On June 1st a passport will be needed to cross the Mexico/US border instead of just a birth certificate and driver’s license, an immigration regulation that disproportionately affects Latinos. From the Associated Press:
The citizenship of hundreds, possibly thousands, of people who insist they are Americans is being called into question because they were delivered by midwives near the U.S.-Mexico border. The federal government’s doubts have arisen as many people in the border region try to meet a June 1 deadline to obtain U.S. passports so they can freely cross from one country to the other.
Xenophobic and racist anti-immigration policies have made obtaining a U.S. passport a long and difficult process, even with all the necessary paperwork and documentation. As we reported in August of last year, the citizenship status of many Latinos who were born in the U.S. near the border with Mexico is being questioned despite proper documentation; these individuals are being forced to provide further proof of citizenship simply because they were delivered by midwives outside of hospitals.
From a reproductive justice perspective, this practice completely undermines the role of the midwife and reinforces the medicalization of women’s bodies by making hospital delivery an informal prerequisite to citizenship even though the law clearly states anyone born on U.S. soil and its territories is a citizen. At least 250 midwives along the border states have been targeted.
Last year the ACLU sued the State Department on several occasions over its refusal to grant passports to citizens whose births were attended by midwives or in local clinics and are hoping to file a class action law suit over the issue.
Contributed by Marcela Villa, DC Policy Intern