…when we inflict them on native-born white people. Consider this episode in genteel ethnic cleansing (boldface mine):
On paper, he’s a devoted U.S. citizen.
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.
In a statement, the State Department said that it “has not changed policy or practice regarding the adjudication of passport applications,” adding that “the U.S.-Mexico border region happens to be an area of the country where there has been a significant incidence of citizenship fraud.”
But cases identified by The Washington Post and interviews with immigration attorneys suggest a dramatic shift in both passport issuance and immigration enforcement.
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.
What I find surreal about this is that I have an official copy of my D.C. birth certificate. Other than an embossed seal, it looks like it was practically scribbled in crayon–and I’m guessing many people don’t have their birth certificate in any form. Unlike most Americans, I do have a passport (and have it with me when I leave the country).
But most native born white people don’t have these documents and certainly don’t carry them around with them. In principle (though ‘priniciple’ doesn’t seem to be the correct word), there’s very little stopping ICE from snatching me–or even a ‘real American’–up and claiming I’m not a U.S. citizen. Ultimately, if I were able to contact legal representation, I could direct them to my documentation–but most people, even if contacted by a lawyer, wouldn’t be able to do so (because they don’t have it at all).
This kind of chicanery will go on–and will be (possibly) legal, if unethical–until native-born white Americans, aka ‘real Americans’, start getting detained (or worse) by our internal security forces*. Until then, if you’re not white, time to think about carrying your papers with you.
And I’m old enough to remember when we use to mock Communist countries for being ‘your papers, please’ societies. MAGA, indeed.
*In the U.S., we describe our police and other security agencies by their full names (ICE, etc.). But you realize what a threat to liberty many of these policies are if you describe them using terms U.S. newspapers describe similar agencies abroad, such as “internal security forces.”