Immigration Law

My Children Were Denied Passports Because They Were Delivered by a Midwife

Debbie Weingarten, New York Times, Sept. 3, 2018 - "My sons have never been outside the United States, but their passport applications were denied by the State Department, pending more evidence of their citizenship, just hours after news broke that the Trump administration is denying thousands of passport applications submitted by midwife-delivered American applicants from border states.

At the heart of the denials are allegations that home-birth attendants in border states provided fraudulent United States birth certificates to babies who were actually born in Mexico. The Bush and Obama administrations routinely denied passports to babies delivered by midwives in Texas for similar reasons, resulting in a 2009 class action lawsuit litigated by the American Civil Liberties Union. It argued that the government “was violating the due process and equal protection rights of virtually all midwife-delivered U.S. citizens living in the southern border region.” The government settled, agreeing to develop new protocols that would no longer discriminate against those from border states who were born at home. But The Washington Post now reports a spike in such passport denials to Hispanics under the Trump administration.

The letters from the Department of State are addressed to my children, who have the Hispanic last name of their father. They are age 4 and 6 and not yet able to read. They say that “the evidence of U.S. citizenship or nationality you submitted is not acceptable for passport purposes,” and that “the document you submitted does not sufficiently support your date and place of birth in the United States since your birth was in a non-institutional setting.” "