Puerto Rico scraps birth records

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NEW YORK — Angel Roldan has plenty of Puerto Rican pride, even though he moved away from the island at age 2. His street vendor’s stall on E. 116th Street, the heart of the Puerto Rican neighborhood of East Harlem, was filled with red, white and blue merchandise for the city’s annual Puerto Rican Day parade Sunday, the day-long party honoring the heritage of nearly 800,000 New York residents.

What he doesn’t have is a birth certificate tha’s good beyond this month. Born 46 years ago in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico— a U.S. territory — Roldan is one of about 5.5 million island natives whose identity document will be invalidated July 1.

In an effort to end what it describes as a brisk black market in Puerto Rican birth certificates, which confer U.S. citizenship, the Puerto Rican government decided in December to invalidate all existing birth certificates. Those born on the island, including about 1.35 million who live on the mainland, must apply for a new birth certificate.

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