The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that some Latino citizens in the Rio Grande Valley on the US/Mexico border are being denied access to their citizenship rights based on documentation issues. Their citizenship is being called into question (despite years of residence and employment in the United States, and even successful background checks) due to their birth to midwives in private residences.
These individuals are put through unfair stress, forced to look for documentation in schools, churches and even try to track down the midwives who delivered them, many of whom have since passed away. As rules regarding border crossing tighten, this is a huge barrier for many living on the border. Effective next year a passport will be needed to travel to Mexico and back, a routine part of daily life for those living in the Rio Grande Valley. Those citizens who are denied passport applications may be at risk of losing their livelihoods and ability to move about freely as all citizens should.
The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health believes this is a racist and unfair practice, which leaves these individuals scrambling to prove citizenship with other documents, where for others a birth certificate is sufficient. This practice unfairly targets Latino citizens on the border and those who were born to parteras or midwives in private residences, a common practice among Latinos. Further, the fact that once additional documentation has been provided some individuals are still being denied makes it clear that the State Department is discriminating against these individuals along the border in Texas.
Join the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health in decrying this discriminatory practice, so we can ensure that all US citizens regardless of race, nationality or place of childbirth are granted access to their rights.
For more information about the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and our immigration work, visit www.latinainstitute.org.