Monday, June 15, 2009

U.S. Citizens having trouble getting passports

Photo used under Creative Commons from HJL.

According to federal regulations, a U.S. citizen or national is entitled to apply for a passport directly with the passport office without having to first obtain a certificate of citizenship. A passport is a very important document not just because it allows one to travel but because it is also conclusive proof of U.S. Citizenship. See 22 U.S.C. Sec. 2705(1982). All persons born in the United States are U.S. citizens. U.S. Constitution, 14th Amend. The constitution does not require that someone be born in a hospital.

Allegedly because of concerns about fraud, the State Department has routinely denied passport applications from U.S. Citizens who were born outside of a hospital with the aid of a midwife. This has led to a class action lawsuit by U.S. Citizens who were denied a passport. A copy of the most recent complaint is here. Despite introduced legislation to halt the State Department's actions, the practice continues unabated.

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