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Activists tell Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno a new birth certificate law harms mainland residents

A new birth certificate law in Puerto Rico creates serious problems for more than 1 million U.S. mainland residents born on the island who now face unjust difficulties if their documents are considered invalid, a civil rights and Latino advocacy group said Thursday.

In a letter to Puerto Rico Gov. Luis G. Fortuno, the New York-based LatinoJustice PRLDEF called for the governor to delay by at least six months the effective date of the law, which as of July invalidates all previously issued birth certificates in an attempt primarily to combat widespread identity theft. The group also urged the governor to allow more time for local and federal agencies to make policy adjustments and called for an extensive public relations campaign to alert Puerto Ricans of the new law.

“I am certain that you understand this new law damages all people born in Puerto Rico who are entitled to have their birth certificates respected and thus undermines the efforts of many of us [who] have worked for decades to secure equal treatment for Puerto Ricans living in the mainland,” wrote Cesar A. Perales, the group’s president and general counsel.

“Here on the mainland no one will remember the date that Puerto Rico purportedly improved its birth certificates,” Perales wrote. “They will only remember that Puerto Rico birth certificates are not to be accepted as valid.”

More than a third of the estimated 4 million people of Puerto Rican descent living throughout the United States must obtain new birth certificates based on the legislature’s action in December. Puerto Rico is a U.S. commonwealth and Puerto Ricans, whether born on the mainland or on the island, are U.S. citizens at birth.

Perales said his group, formerly the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, has already identified problems for mainland Puerto Ricans trying to obtain driver’s licenses. The group is concerned that more issues will arise as citizens seek jobs or government benefits, he said.

-- Efrain Hernandez Jr.

Comments () | Archives (5)

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one month before PR gets US voting power it's governor invalidates all their birth certificates. What could possibly go wrong there? Can you say voter fraud?

I was just listening to the radio about a law coming out that entitles the government to jail undocumented people for up to 6 months and fine them. Will we be considered undocumented?

All over the US, the 50 states are in uproar over the problems this PR birth certificate issue is causing.

But, has anyone taken the time to find out if this was necessary or not?

Has anyone checked to see if a problem with stolen birth Certificates and stolen identity has occurred across the board in the rest of the states?

Many in PR believe this was the mastermind of a high government official, to raise over $45 millions of dollars yearly for the PR government.

The histeria caused by stolen identities seems to justify the action.

BUT .........In a Press Conference, the Secretary of State of PR insinuated that this decision came from Federal Agencies. We got a copy of a letter from the US State Dept, which shows that the Federal Agency is responding and informs that it will take steps to work with this decision, not the other way around.

Some have said that " this is one administrative reckless endangerment conducted against the Puerto Rican residents on the mainland; in order to subsidize the island government’s finances and add an additional source of revenue with an impact of $45 million per year at least.

How come this has caused so many problems to so many people and state governments, and no one has investigated if the so called "problem" truly warrants this massive disruptive and expensive situation to over 9 million Puerto Ricans, half which live in the mainland?

Miriam Ramirez

Much of the recognition problems that Puerto Ricans have is due to trying to maintain separate from the US and still being part of the US. This is due to the concerns about losing their culture. Unfortunately in the 12 years I have lived in Puerto Rico they have lost much of their culture due to internal problems. The corruption of public officials, the self centered "me first" attitude due to the five year economic crisis and now the sudden realization that the promises of protection and care made to them by their political leaders are now invalid.
Unfortunately the Puerto Rican people are experiencing an internal identity crisis that makes the birth certificate theft (tens of thousands) and identity theft by their own "compatriots" appear insignificant. Right now the economy, culture, life style and "nation" is on the knife edge. Time will show us which side it will fall on.

Quit trying to give support to illegals from other countries who have the old birth certificates.

Your "hispanic" support for those not of PR ancestry are racist.

You peopl use hispanic and latino for everything to support illegals. Have you no pride or shame using a heritage for criminals?


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About the Reporters
Ken Ellingwood
Daniel Hernandez
Efrain Hernandez Jr.
Chris Kraul
Richard Marosi
Tracy Wilkinson