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FACTS ABOUT FALSE WASHINGTON POST PASSPORT DENIAL STORY

Statement from U.S. State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert (8-30-18):

“The facts don’t back up the Washington Post’s reporting. This is an irresponsible attempt to create division
and stoke fear among American citizens while attempting to inflame tensions over immigration. 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.”

MYTH:

“…under President Trump the passport denials and revocations appear to be surging, becoming part of the
broader interrogation into the citizenship of people who have lived, voted and worked in the United States for
their entire lives” (Washington Post 8-30-18)

FACT:

For decades, some midwives and physicians along the Mexico-U.S. border provided United States birth
certificates to babies actually born in Mexico. Many questions related to fraudulent birth certificates issued by
midwives and others were documented during the 2009 proceedings of Castelano v. Clinton, in which midwives
admitted to issuing fraudulent birth documents.

Midwives falsely reporting births in exchange for compensation is an old problem that is not unique to the
Trump administration. In fact, the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, denied
passports in these cases as a result.

The Washington Post reported on this issue in September 2008: “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.”

MYTH:

“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.”
“…under President Trump the passport denials and revocations appear to be surging, becoming part of the
broader interrogation into the citizenship of people who have lived, voted and worked in the United States for
their entire lives” (Washington Post 8-30-18)

FACT:

The State Department’s domestic passport denials are at the lowest rate in six years for midwife cases. Twenty
eight percent of these passport cases were denied in 2017 compared to 36 percent in 2015 under the Obama
Administration. Based on the current numbers for the year, the department continues to show a decline in
denials to passport applicants – the lowest rate of passport applicant denials in six years (please see chart
below). There is no “surge” in denials or revocations related to midwives’ cases, as reported. The U.S. State
Department Bureau of Consular Affairs fully complies with policies and practices from 2009.
MYTH:

“Now, the administration appears to be taking aim at a broad group of Americans along the stretch of border
where Trump has promised to build his wall, where he directed the deployment of National Guardsmen and
where the majority of cases in which children were separated from their parents during the administration’s
‘zero tolerance policy’ occurred.”

FACT:

Again, the policy has not changed. This is a citizen fraud challenge dating back to the administrations of
Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs
continues to issue passports to applicants based on their applications and evidence, following policies on these
types of case that have been in place since 2009.