LatinaLista — A source has notified Latina Lista that the Department of State (DOS), as a result of a settlement reached in a class action lawsuit filed by a coalition of civil rights and legal organizations, will now implement new procedures to fairly and promptly review U.S. passport applications of those Mexican Americans who were birthed by midwives.
In a press release issued by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU):
Pending court approval, DOS will train its staff on how to fairly weigh all the evidence provided in passport applications and how to avoid improperly subjecting people whose births were assisted by midwives in Texas and along the U.S.-Mexico border to heightened scrutiny in reviewing their passport applications.
All denials will be automatically reviewed by a three-member panel comprised of experienced DOS staff members, and if that panel also denies an application, DOS must communicate the specific reasons for the denial to the applicant. The applicant can then challenge the denial and ask DOS to reconsider its decision.
Additionally, anyone birthed by a midwife who has filed an application for a passport between April 2003 and September 15, 2008 and, with a few exceptions, whose application was not expressly “denied,” can re-apply for free. DOS will be setting up mobile units across the border on specific dates to assist those reapplying.
On its website, the ACLU has a copy of the settlement agreement, the complaint and audio testimonials of the people who were wrongly denied a U.S. passport because of the misfortune of being birthed by a midwife.