• Steve Brown

Trump administration denies passports to some Americans of Hispanic descent

The Washington Post and other media outlets have reported that the State Department is revoking or withholding the passports of some U.S. citizens of Hispanic descent.

While the State Department had denied passports to some people delivered by midwives in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas during the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barrack Obama due to concerns about fraudulent birth certificates, a 2009 government settlement in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, appeared to have greatly reduced the denials. The number of denials declined throughout the rest of the Obama administration, according to immigration attorneys, and it was reported that the government settled quickly when citizens filed complaints after denials.

But immigration attorneys report that under President Trump, passport denials and revocations have greatly increased as the government targets Hispanics who have lived, worked, and voted in the United States for all of their lives.

But the 2009 ACLU case settlement was thought to have generally ended the denials. Until now.

The same midwives who admitted to providing fraudulent birth certificates for a small number of babies, also delivered thousands of babies who are legal citizens of the United States. Now, it appears many legitimate citizens of the United States are being targeted by the Trump administration.

Some have sent in passports to be renewed, only to be told that they will not receive a new passport unless they can prove they were born in the U.S., requiring documentation from decades ago when they were born. It can be difficult or impossible to procure documents from three to four decades prior.

Some have had their passports seized upon attempting re-entry into the United States, and have been sent to immigration detention centers. Apparently, some have been deported, or are facing deportation hearings, with the possibility of their U.S. citizenship being stripped from them.

Even American military veterans are having to fight to defend not their country, but themselves from their country, as the government attempts to revoke their citizenship. The Trump administration has deported legal permanent residents, thrown legal residents out of the military, and launched a denaturalization task force to attempt to identify individuals who may have provided false information on decades-old citizenship applications.

According to the Washington Post, the State Department is refusing to provide much information regarding to the passport denials, but it appears that in addition to midwives, babies delivered by some doctors are also being targeted. One such doctor is Jorge Treviño , a gynecologist in Texas who had delivered an estimated 15,000 babies by the time he died in 2015.

An immigration attorney noted the government claimed to have an affidavit from an anonymous Mexican doctor claiming Treviño's office provided at least one fraudulent birth certificate for a Mexican child. That one possible fraudulent birth certificate could potentially leave 15,000 American citizens having to fight to prove their citizenship, would have been unthinkable prior to this administration.

The current increase in passport denials to Hispanic Americans in Texas is made worse by Trump administration efforts to push stricter voter identification rules. The geographic region where most of those seeing their citizenship questioned is a heavily Democratic area.

Could these passport denials be part of a trend that could impact Hispanic Americans elsewhere? We'll be watching. With more than a third of residents of California's 8th Congressional District that covers most of California's Mojave Desert of Hispanic descent, questioning of citizenship and legal residency is a serious issue that needs to be monitored closely.

Immigration attorneys, citizens, and legal residents experiencing challenges from the government to legal status may contact us HERE.

Read the Washington Post story HERE.

Read the Fortune magazine story HERE.

Read the Associated Press story on the midwife who pleaded guilty to a birth certificate scam HERE.

Read the ACLU statement from 2009 on the fair issuance of passports to Mexican Americans HERE.

Read the obituary for Dr. Jorge Treviño HERE.

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