Thoughts & Essays

Only one thing to read today: the Trump administration is stealing citizenship away from Latino Americans on the border.

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.
– Martin Niemöller

From the Washington Post: U.S. is denying passports to Americans along the border, throwing their citizenship into question.

Hospitals are expensive. In some states that border Mexico, it’s common for poorer populations to use a midwife when they’re giving birth instead of going to the hospital, because it’s cheaper. In the past some midwives were caught issuing US birth certificates to babies who were not actually born on US soil. There’s no real way to find out how often that might have happened. We briefly tried to go after and prosecute fraudulent birth certificates issued this way, under Presidents Bush II and Obama, but it turned out to be pretty much impossible, then there were lawsuits, which the administrations eventually settled.

Basically the government threw their hands in the air at the impossibility of sorting it all out and the resultant litigation of doing so, and said, “Fine, hell with it, whatever, it wasn’t that many anyway.”

Now, right now, the Trump administration is using the occasional fraudulent birth certificate discovered in the past to justify yanking citizenship from Latinos who live in Texas near the Mexican border, who apply for passports. And of course, once a Latino’s citizenship comes into question, authorities can detain and deport them pretty much at will.

His official American birth certificate shows he was delivered by a midwife in Brownsville, at the southern tip of Texas. He spent his life wearing American uniforms: three years as a private in the Army, then as a cadet in the Border Patrol and now as a state prison guard.

But when Juan, 40, applied to renew his U.S. passport this year, the government’s response floored him. In a letter, the State Department said it didn’t believe he was an American citizen.

As he would later learn, Juan is one of a growing number of people whose official birth records show they were born in the United States but who are now being denied passports — their citizenship suddenly thrown into question. 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. [Source]

Juan up there was asked to supply some pretty obscure documents to prove his citizenship: “evidence of his mother’s prenatal care, his baptismal certificate, rental agreements from when he was a baby.”

Do you have any of that? I don’t. Maybe my mother has some of it. She keeps a lot of paperwork. I kinda doubt she still has hospital bills from when I was born, though.

Also, I’ll point out that I’m currently lucky enough to still have two living parents, who still live where I was born, and who are the type of people who keep documents in an organized fashion. The hospital I was born in still exists, but man, would they have records of billing from 40+ years ago? And if they did, what kind of hellish hoops would I have to jump through to get it?

If your birth certificate didn’t count, could you prove you were born here?

In some cases, passport applicants with official U.S. birth certificates are being jailed in immigration detention centers and entered into deportation proceedings. In others, they are stuck in Mexico, their passports suddenly revoked when they tried to reenter the United States. As the Trump administration attempts to reduce both legal and illegal immigration, the government’s treatment of passport applicants in South Texas shows how U.S. citizens are increasingly being swept up by immigration enforcement agencies. [Source]

This administration has shown, well past reasonable doubt, that if you don’t meet their notions of what it means to be American, you are not. And if you are not, then they’re coming for you.

If you aren’t a straight white conservative male, or a straight white woman attached to a straight white conservative male, the Trump administration thinks you are not welcome here.

Do you fit that description? I could maybe pass for it in bad light if I had to, but I’ve been on the Internet spouting off my decidedly liberal opinions a lot, so I wouldn’t want to put money on it.

This is going to sound overblown. This will sound like hyperbole, hysterics. But people. This is it. The time is now. You better draw your line in the sand and stand by it, right here, right now, or this American experiment is over. You better march. You better get on the phone with your representatives. You better be raising all the hell you can. You better get your ass out and vote.

Either that, or you better get used to living in a fascist hellscape.