U.S. Citizens Born by Midwife Denied Passports

U.S. Citizens Born by Midwife Denied Passports

Some Texans are not allowed to cross the Mexican border because their birth certificates were ruled invalid due to an insurmountable technicality. (Time)

Silvario Vasquez was born in Texas and owns a ten-acre farm near the Mexican border. A new post-9/11 government policy requiring a passport, and not just a driver’s license, prevents him from crossing the border to Mexico — a situation made more ironic by the fact that he spent nearly three decades as a U.S. border patrol agent.

The obstacle is that the 62-year-old Vietnam War veteran can’t get a passport because his birth certificate is signed by a midwife, a common practice in that impoverished area. Because of a scandal involving forged birth certificates, where people in border communities had used bogus documentation, the absence of a medical doctor’s signature has become an automatic black mark.

The U.S. State Department’s strict bureaucratic stance and seeming indifference to the plight of thousands in that situation — three of whom are profiled in this Time.com video report — compounds the frustration and outrage of the low-income communities along the border, for whom $100 application fees are prohibitively expensive.

This video encapsulates the maddening Catch-22 quality of the dilemma, with a State Dept. spokesperson justifying its official stance as a legal obligation, not a moral judgment. Ultimately, Mexican-American residents claiming ethnic and economic discrimination filed a class action lawsuit, settled in June by the State Department. Offering no refunds or apologies, the Dept. of State promises to consider all applications whose births in Texas were attended by midwives. But for two of those profiled here, the outcome is still uncertain.

CHANNEL: Time Magazine

Length: 7:31

Video Journalist: Silas Tyler
Associate Producer: Natasha Del Toro
Supervising Producer: Craig Duff

Member Comments (2)

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  Posted by GOP the "lead" story on Telemundo - Page 2 - US Message Board - Political Discussion Forum on Saturday, July 27, 2013 at 09:08 PST
[...] perpetrate a "scam", you ignore the facts. What century was that, Dean? The last one. U.S. Citizens Born by Midwife Denied Passports How come you dimwits never answer when I ask why you are too lazy or too stupid to go look stuff [...]

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