is so get your situation in order.”