Births by Midwives are Causing Citizenship Questions
February 11, 2009
By Bob Kraft
Category: Citizenship and Naturalization
The Dallas Morning News reports that the citizenship of hundreds, possibly thousands, of people who insist they are U.S. citizens is being called into question because they were delivered by midwives near the Texas-Mexico border. Here are excerpts from the article:
The federal government's doubts come as many try to meet a June 1 deadline to obtain U.S. passports so they can freely cross the border. Up until that deadline, a driver's license and birth certificate will do.
People delivered by midwives have documents such as birth certificates and medical records. But the agency that grants passports is challenging the credibility of those papers, citing a history of some midwives fraudulently registering Mexican-born babies as American.
The questioned passport applications include those of children of Mexican women who crossed the border to give birth in the United States.
The government has "effectively reduced to second-class citizenship status an entire swath of passport applicants based solely on their being of Mexican or Latino descent and having been delivered by midwives in nonhospital settings in Southwestern border states," according to a federal lawsuit against the State Department filed last year in McAllen. Immigration attorneys and the American Civil Liberties Union hope to have the case certified as a class action.
If the lawsuit is not resolved before June 1, families "will have to choose if you're going to live in Mexico or you're going to live in the U.S. You won't be able to cross," said Lisa Brodyaga, the attorney who filed the lawsuit.
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