Trump Is Not Allowing Americans Of Hispanic Heritage To Renew Their Passports
In 2018, the Trump administration began denying U.S. passport renewals to “hundreds, even thousands” of Hispanic Americans born near the Mexico border. The Washington Post reported that the U.S. citizens are being told their birth certificates are no longer proof enough that they were born in the United States.
The move showcased President Donald Trump’s desire to not only go after dangerous undocumented immigrants — as he often says is his primary goal — but to also fight against legal immigration, particularly when the immigrants have brown skin.
Vox noted last August that the Trump administration “has shown a knack (and a fervor) for finding the parts of the immigration system that give the most power to the government, and bringing their full strength to bear on people who are already vulnerable.”
This is precisely what is happening along the border, where birth certificates are no longer sufficient proof of citizenship.
State Department officials told The Post 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.”
Indeed, this problem is not new. As far back as 2008, when a group of at least 75 midwives working in South Texas were convicted of fraudulent activities surrounding birth certificates, the U.S. government has held the birth records of those born along the border as suspect.
The Bush administration was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2008 for denying passports to Hispanic U.S. citizens. The lawsuit was settled in 2009, but the practice has continued.
What appears to be new under Trump is the sheer scope of the denials. Vox noted: “ according to the attorneys the Post spoke to, at least, there’s been a “surge” in new denials, as well as of people being actually put into deportation proceedings (something that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials can choose to do when a passport is denied for absence of evidence of US birth, but don’t have to do).”
Writing for Elle this month, Jennifer Wright noted that former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said in an interview that Trump won on “Pure anger. Anger and fear is what gets people to the polls.”
“It’s not a coincidence that Trump is once again whipping up fears—and by stripping people of their citizenship implying to his base that these people should not be here,” Wright said.