The State Department is pushing back on a Washington Post article claiming that the number of American citizens living near the southern border that are being denied renewal passports is rising under Trump.
Midwives and physicians located near the border in Mexico have given families fraudulent birth certificates to prove American citizenship for decades in exchange for money. WaPo’s article focused on the people in America who applied for renewed passports but were denied because the government believed their birth certificates were from one of these midwives.
The Post’s piece claimed that “The Trump administration is accusing hundreds, and possibly thousands of Hispanics along the border of using fraudulent birth certificates since they were babies, and it is undertaking a widespread crackdown.” (RELATED: WaPo Buries Bush/Obama Connection To Pin State Department Policy On Trump Administration)
However, that is not true, according to the State Department. In fact, the number of domestic passport denials at the southern border is at a six-year low and the number of midwife cases has gone down under the current administration.
Further, the 2015 calendar year had more renewal denials at the border than any year in that timeframe with approximately 1,500. That year also had the highest percentage of denials at 35.9 percent in respect to the number of birth certificates that were deemed “potentially fraudulent” over the same time period.
Conversely, less than 750 people had passports not renewed this year so far and that is 25.8 percent of the total in question. Should this percentage stay the same through the end of the year, it’d be the lowest in the aforementioned timeframe.
In the Post’s article Wednesday, the opposite claim was made — that “passport denials and revocation appear to be surging” under President Trump.
When it comes to the midwives issuing fraudulent birth certificates, the Post has reported on it in the past. Back in 2008, the Post published a piece saying, “The federal government won convictions against dozens of South Texas midwives from 1967 through 1997 for fraudulently registering births that they did not deliver, a U.S. official said, with most convictions coming after 1980.”
The article also says that up to that point, at least 65 midwives had been convicted of fraud.
Much of the information the government has on this practice comes from the Castelano v. Clinton, 2009. In the lawsuit, midwives admitted to issuing fake birth certificates.
When asked about the Post’s reporting, Heather Nauert, a State Department spokesperson said, “This is an irresponsible attempt to create division and stoke fear among American citizens while attempting to inflame tensions over immigration. The facts don’t back up the Washington Post’s reporting. Under the Trump Administration, domestic passport denials for so called ‘midwife cases’ are at a 6-year low. The reporting is a political cheap shot.”
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