Defense Secretary Jim Mattis last year issued a directive for additional background checks for non-citizen troops and extended the active duty time required before they were eligible to apply for naturalization. Applications dropped 65 percent.
Earlier this summer, news broke that the sitting president had tasked U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director L. Francis Cissna with tracking down and “denaturalizing” American citizens suspected of falsifying their citizenship applications.
In July, AP broke news that the Army had begun discharging foreign-born troops after promising them “expedited naturalization” for service. Those with expired visas now risk deportation.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has detained hundreds of U.S. citizens an average of 180 days, a Northwest University study found last August.
That’s all bad enough, but now this…
The Washington Post reports that the State Department is denying passports to Americans born along the Texas-Mexico border. Government officials question their citizenship based on suspicion that decades ago midwives may have falsified the birth documents of newborns:
The government alleges that from the 1950s through the 1990s, some midwives and physicians along the Texas-Mexico border provided U.S. birth certificates to babies who were actually born in Mexico. In a series of federal court cases in the 1990s, several birth attendants admitted to providing fraudulent documents.
Based on those suspicions, the State Department during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations denied passports to people who were delivered by midwives in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley. The use of midwives is a long-standing tradition in the region, in part because of the cost of hospital care.
The same midwives who provided fraudulent birth certificates also delivered thousands of babies legally in the United States. It has proved nearly impossible to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate documents, all of them officially issued by the state of Texas decades ago.
After an ACLU lawsuit settled in 2009, passport denials declined. Until now:
Attorneys say these cases, where the government’s doubts about an official birth certificate lead to immigration detention, are increasingly common. “I’ve had probably 20 people who have been sent to the detention center — U.S. citizens,” said Jaime Diez, an attorney in Brownsville.
Diez represents dozens of U.S. citizens who were denied their passports or had their passports suddenly revoked. Among them are soldiers and Border Patrol agents. In some cases, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have arrived at his clients’ homes without notice and taken passports away.
Other have had theirs confiscated at the border on reentering the United States, leaving them in “legal limbo.”
An immigration attorney cited in the Post story represents twin bothers in their 60s. They had been scheduled for an appointment at the local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office to provide proof that they were really born on American soil.
They had been U.S. citizens since their birth over six decades ago. They had no arrests or convictions. They had faithfully paid their taxes each year and owned homes. They were married with adult children.
They now faced possible deportation. And the only reason what is because they were born in a Texas border town with the assistance of a midwife.
The New York Times— Ally Maynard (@missmayn) August 29, 2018
October 9, 1938 pic.twitter.com/dTr4eoaJCA