Border Births Trip Up Passport Requests

UPI, June 1, 2009

The ACLU says it is seeing a lot of cases like the one involving a Hispanic ex-Marine from California whose citizenship is suddenly being questioned.

Israel Betancourt of Lincoln, Calif., says he was born in Laredo, Texas, in 1977 with the assistance of a midwife, which the American Civil Liberties Union says has become a sticking point for U.S. passport officials seeking to verify an applicant’s citizenship.

“In a lot of cases, these are folks who have been in the country and have considered themselves American their entire lives, and then suddenly the government is telling them they have suspicions about whether they are American citizens,” ACLU attorney Vanita Gupta told The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee.

Gupta said the midwife issue came into prominence recently as the federal government began requiring passports for airline passengers flying in from Mexico and Canada. The requirements began applying to land and sea travelers Monday.

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