The latest U.S.-Mexico border controversy could have terrifying implications, if the report is true. The Trump administration is denying some Hispanic U.S. citizens their passports at the border, according to a report by The Washington Post. In some cases, U.S. citizens with birth certificates are reportedly being informed that their birth certificates are faked before being held in detention facilities or even entered into deportation proceedings. Bustle reached out for comment to the White House.
In a statement to The Washington Post in response to the allegations, the State Department said that it “has not changed policy or practice regarding the adjudication of passport applications,” and that “the U.S.-Mexico border region happens to be an area of the country where there has been a significant incidence of citizenship fraud.”
Now, the Trump administration is supposedly demanding extreme measures from people who it claims to be in possession of fraudulent birth certificate. One person claimed to The Washington Post that he was asked to provide evidence of his mother’s prenatal care, his baptismal certificate, and rental agreements from when he was a baby.
Even after providing the government with some of those documents, he was supposedly denied citizenship again, and as a prison guard who earns $13 an hour, he will now have to seek legal help.
In its report The Washington Post does point out that both the Obama administration and the George W. Bush administration did deny passports to a certain group of Hispanic citizens as well, after a case in the 1990s revealed that midwives in the border area had helped provide fraudulent birth certificates and documents. The problem is that it's supposedly almost impossible to tell the difference between real and fake birth certificates, which is where the confusion comes into play.
In its statement, the State Department did clarify that just because a person's request for a passport is denied doesn't necessarily mean that they're going to be deported. It just makes it virtually impossible for them to leave the country, and obviously opens them up for legal issues down the line if the U.S. government doesn't fully recognize them as citizens.
The problem with this situation, if it is true, isn't just the physical stress of what those citizens are going through, though. It's the implication of what this means for America's future.
Samantha Power, a Harvard professor and the former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, tweeted of the report, "These actions (denying passports, stripping citizenship, rendering ppl stateless) are what you see in countries notorious for perpetrating abuses against their own people, especially religious and ethnic minorities. Can it happen here? It can and is."
Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson tweeted, "This is appalling. We get the message. The Trump administration simply wants to whiten the country."
Shannon Coulter, a marketing consultant and activist, tweeted, "I assume that every prominent veterans group like
@AmericanLegion and @VFWHQ that pressured Team Trump to lower that flag for McCain will also protest them denying a Texas-born veteran a U.S. passport, right?"
Trump has not yet responded to the report by The Washington Post.