US denying passports to Americans near southern border

Article here.

Short version: the US federal government is denying passports to some Americans. Which ones? Hispanic ones living near the Mexican border. Why?

It’s complicated.

As it turns out, there were some midwives in the area in the late 1900s who have confessed to providing fraudulent birth documents:

The passport denials aren’t new, but they were pretty much ended in 2009. Now they’re happening again.

Assuming you were actually born in the US, how would you go about providing evidence of that (other than your birth certificate)?

We’re talking about people born, in some cases, as much as 68 years ago. I’m almost 50; looking at that list, there’s no way I could come up with any of that stuff, and I bet the same is true for most of you reading this. If a typical US citizen can provide no evidence of citizenship other than their government-issued birth certificate, I’m at a loss to understand how the government can ask anyone to do so and expect it to be a useful tool for distinguishing between those actually born in the US and those who weren’t.

Existing thread in the “Elections” forum:
https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=861394

Yeah - I can give you my birth certificate, but there was never a baptismal certificate because I was never baptized. I think I remember what hospital I was born at, but I have no clue what sort of medical care mom had, how to document that, and both mom and dad are long gone. My oldest surviving relative is only 8 years older than me, she wouldn’t know or remember. Rental agreements? I dunno - I think the parents owned a duplex in St. Louis, maybe I could get a deed record of some sort?

Yeah, this is putting people into a bad spot, there’s no way most Americans of that generation could provide the sort of proof their asking.

In the United States, the burden of proof is on the accuser.

In theory. In practice, those w/ power over others sometimes wield it regardless of the law. You want your rights, be prepared to sue to get them.

In a criminal trial, yes.

But if you were to file a suit against the government demanding that they issue you a passport, you would be the plaintiff. Since you are the plaintiff, the burden of proof is on you.

Okay, call me crazy, but can’t we just go ahead and give these people citizenship anyway? It seems to me that it would be easier for all of us to just say something like ‘fuck it, these people have lived here long enough for this place to be their home - let’s just go ahead, acknowledge them as citizens, and give them passports’.

I know that most of them are illegal aliens. But in this case, it seems that it would be easier and more humane to just let it go than it would be to crack down and deport. Get strict AF ‘going forward’ - but for these people, just let it go.

Yeah, I know - I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one.

Because to the OMG THEY’RE INVADING!!! crowd crossing a border illegally can never, ever be forgiven because THEN THEY WILL WIN!!!

Based on… what?

These people actually DO have documentation that, everywhere else in the US, is accepted as proof of citizenship. Unless there is PROOF theirs is forged… they are citizens. Do you have PROOF of fraud here, or are you just guessing?

Because the people promoting these actions don’t give a damn about “easy” or “humane” - they’re pushing an agenda and their own bigotry.

What? How do you know this?

Because, yanno…FRAUDULENT BIRTH DOCUMENTS.

Only illegal aliens need those.

ETA: I said MOST. Not all. Damn, some people… :smack:

Do you have ANY proof?

You obviously are missing something here.

There were some cases of some midwives provinding some of their patients with fraudulent birth certificates. That is true.

They are questioning all birth certificates from all midwives. Now, it is probably the case that some of them are fraudulent, but it is likely a very small minority.

You, however, have claimed “MOST”, please provide any sort of evidence that this is the case, rather than just an assumption that you have chosen to make.

Uh, it’s been done before. GHWB did just that in the 1980’s. As with most things in politics, however, it had the completely opposite effect. Yes, people who had lived in the US for a certain number of years were given a path to citizenship, but the laws that were written to “Get strict AF ‘going forward’” had the “completely unforeseen” effect of making it more difficult to prosecute companies that hired “newly” undocumented immigrants as well as make it easier for “newly” undocumented immigrants to remain in this country.

I suspect this issue, more than any other, is responsible for Trump’s presidency. Unlike the popular liberal worldview that Trump’s supporters are just xenophobic deplorables who hate anyone who is different, my reading (I did not vote for Trump, but I live in the deep south) from talking to people is that they really are tired of (the appearance) of nothing being done. In fact, Obama was doing a lot, working with the system, to try to fix things, it seems he (or the Democratic Party) didn’t want to publicize what he was doing for fear of, I dunno, offending their base? All of the horrible, vile, unthinkable things that Trump has done were also done by Obama (including this atrocity).

To me, the solution is easy. Universal healthcare for all citizens (or, Medicare for all, in today’s political climate). Sure, it’ll be expensive, but probably less expensive than trying to identify and deport all the offenders. Let the insurance companies take care of it. You’re not a citizen, you pay retail price for your healthcare. You lie about your citizenship to receive healthcare benefits, it isn’t a criminal matter, it;s fraud. With a criminal matter, you’re entitled to state supplied counsel, presumed innocence, and supported by the state until found innocent or deported. With fraud, you just have to either pay the medical bill or prove you’re entitled to the insurance. Offenders will self-deport when they find they can’t get a job without their wages being garnisheed to pay for their healthcare. Working “under the table” gets more problematic due to money laundering laws.

What reason do you have to believe that most of them have fraudulent birth documents? Or any of them?

Some of my older relatives had problems like that. I can remember that my Grandmother had to pull out the DAR genealogy at one point 50+ years ago, and she was pissed of about because (1) It’s only based on things like family bibles and other original documentation anyway, and (2) It’s not like it wasn’t full of known errors.

This is probably a political tactic by the Republicans. They’re pulling passports of people they expect to vote for Democrats in November. That means a lot of Democratic voters are losing the picture ID’s they were planning on using as proof of identity when they went to vote. I bet if you checked, you’d also find a lot of people are getting their driver’s licenses suspended.

IANAL, but I believe fraud, as a form of theft, IS a crime.

Without the threat of criminal charges, why would anyone bother to pay these bills?

Check my OP: there are documented cases of midwives in the area who have confessed to providing fraudulent birth documents to illegal immigrants. Being actual midwives, they have also provided any number of legit birth documents. Now, decades after the fact, it’s pretty much impossible to tell the difference: all of these people possess actual birth certificates issued by the state of Texas. The State Department is defaulting to the position of asking this entire group of people for additional evidence of American citizenship - evidence that is extraordinarily difficult to produce, even for actual American-born citizens.

Isn’t this essentially assuming these people are guilty and then asking them to prove their innocence? Which, of course, is the opposite of how the American legal system is supposed to work.

If we know some birth certificates are fraudulent and some are valid, then we should act as if every one is valid except in those cases where we can specifically prove there was fraud. The burden of finding hundred year old evidence should therefore be on the government not the passport holders.

Uh-oh… not just the brown people at the border any more… (thanks to doper Measure for Measure for spotting that one)

I mean Christ on a rollerskate, this is asinine. Whenever and whoever started it, this is the sort of policy for which, IF you are going to establish such a requirement, you grandfather in prior generations. Unless what you are trying to do IS spread the word that proof of birth citizenship is going to be hard to get and unless you got multiple alternate evidence you should not bother with anything that requires it, such as getting a passport, voter registration, REAL-ID compliant license or seeking a position of public trust. Oh, and that you should stay put where you belong.

And yes, it is adopting the IRS position, that the constituent is to be presumed to be lying.