US-Born Latina Denied Passport, Even After Showing Her Birth Certificate. She's Now Suing.
August 29th 2019
By Gabe Ortiz
The Trump administration has unjustly denied a passport to a U.S.-born Latina, claiming she has provided “insufficient evidence of citizenship” even after presenting her birth certificate and numerous other documents. With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, she’s now suing the State Department.
“Maria Soto was born in 1971 in the Los Angeles County Hospital in California,” the ACLU said. The daughter of migrant farmworkers, she grew up in Mexico for the first 18 years of her life, and always knew she was American. “She has her original birth certificate to prove it. She carefully guards the small, deeply creased and wrinkled document with a dozen other important papers at her home in southern Oregon.”
But when she tried to apply for a passport last December, she was denied by the administration, even though she’s already proven her citizenship in the past by sponsoring her mom, brother, and husband. It’s unknown whether Soto’s upbringing was a factor in the denial, but it shouldn’t have mattered anyway: she’s an American, and she has the paperwork to prove it, end of story.
“Maria is a citizen, but in the eyes of the Trump administration, her birth certificate is not enough,” the ACLU continued. “Her social security card is not enough. The fact that she has already proven her citizenship to the federal government in immigration applications—not once, not twice but three times—is not enough.” It’s about her name and the color of her skin.
Francisco Erwin Galicia knows this all too well, after he was wrongfully jailed by federal immigration officials for weeks. As in Soto’s case, Galicia was born in the U.S., and as in Soto’s case, officials refused to accept his birth certificate. The 18-year-old was jailed in two different detention facilities for nearly a month, saying officials even tried to torment him into signing a paper agreeing to be deported. And as in Soto’s case, he’s also suing the federal government.
“Maria Soto is owed a passport, plain and simple,” said ACLU of Oregon staff attorney Leland Baxter-Neal.
Posted with permission